Homer's Travels: Camino 2013: The Last Training Hike

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Camino 2013: The Last Training Hike

Today I decided that I've trained enough for my upcoming Camino.  This past week I did three hikes.  The first two were urban hikes.  The first was 8.58 miles (13.81 km) and the second was a slightly shorter 8.52 miles (13.71 km).  My new shoes feel like they are broken in though they will stretch a little more during the first week or so on the Camino I'm sure.

The third hike of the week, today actually, was a Backwoods' Outsider Hike.  This month the Outsiders Hike was at Waubonsie State Park.  I'd been there before (My post about the hike is here) but there are two parts to the park and I'd never done the equestrian/multi-use portion of the Waubonsie trails.

We did the trails in two halves.  The first was a mile and a half loop through forests and up and down hills.  It was very beautiful actually.  The loop returns you back to the parking/camping/equestrian area.

We rested a bit here before crossing the camping area to the trailhead of a second loop.  Across the trail was a rope with a "Trail Closed" sign hanging from it.  We all looked at each other (there were about fifteen or so of us) and we decided to ignore the sign and head in anyway (we later got our picture taken posing in front of a trail closed sign - we are such rebels).  The trail was being repaired.  You could see signs of a tracked vehicle and a lot of soft dirt on portions of the trail.  This loop turned out to be a bit over three and a half miles.  There were some major inclines along the way - first down, then up, then down again, before finally going up a very steep slope.  At the top of the slope the trail connected to the first loop we'd hiked and we followed it a short distance back to the cars.

Waubonsie Equestrian Trail.
I have to admit that this second loop pooped me out.  The steep hills really sucked it out of me.  Plus there was the minor feeling of panic.  What's that you say?   What caused the minor panic?  Along the second loop, one of our Backwoods hosts found a tick on her leg.  Farther on she found another.  Then we all started inspecting our legs very closely.  I looked at my pants and saw dozens of little speckles which looked like I'd been sprayed with a fine mist of mud.  Then, as I watched, the specks of dirt started to move around.   At first we were all convinced that the specks were baby ticks.  That is what caused the minor panic as we started to hike faster - If I walk fast the ticks won't get me right?

Things calmed down later on the hike as the Sierra Club naturalist who was with us suggested that this was not the right time of year for baby ticks.  We all concluded ... or maybe the right word is deluded ourselves ... that the specks were probably some form of mite that was surely harmless and non-blood sucking.  (I've mentioned mites before.)  When I got home all my clothes went straight into the washer and me, I went straight into a hot, soapy shower.  I still feel itchy all over.

So My training is over for now.  Not because of the bugs but because I think I've prepare enough (there is also the fact that next week the temps will be approaching the 100°F mark).  In the nine months leading up to my first Camino I walked 217 miles (349 km).  In the last nine months before this camino I've hiked 641 miles (1,031 km) - 603 of those miles this year alone.  To take these numbers even farther, I've walked 1,312.75 miles (2112.7 km) since my last Camino. This is more than all the walking I did before my first Camino.

I think I'm ready.

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