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Has anyone ever walked principally at night?

  • Thread starter Deleted member 39850
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D

Deleted member 39850

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#1
Folks... I have a serious night-owl in my life, but that night-owl likes to hike. A lot.
There's no possible way to be certain that a traditional "up between 5-6am" approach to a camino would succeed with this person, and could actually bring all kinds of stress that would be antithetical to a camino walk.
So, I'm wondering what would happen if, instead, we rose in the later afternoon, enjoyed the towns post-siesta, and took supper as our "breakfast" and then walked through the night from about 9pm.
Is it possible?
We'd likely arrive in villages just as traditional pilgrims were waking and departing. And we'd have to nap in parks, take breakfast as our dinner, and check in as early as possible to albergues to sleep from 2pm.
I met some young people on camino this past summer who did most of their walking in the later day and checked in to whatever was available at 10pm. Usually they had their supper one town *prior* to where they would sleep.
Anyone with any experience as a night hiker.... I'd love to hear from you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salv-Primitivo
#2
I personally wouldn't try it as guard dogs are unchained at night. I had a very frightening experience when I was the first person to go past a farm yard in the pre-dawn mist one morning, before the dogs were chained up. I still go cold when I think about it, and I haven't walked in the dark in since.
Jill
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2015), Frances (2016)
#3
I haven't walked any camino at night but I suggest that you will get very little sleep in the afternoons in any albergue that I have stayed in. The comings and goings, showering, dressing and undressing etc. in the dorm will be far to noisy. So if you intend to try you may need to stay in hotels or other private accommodation or sleep out.
 
D

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#4
I personally wouldn't try it as guard dogs are unchained at night. I had a very frightening experience when I was the first person to go past a farm yard in the pre-dawn mist one morning, before the dogs were chained up. I still go cold when I think about it, and I haven't walked in the dark in since.
Jill
Really? Like... you don't walk pre-dawn anymore at all? At all? It's all I do, usually leaving around 6am as late summer turns to fall and dawn does not begin to peek over the horizon until 7:30. I don't know how on earth I'd handle the extra hour and a half of heat every day. Maybe you can temperature regulate better than I can...
 
D

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#5
I haven't walked any camino at night but I suggest that you will get very little sleep in the afternoons in any albergue that I have stayed in. The comings and goings, showering, dressing and undressing etc. in the dorm will be far to noisy. So if you intend to try you may need to stay in hotels or other private accommodation or sleep out.
Thanks... very practical.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#6
It might be doable, but route finding could be a challenge. I often look for my morning exit from a village in the evening before dark, as any early morning walking is a challenge, when route markings are less visible. Also, any highway walking is dangerous, as walkers are less visible to drivers. There are lots of challenges, but you might try it if it really is an advantage to your circadian rhythms, or those of your companion. But it is also possible that your companion would find him/herself able to fall asleep earlier than usual after a long day's walk. I sleep much better when on camino than at home (in spite of the snorers).
 
D

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#7
It might be doable, but route finding could be a challenge. I often look for my morning exit from a village in the evening before dark, as any early morning walking is a challenge, when route markings are less visible. Also, any highway walking is dangerous, as walkers are less visible to drivers. There are lots of challenges, but you might try it if it really is an advantage to your circadian rhythms, or those of your companion. But it is also possible that your companion would find him/herself able to fall asleep earlier than usual after a long day's walk. I sleep much better when on camino than at home (in spite of the snorers).
Thanks. I do always have my headlamp for the way-markers, and also because my night vision is failing. And I also find my way out of town the day before I actually go... so I'd locate the exit point on arrival in the daylight...

It's true that the walking might make for a tired enough person, and so I'm open to trying the typical mode, but there is also the problem of 7-or-so hours of jet lag that my person might not ever really adjust to. We've travelled to Europe together before, and generally walked the cities that we were visiting, but rarely started to do anything before mid-day in any location.
 
D

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#9
I met a guy who walked the VdlP in the summer and walked through the night to escape the heat. I really don't see the benefit of such a plan for any other reason.
If you knew my person, you'd know the benefit. Just take it on faith.
If we get into a rhythm and time it right, we'd have a good chunk of day-time in the mornings to see some history/culture in each town.
And I can make it a shorter journey of 2 or 3 weeks with more hotels, taking the advice from @Stroller, so that my person can still get some good sleep.
Maybe I'd skip stages I recall that have narrow paths with steep drop-offs... eg: start in Pamplona instead of SJPDP...
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#10
You may find that there is no-one around to check you in at that time in the morning, and the albergue closes for cleaning during the day.

I walked from Salamanca to Puebla de Sanabria this August during an orange alert for heat (often 38-40 celsius in the afternoons). It was doable, by getting out at first light (6.45am in August) and making shortish stages (arriving by 11.30). In extreme summer weather the hottest part of the day is betwen 3pm and 6pm, not at noon.
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
#11
I would consider it on a known distance; for instancec parts of the Meseta, the last stint into SdC, or some of the long stretches on VdlP.
but safety first; - you´ll need a strong headlight, backup batteries and preferable 2 persons walking together...

Heard of pilgrims marching in singing parties all through the night...
God(!) knows what that would do to the guartd dogs, chained or not !!
 

rappahannock_rev

Anglican Catholic Priest
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes, Burgos, SdeC 77 (train); Frances 12,15,17; Finisterre 17; Lourdes, Aragones 18; Meseta 19
#13
Forgive me, but I just don't understand why you would want to walk at night.... You're a Camino veteran: don't you think that doing so would deprive you of many/most of the blessings/benefits of the larger Camino "pilgrimage" experience?

Pax
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francès 2012
Camino Finisterre 2012
#16
I hope you don't get up at 4 in the morning in the same albergue I am sleeping... That was the first thing that came up on me.
On the other hand, what do you expect to see at night? The camino is that more beautiful during the day.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#17
I found that even before dawn I had to be very vigilant not to miss any arrows. The nagging fear that creeps in after a long stretch without arrows is unpleasant.
And you would miss the views walking through the landscape in the dark. For me that was large part of the enjoyment, being out in the countryside - you would miss all that if you can only actually 'see' a town or village. I would feel robbed.
 
D

Deleted member 39850

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#18
I’ve seen the CF by day twice. My person won’t feel robbed.
I’m not asking for opinions; I’m asking about practical advice from others who have chosen to walk at night. I’ve heard of it being done.
My goal is to make the journey possible for someone unique.
And I’m not planning to wake at 4am... nowhere have I indicated such.
More like after eating supper in a village, we would walk out and perhaps arrive between 4-5 in villages that will mostly clear out by 8am. Plenty of people nap in parks, and I think we could check in to most hotels or CRs by 1pm and sleep until supper. Start again...
I’m concerned about trail visibility in some areas, and wonder how other night walkers have managed.
If all one is inclined to do is gripe at me that it’s not your Camino mode, I’m not interested — k -thx- bai.
 
D

Deleted member 39850

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#20
Forgive me, but I just don't understand why you would want to walk at night.... You're a Camino veteran: don't you think that doing so would deprive you of many/most of the blessings/benefits of the larger Camino "pilgrimage" experience?

Pax
Because my person wants to go and has a sleep disorder. This would be about serving the good of my person, not my own already satisfied Camino experience. I have no self interest in this walk, only a desire to make it work for someone I love who wants to walk with me.
 
D

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#22
Maybe people can do it on one night. I did it on one occasion, but not because I really wanted to. Plane was delayed so didn't get to the bus in time in madrid. Result was I arrived in burgos around 3 o'clock at night. Relaxed a bit in the busterminal and then decided to start walking around 3.45. Incredible how empty and quiet burgos is in the night. Only saw a police car - the officers even slowed down and said buen camino. That was the darkest and most unnerving walk I have ever been on. Not a single sign of life, neither sound nor light anywhere after burgos until I got to the first village where a cafe was being prepared to open - they were quite surprised when I said I just walked from burgos. Thank god for my flashlight btw.
Heh.... we would have each other and my much loved person is 6’4” so I never feel vulnerable in his company. I’m only 5’4”, but I’m one of few people in the world who does not make him anxious. I can see him completely living empty paths and quiet cities/towns/villages....
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#23
I live in the middle of the Meseta and I enjoy amateur astronomy. I am sometimes out on the road at odd hours of the night, and have met two or three pilgrims out there on their Way, "madrugadors" who prefer their own company and the peacefulness of the night. They are always men, always carrying a tent, always walk in good weather and when the night is bright, and sleep in their tents in some discreet spot during the day. They´re hardcore pilgrims, going without a shower or sello, laundry or hot meal doesn´t seem to faze them. I don´t know what they do when the moon is dark, or if it rains -- maybe they just grab a nap and walk in daylight, or use those days to get cleaned up and rested.

I can attest to the incredible brightness of the camino moon when it´s in its fuller phases and there are no clouds. It´s downright magical out here on "my" stretch of the trail, and perfectly walkable.. .when conditions are right!

That said, trying to navigate the albergues and food service hours would be a real headache if you insisted on walking in the dark. This is an enterprise for the independent camper-hiker person who doesn´t need much infrastructure support.
 
D

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#24
I live in the middle of the Meseta and I enjoy amateur astronomy. I am sometimes out on the road at odd hours of the night, and have met two or three pilgrims out there on their Way, "madrugadors" who prefer their own company and the peacefulness of the night. They are always men, always carrying a tent, always walk in good weather and when the night is bright, and sleep in their tents in some discreet spot during the day. They´re hardcore pilgrims, going without a shower or sello, laundry or hot meal doesn´t seem to faze them. I don´t know what they do when the moon is dark, or if it rains -- maybe they just grab a nap and walk in daylight, or use those days to get cleaned up and rested.

I can attest to the incredible brightness of the camino moon when it´s in its fuller phases and there are no clouds. It´s downright magical out here on "my" stretch of the trail, and perfectly walkable.. .when conditions are right!

That said, trying to navigate the albergues and food service hours would be a real headache if you insisted on walking in the dark. This is an enterprise for the independent camper-hiker person who doesn´t need much infrastructure support.
Thank you! This is useful and generous advice!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Way (2017)
#25
I love walking at night. I did not do the Camino at night-mostly chicken because I was a solo walker on the Norte.

I share this because your partner may find it helpful depending on the nature of their sleep condition. Because Spain is in the “wrong” time zone, walking between September to March means sunrise isn’t until 8am or later. This means people are getting up at about 7:30am. Not sure if this is helpful, but it was a delightful discovery for a non-morning person. I also started my day in silence and walking incredibly slowly and meditatively. Until my body was okay with being awake (usually an hour or so later) After about 3weeks, my wake up time shortened.

Walking in open areas when there is decent moonlight is better to do without artificial light. Cloudy nights or in tree cover you will probably want artificial light. If you can find a soft radiant light source, that tends to be better than a headlight.

Consider navigating with an app-you’d have to do some research but google maps will vibrate in your pocket when you get to a turn. That means you should have extra batteries and a good data management strategy.

Depending where you are, albergues may be closed from 8:30am to 2:30 or even 4pm. Hotel and Pension check in time is likely later in the day. Call ahead and have alternative plans a for accommodation.

I can’t speak to napping on the Frances. But covered church entrances might work.

Hope something here is helpful-please share your story if you do walk at night!
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#26
I've done a couple of local hikes at night. Usually when there's a full moon and a cloudless sky in a group of maybe 10 or 12 all with head torches although when you switch them off it can be quite magical. There's another group that does a similar thing on bikes but it's only for a few hours and not all night, every night for a month (assuming CF from SJPP).

I also used to do overnight inspections on motorway works and yes, it is a different atmosphere.

You'll increase your logistics problems - buying/carrying food, finding places like cafes open when you want/need a drink. I'd forget staying in refugios - they want them cleared by 8am usually and don't admit new sleepers until after lunch and can't imagine getting more than a siesta's worth of sleep before the place fills up. Private hostels/hotels don't like you to check in before 2pm but at least you'll get some seep before you start out again at 7 - 8pm.

For whatever your reasoning good luck and be be especially vigilant - night time walking and bad weather could be hellish.
 

twh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from SJPdP May/June, 2018
#27
(I started writing my post below after reading post #15 above. I composed off line, ate lunch then finished my thoughts and just came back to paste it here. In that time much of what I suggested has been covered but I'm posting anyway due to the time I already put into it.)

Yes, do it.

Morgan, it’s unconventional and your friend “Vlad” would miss many of the typical highlights of the Camino but I’m sure the night time experience offers benefits that can’t be experienced in the day time. It doesn’t seem like an equal trade off from us “Non-Vlad” types but that’s the reason for your question.

It sounds like you are facilitating and perhaps sacrificing to some degree in order to give an unconventional person the Camino experience in the only way they can do it. I’m sure many others have done the same for someone who is blind or deaf or physically challenged. Society has no problem understanding special accommodation for those pilgrims but when we can’t see or understand the special needs of a particular pilgrim we are easily confounded by it. People with mental illness like anxiety or depression or any of the multitude of psychiatric challenges that can not be properly managed with medications might be precluded from participating in a Camino without a “guide/angel” like yourself…a person experienced walking that Camino that is also sympathetic to the special needs of that special pilgrim.

This is definitely do-able. If you are both in great physical condition, I can easily imagine you guys finishing the Frances in 22 days instead of 33 days because nights are long so 40km per night with lots of breaks would be easy. With double occupancy in hotel rooms and only 2/3rds of the expenses for food/drink, the costs for your 22 day with hotels Camino would be about the same as a “normal” 33 day Camino in Albergues.

But what do you do after you have walked 40 km and there is still 3 hours of darkness before any business is open? For this nighttime travel schedule I would definitely carry a small lightweight tent that is easy to put up in the dark. This shelter could come in handy for resting inside of at anytime during your walk when a hotel or bar is not available and as a shelter from the weather if you encounter some heavy prolonged rains in the middle of the night. The tent along with extra food, batteries, reflective vests and other miscellanea for overnight travel will add a couple kilos of weight to your pack.

Circadian Rhythms for you Morgan would be my biggest concern. Can your system adapt so that you don’t feel hung-over for 22 days? As I get older I’ve noticed I am less adaptable to these things. You might consider trying this for a week while home to see if your system can adapt before committing to the trip. Check with your Dr. for their opinion and whether sleeping pills should or should not be used to achieve this new schedule. I know I would need very good ear plugs and maybe a set of snug fitting head phones (Bose or similar design to what you are wearing in your picture) made for noise suppression in addition to the ear plugs along with a sleeping mask to insure I had uninterrupted sleep during the day time.

Bright fluorescent Orange/Yellow vests for night walking. These are a Must Have for your safety. It will add weight and it will probably interfere with your normal/typical set up but this will protect you from the biggest hazard of night walking along a road. I would also walk against traffic and when cars approached I would try to get off the road by six feet or more if possible when the cars pass by.

Navigation – I would have a couple of apps downloaded that don’t require internet connection. I would consult these apps frequently while walking to confirm I was on course. They might also be helpful for finding Fuentes at night to refill water bottles. With increased use of phone you may need a portable battery pack to keep your phone charged during your long nights of walking.

Be prepared for un-wanted attention while on the road at night. You are more vulnerable at night to someone with bad intentions so know ahead of time how you and your partner will handle it. However, I would think most of the un-wanted attention you would get would be from concerned citizens or public safety pulling over to ask if you are ok, lost or if you need a ride. Although it’s nice to know you are being thought about, it might make for a stressful situation each time someone stops to check on you.

I think it’s a great gift you are considering giving to your night owl friend. I think it would be fun and interesting in a whole new way if you are properly prepared and can acclimate to the opposite waking/walking cycle. I hope others can add their creative ideas and insights on how to help make this work for you and your friend.
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 39850

Guest
#29
(I started writing my post below after reading post #15 above. I composed off line, ate lunch then finished my thoughts and just came back to paste it here. In that time much of what I suggested has been covered but I'm posting anyway due to the time I already put into it.)

Yes, do it.

Morgan, it’s unconventional and your friend “Vlad” would miss many of the typical highlights of the Camino but I’m sure the night time experience offers benefits that can’t be experienced in the day time. It doesn’t seem like an equal trade off from us “Non-Vlad” types but that’s the reason for your question.

It sounds like you are facilitating and perhaps sacrificing to some degree in order to give an unconventional person the Camino experience in the only way they can do it. I’m sure many others have done the same for someone who is blind or deaf or physically challenged. Society has no problem understanding special accommodation for those pilgrims but when we can’t see or understand the special needs of a particular pilgrim we are easily confounded by it. People with mental illness like anxiety or depression or any of the multitude of psychiatric challenges that can not be properly managed with medications might preclude them from participating in a Camino without a “guide/angel” like yourself…a person experienced walking the Camino that is also sympathetic to the special needs of that special pilgrim.

This is definitely do-able. If you are both in great physical condition, I can easily imagine you guys finishing the Frances in 22 days instead of 33 days because nights are long so 40km per night with lots of breaks would be easy. With double occupancy in hotel rooms and only 2/3rds of the expenses for food/drink, the costs for your 22 day with hotels Camino would be less than a “normal” 33 day Camino in Albergues.

But what do you do after you have walked 40 km and there is still 3 hours of darkness before any business is open? For this nighttime travel schedule I would definitely carry a small lightweight tent that is easy to put up in the dark. This shelter could come in handy for resting inside of at anytime during your walk when a hotel or bar is not available and as a shelter from the weather if you encounter some heavy prolonged rains in the middle of the night. The tent along with extra food, batteries, reflective vests and other miscellanea for overnight travel will add a couple kilos of weight to your pack.

Circadian Rhythms for you Morgan would be my biggest concern. Can your system adapt so that you don’t feel hung-over for 22 days? As I get older I’ve noticed I am less adaptable to these things. You might consider trying this for a week while home to see if your system can adapt before committing to the trip. Check with your Dr. for their opinion and whether sleeping pills should or should not be used to achieve this new schedule. I know I would need very good ear plugs and maybe a set of snug fitting head phones (Bose or similar design) made for noise suppression in addition to the ear plugs along with a sleeping mask to insure I had uninterrupted sleep during the day time.

Bright fluorescent Orange/Yellow vests for night walking. These are a Must Have for your safety. It will add weight and it will probably interfere with your normal/typical set up but this will protect you from the biggest hazard in night walking. I would also walk against traffic and I when cars approached I would try to get off the road by six feet or more if possible when cars passed by.

Navigation – I would have a couple of apps downloaded that don’t require internet connection. I would consult these apps frequently while walking to confirm I was on course. They might also be helpful for finding Fuentes at night to refill water bottles. With increased use of phone you may need a portable battery pack to keep it charged during your long nights of walking.

Be prepared for un-wanted attention while on the road at night. You are more vulnerable at night to someone with bad intentions so know ahead of time how you and your partner will handle it. However, I would think most of the un-wanted attention you would get would be from concerned citizens or public safety pulling over to ask if you are ok, lost or if you need a ride. Although it’s nice to know you are being thought about it might make for a stressful situation each time someone stops to check on you.

I think it’s a great gift you are considering giving to your night owl friend. I think it would be fun and interesting in a whole new way if you are properly prepared and can acclimate to the opposite waking/walking cycle. I hope others can add their creative ideas and insights on how to help make this work for you and your friend.
You have grasped the nuances perfectly. I would lie down on tracks for this person. And you haven’t even heard of what a joy he is to travel with because he’s so insightful and curious... He noticed things in France that I had overlooked in three trips, including a long residency there. He made observations in Italy about the foundations of “Western civilization” that left me gobsmacked... and in Barcelona he declared that Gaudi could be both madman AND genius, not either/or. He’s also certain that the cheap materials being used to complete the Sagrada Familia are sacrilege; would rather see it fall to dust than be finished with concrete where alabaster had been called for. Ther only place he’s ever been a toad was Dublin, which felt too familiar to him to be worth the trip at the time. I was ready to make him turn in his citizenship!!!

The joy of watching his joy unfold.... if that has to be at night, so be it.
Fair point about my own rhythms— I will likely take melatonin with me to help, but I’m not really a day person either. I get up earlier than when I was young, but I used to be able to clutch a mattress until 2pm every day, and work until 4 or 5 in the morning.

I hadn’t really thought of a tent... but it’s come up twice now in the thread, and I can probably make *him* carry it. :)

I know that when Dear Spouse went on Camino this past year he often napped in the rest areas... would find a bench, take off his boots and crash for a while. I think we could perhaps do that a little too...?

I will give thought to the issue of those who might stop to see why people are walking at such an odd hour. Forewarned is forearmed (with a strategy...)

Thank you for your kindness and your practical advice.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#30
Because my person wants to go and has a sleep disorder.
You should have said that in your first post, instead of describing him as simply a "night owl". Many people who like to stay up late and sleep through the morning consider themselves "night owls", but don't have sleep disorders, and can wake up and function during normal daylight hours. It sounds like your "person" (I assume very close friend or relative) can't function well on what is considered a normal schedule, so I understand why you want to do this.
 
D

Deleted member 39850

Guest
#31
I think that we will probably test run a cycle of 2 weeks of straight night-walking locally... see how I do. And if the test-run goes well, I’ll likely book daytime flights instead of my usual over-night...
I’m also thinking about the CP — partly because I’ve read about how inadvisable it can be for women to walk alone. Like I said, I never feel afraid when he’s with me.

The reason, @trecile that I don’t say all things right off the bat is that I don’t think they should be necessary. We should trust that people have their reasons, and that their reasons are legitimate, and aim to be generous. I don’t always succeed, but my life with my person has taught me much about trusting that the unusual is not frivolous.

My person adores seafood, and the unusual... mountains and sea air, so the CP appeals, but maybe that’s also too crowded.

Perhaps it will be a section of the VdLP and we would both go as equal “newbies” on that adventure. There is much for me to consider.

I have time to work on it. Can’t go until my next sabbatical anyway. And definitely thinking it will be in the “off season”.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
#32
I’m wondering if jet lag may change both your rhythms anyway. Your friend might find he does wake earlier in Spain. Just something to consider.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF15, CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF17, CP17, CdN, CM, CF18, LePuy19
#33
This reminds me of a young German couple I met in Sahagun many years ago. They were walking their second Camino from Germany and asked me if I knew about the Compostela awarded to pilgrims who walk the Camino at night.
I said no, tell me?
After weaving an interesting tale of the perils of walking at night and telling me the only time to do it was under a full moon, they told me when these nocturnal pilgrims arrive in Santiago they are handed a black piece of paper.

They had a good laugh at my expense.
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
#35
What a cool plan! Out of curiosity what time of year are you planning on going? If you go in June it's light before 6 and it's not properly dark till nearly 10 and if it's a full moon there's quite a lot of light. I've walked in the evening/dark (but not overnight) and it's a special experience. You'll meet a lot of locals out on their evening stroll and some of the more unusual pilgrims. Not sure your supper as breakfast timing works unless you're doing the pilgrim menu rather than Spanish evening meal for breakfast but you're unlikely to go hungry on the CF!.

I can't see how you'll get much sleep on the CF if doing albergues. I've done stealth camping at night but wouldn't have felt so safe during the day sleeping alone but then there are two of you. Discreet camping would be much easier in the summer when there's more vegetation. If you have brilliant weather you could just put down a mat and sleep anywhere and everyone will just think you're having a nap. If it's wet it will be more of a challenge.

I don't think the CP is particularly unsafe for women. There's a bit around the edge of Lisbon that has a weird not quite town/not quite country vibe and where I felt unsafe but that was the only bit. I would have thought night walking/day camping might be easier on the CP, especially from Lisbon, just because it's a quieter route.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
(2019: Planning to return!)
#37
Folks... I have a serious night-owl in my life, but that night-owl likes to hike. A lot.
There's no possible way to be certain that a traditional "up between 5-6am" approach to a camino would succeed with this person, and could actually bring all kinds of stress that would be antithetical to a camino walk.
So, I'm wondering what would happen if, instead, we rose in the later afternoon, enjoyed the towns post-siesta, and took supper as our "breakfast" and then walked through the night from about 9pm.
Is it possible?
We'd likely arrive in villages just as traditional pilgrims were waking and departing. And we'd have to nap in parks, take breakfast as our dinner, and check in as early as possible to albergues to sleep from 2pm.
I met some young people on camino this past summer who did most of their walking in the later day and checked in to whatever was available at 10pm. Usually they had their supper one town *prior* to where they would sleep.
Anyone with any experience as a night hiker.... I'd love to hear from you.
I have no night walking experience to share but just read this post on the "favourite things" thread and had to share the link. This is for you, Morgan!

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...te-things-about-the-camino.58655/#post-678814
 

DonnaS18

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept (2018)
#38
Thanks. I do always have my headlamp for the way-markers, and also because my night vision is failing. And I also find my way out of town the day before I actually go... so I'd locate the exit point on arrival in the daylight...

It's true that the walking might make for a tired enough person, and so I'm open to trying the typical mode, but there is also the problem of 7-or-so hours of jet lag that my person might not ever really adjust to. We've travelled to Europe together before, and generally walked the cities that we were visiting, but rarely started to do anything before mid-day in any location.
I’m a night owl at home but quickly adjust to the Camino’s early pre-dawn starts when I’m there. As others have said your friend will be tired enough to sleep at night. Alburgues are abuzz with excitement of pilgrims stories in the afternoon and evening so you won’t be able to really get a relaxing sound sleep then, and besides you’ll miss out on all the pilgrim camaraderie which for me is crucial to “getting the message” of your journey. Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#39
Here are my thoughts, not Camino oriented, but night walking oriented.

You are going to need lots of battery power. Bring rechargables (and spares) and a charger. Your lights should normally be using red LEDs because if you turn them off you need very little time to adjust to night vision (think of the red lights used in the submarine before it surfaces at night.) You still may need white light to read maps as red may make it harder to see other colors on maps. Use lots of reflective tape front and back. I think dogs were mentioned earlier; possibly take a loud siren or something to scare them away if they get too close (but ultrasonic so you won't get chased by angry humans.) Red flashers for the backpacks when on roads.
 
D

Deleted member 39850

Guest
#40
I’m a night owl at home but quickly adjust to the Camino’s early pre-dawn starts when I’m there. As others have said your friend will be tired enough to sleep at night. Alburgues are abuzz with excitement of pilgrims stories in the afternoon and evening so you won’t be able to really get a relaxing sound sleep then, and besides you’ll miss out on all the pilgrim camaraderie which for me is crucial to “getting the message” of your journey. Buen Camino
No. This is a sleep disorder. The usual "common sense" notions about sleep do not apply.

With my sincere thanks to those who have given good tips and avoided judgemental dismissals, I'm going to go figure out how to delete my account. The meanness is too dispiriting, and I have other ways to spend my days.
 

Aurigny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, 2016; Português Central, 2017; Port. Interior, 2017; Primitivo, 2018; Port. Coastal, 2018.
#42
I walked the Portugués Central in January last year, and because the days were short and so was the time available to complete the trip, I wound up walking in the dark for a decent period almost every day: before dawn, after dark, or (usually) both. I've also done quite a lot of such walking on parts of other routes (Francés, Primitivo, etc.) when I've a long sector to cover. Here are my thoughts:-

1. It's manageable, but I wouldn't like it to be my first experience of hill-walking over unimproved surfaces at night. Practice doing so is necessary. Lots of practice.

2. Nothing special is needed in the way of light sources—those little hand-carried LED things, which weigh only a few ounces—were perfectly adequate for me—but you do need several of them to be absolutely sure that you'll always have one as a back-up. Otherwise, if you're stranded out there without light, you're immobilised until such time as the rosy-fingered dawn puts in an appearance.

3. I didn't notice that the dogs were more dangerous and/or aggressive after dark. (They're a bloody menace at any time.) One might notice them more because they detect one's presence, and start barking, from a lot further away.

4. It's a slower way of travelling, because navigation becomes a greater difficulty. No matter how good one's eyesight may be, one misses a lot of arrows in the dark: for me, around half of them. This is because so many are painted in odd places that swim into one's field of vision easily enough during the daytime, but that one won't see at night unless one is specifically searching for them. Lots of arrows are also so faded that, while more or less discernible in daytime, they're virtually invisible under artificial light.

5. The degree of difficulty in this respect increases greatly during precipitation and, especially, mist or fog. The latter are much more common in the night-time and pre-dawn hours than in the day for basic meterological reasons: when the sun is down, the temperature sinks toward the dew-point, making mist and fog formation possible. On a very well-marked and unobstructed part of the trail, one might manage to make slow progress even during misty conditions. Otherwise I'd stick a fork in it those nights; hole up; and wait for better weather.

6. Either way, though, the basic rule of night-walking is never to leave a known position unless one is absolutely sure that one is heading in the right direction. (Having a light and cheap magnetic compass, incidentally, is immensely helpful in confirming that one is not heading off in the wrong direction entirely.) This meant that at every fork or potential turn-off along the trail I had to stop and search the area with my torch to find the relevant arrow. Sometimes, when I couldn't find it, I was obliged to retrace my steps to the previous one and try again. Factor into your daily distance-calculation the necessity of doing this.

7. The same is true when negotiating difficult terrain. It's possible at night; it just takes longer. On a slippery downhill stretch over rocks, one has to illuminate and consciously choose with each step where to put down one's foot. Not a problem if one is disciplined and cautious, but it all takes more time. On a daytime hike along these trails, I average 5 km/h pretty consistently; six if I'm pushing it (e.g. to avoid losing the bed race). At night, 4 km/h is an excellent rate of progress for me, and there's no such thing as pushing it. Not unless one is looking for a broken or sprained ankle, or a bruised coccyx.

8. You do forgo the possibility of observing the nice parts of the countryside, and of visiting churches and so on (although, God knows, few enough of those are open in Iberia in the daytime either—one of my major pet peeves as somebody who does these things for religious purposes alone). At night, though, the "scenery" is the sky, and I've seen some marvellous things there while on pilgrimage, especially out in the country districts where there's no light pollution from towns or street-lamps. Quite a few of my very nicest pilgrimage memories are of the hours after dark.

With preparation and an appeciation of the inevitable compromises and trade-offs one is making, then, it's perfectly possible. A different way of doing things, to be sure, but there again, as is a common saying on this site, every person's Camino is different.

Best of luck to you both.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#44
@Morgan Holmes
I don't think anyone on this thread has mentioned gps as an aid to route finding. I do not have an actual gps, but I used maps.me on the VdlP last fall. It is free to download on your smart phone. In the Resources section of this forum you will find camino routes which you can download as an overlay on the maps. Maps.me works even if you have no data power on your phone. I found it very useful on the VdlP. Any time that I came to an intersection, I just turned it on and checked if I was still following the route. However, when I approached Santiago it failed me, as the route had been changed but the new route was not on maps.me. Having followed it for about 1,000 km at that point, I stupidly continued doing so, even though new flechas were marked on a different route. However, in general I found it very useful and if you just look around, as well as at where maps.me is sending you, you should see any new flechas, and if old one are crossed out. In any case, it is another navigational aide which you might download and take with you. I think it is a good ideas to have it in Spain, where you can see the screen and any directional changes on camino routes, even in the dark.
 

Traa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I want to walk Camino in Sept/Oct 2017
#45
I have absolutely no advice for you as I've never walked it at night, usually I was the last out in the morning in the Albergues!!
Sounds like a seriously brilliant and cool idea though, wow, wish I had your courage.
Also, the fact you are doing this for your significant other, who sounds very unique, is so so lovely. You very clearly want so much for them to enjoy the Camino. Hope you get lots of useful advice and answers.
I always think that nothing is impossible where there's a will and a want to do something, which you defo have and I reckon you will both do it and love every second. Fair play to you.

Buen Camino to you both!
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
#46
Thanks. I do always have my headlamp for the way-markers, and also because my night vision is failing. And I also find my way out of town the day before I actually go... so I'd locate the exit point on arrival in the daylight...

It's true that the walking might make for a tired enough person, and so I'm open to trying the typical mode, but there is also the problem of 7-or-so hours of jet lag that my person might not ever really adjust to. We've travelled to Europe together before, and generally walked the cities that we were visiting, but rarely started to do anything before mid-day in any location.
Many times it is hard to find the markers in the daylight. Not that it won't work, but may be hard to find a quiet place for daylight sleeping.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#47
@Morgan Holmes
I don't think anyone on this thread has mentioned gps as an aid to route finding. I do not have an actual gps, but I used maps.me on the VdlP last fall. It is free to download on your smart phone. In the Resources section of this forum you will find camino routes which you can download as an overlay on the maps. Maps.me works even if you have no data power on your phone. I found it very useful on the VdlP. Any time that I came to an intersection, I just turned it on and checked if I was still following the route. However, when I approached Santiago it failed me, as the route had been changed but the new route was not on maps.me. Having followed it for about 1,000 km at that point, I stupidly continued doing so, even though new flechas were marked on a different route. However, in general I found it very useful and if you just look around, as well as at where maps.me is sending you, you should see any new flechas, and if old one are crossed out. In any case, it is another navigational aide which you might download and take with you. I think it is a good ideas to have it in Spain, where you can see the screen and any directional changes on camino routes, even in the dark.
However, when I approached Santiago it failed me, as the route had been changed but the new route was not on maps.me.

I'd point out that Maps.me is just the background map - if the route has changed then it's the user's responsibility to update the information ;) but I do agree with Maps.me's usefulness.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
(2019: Planning to return!)
#48
No. This is a sleep disorder. The usual "common sense" notions about sleep do not apply.

With my sincere thanks to those who have given good tips and avoided judgemental dismissals, I'm going to go figure out how to delete my account. The meanness is too dispiriting, and I have other ways to spend my days.
@Morgan Holmes please don't delete your account. There are some comments in the thread that are based on initial misunderstanding of your purpose and/or personal concerns about walking in the dark, but I really believe all are well-meant. I see no meanness here, but I do see lots of interest and some very practical advice and tips. Please don't feel attacked or dismissed. Your plan to help your loved one experience the Camino, in the only way that would be possible for them, is wonderful and admirable and amazing, and I know that you have the support and encouragement of many of us here (even those of us who have no practical experience of night walking to offer). It would be a privilege for us to be able to share in your preparations and hear how you get on. What an adventure you are planning! Please reconsider and stay on the Forum.

And Buen starlight-moonlight Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#49
Folks... I have a serious night-owl in my life, but that night-owl likes to hike. A lot.
There's no possible way to be certain that a traditional "up between 5-6am" approach to a camino would succeed with this person, and could actually bring all kinds of stress that would be antithetical to a camino walk.
So, I'm wondering what would happen if, instead, we rose in the later afternoon, enjoyed the towns post-siesta, and took supper as our "breakfast" and then walked through the night from about 9pm.
Is it possible?
We'd likely arrive in villages just as traditional pilgrims were waking and departing. And we'd have to nap in parks, take breakfast as our dinner, and check in as early as possible to albergues to sleep from 2pm.
I met some young people on camino this past summer who did most of their walking in the later day and checked in to whatever was available at 10pm. Usually they had their supper one town *prior* to where they would sleep.
Anyone with any experience as a night hiker.... I'd love to hear from you.
Hola @Morgan Holmes ; well its certainly something I personally wouldn't try and to be honest, inmo, you will miss much of what we poor pilgrims walk the camino for. You will (again imho) miss much of the spectacular views; miss the interaction "on the way" with the pilgrims you meet. Having travelled the Frances twice I think you will have problems following the route even with a headlamp and a full moon. The guard dogs will also be an issue; as will the cars/trucks/buses on the sections when you walk along side the road or have to cross a motor way.
As for sleep - well don't count on getting much in any albergue between 2.00 pm and 6 or 7.00 pm (this is the really busy time when the day pilgrims arrive full of the excitement of their day's experience). I appreciate that this is not the news you are looking for but it is what I have experienced and its offered with a big smile Cheers

(Morgan I have just read your later post - PLEASE; PLEASE; PLEASE don't delete your account (or contact Ivar to do so). Usually ALL opinions are wanted and encouraged - its just that some of us have difficulty expressing that opinion. More cheers and smiles)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances. 2001
Via de la plata 2008
Arles -Piemonte-Frances-Cee 2014
(Bastan-Francés) 2019
#50
@Morgan Holmes please don't delete your account. There are some comments in the thread that are based on initial misunderstanding of your purpose and/or personal concerns about walking in the dark, but I really believe all are well-meant. I see no meanness here, but I do see lots of interest and some very practical advice and tips. Please don't feel attacked or dismissed. Your plan to help your loved one experience the Camino, in the only way that would be possible for them, is wonderful and admirable and amazing, and I know that you have the support and encouragement of many of us here (even those of us who have no practical experience of night walking to offer). It would be a privilege for us to be able to share in your preparations and hear how you get on. What an adventure you are planning! Please reconsider and stay on the Forum.

And Buen starlight-moonlight Camino!
Folks... I have a serious night-owl in my life, but that night-owl likes to hike. A lot.
There's no possible way to be certain that a traditional "up between 5-6am" approach to a camino would succeed with this person, and could actually bring all kinds of stress that would be antithetical to a camino walk.
So, I'm wondering what would happen if, instead, we rose in the later afternoon, enjoyed the towns post-siesta, and took supper as our "breakfast" and then walked through the night from about 9pm.
Is it possible?
We'd likely arrive in villages just as traditional pilgrims were waking and departing. And we'd have to nap in parks, take breakfast as our dinner, and check in as early as possible to albergues to sleep from 2pm.
I met some young people on camino this past summer who did most of their walking in the later day and checked in to whatever was available at 10pm. Usually they had their supper one town *prior* to where they would sleep.
Anyone with any experience as a night hiker.... I'd love to hear from you.
Hey I’m a bit new at this. The last time I tried reply I ended up sending two messages. I’m really intrigued with your plans. The advice you’ve collected seems to me a bit short in nuts and bolts stuff. I’ve had some experience With overnight caving and with firefighting which involves walking in the woods at night. Investing in a couple of good head lamps and also Carrying flashlight with spotlight effect to pick out things in the distance would be useful. Redundant lighting will be comforting or even lifesaving. I would chose lights that that have The option of recharging or using AA batteries that are available everywhere. The AA lithium non-rechargeable batteries I find are the least expensive in the lightest to carry in the long run.
With a few extra pounds in your pack you can be completely independent of lodging. When I walked the Via de La Plata many years ago my recollection is that an out-of-the-way place to set up a tent is almost available.
A few years ago I walked the Piemonte with tent and sleeping bag. Always found a place to sleep and was never disturbed. My pack was only 7 kg and with two people you could be lighter.
GPS navigation would make route finding much less exciting ,especially if you found another pilgrim that had posted his track on line.
What an adventure.
Best of luck. Gary
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#51
However, when I approached Santiago it failed me, as the route had been changed but the new route was not on maps.me.

I'd point out that Maps.me is just the background map - if the route has changed then it's the user's responsibility to update the information ;) but I do agree with Maps.me's usefulness.
@Jeff Crawley
I mentioned this possibility as a warning to new users, as it happened to me. But I am a computing moron. At best, I can use some apps or programs. But I would have no idea to whom I should report something or what good it might do, when I did not in fact follow or know the new route. I leave such actions to those who know what they are doing.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#52
@Jeff Crawley
I mentioned this possibility as a warning to new users, as it happened to me. But I am a computing moron. At best, I can use some apps or programs. But I would have no idea to whom I should report something or what good it might do, when I did not in fact follow or know the new route. I leave such actions to those who know what they are doing.
I ask my daughters ;)
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
#53
I stood up early in the morning and so often walked in the dark (because of the heat in the summer; but not so long... maybe between half an hour and sometimes 3 hours).
In the meseta I walked only with the moon... and the night walking in the meseta under the moon and the stars without artificial light is one of my favourite camino experiences.
Later on the moon was not there and I needed additional light... I used my smartphone-light and attached my smartphone to my bum bag / fanny pack. If you really do night walks (and not only stand up early), a head lamp is better... but at least as a fallback you can use the light of your smartphone.

Navigation: As Albertagirl mentioned... GPS and offline maps on your smartphone is very helpful. I would say you do not need it for day walks... but in the night it is extremely helpful. I used Open Street Map and the camino-gpx-tracks from this forum. But other offline maps are okay as well. Maybe you want to test your GPS and night-navigation at home on a training walk... the GPS of my (several years) old smartphone was not good enough.
 

Felice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
#54
I've been thinking about this proposition all morning, and the more I think about it, the more I like it and am intrigued by its possibilities!

My conclusion is: walk the Frances, and walk it in June!

Why?

Well, why the Frances. Firstly because it is a well marked path and definitely not a wilderness walk! If you choose when you go carefully, to coincide with a full moon, you would be able to walk much of using just your night vision where there is senda type path. That would be magic. Use your quality torch for wooded sections and when the path is rough.
Make sure you add a red torch to your backpack, so that you can be seen from behind. Also sew reflective strip on your clothes for safety.
Secondly, choose the Frances because you have already walked it. This walk will be a mirror image to the previous one. Light and dark, two sides of the same coin. You won't be wondering what you are missing so that you can concentrate on what you are experiencing. And I have no doubt at all that it will be a highly unique and fascinating experience, one that almost no other pilgrim on this forum has had. You won't experience all the usual things, like a camino family etc, but I bet you will meet some interesting people. And if you happen to walk through a town or village in the small hours when there is a fiesta, well, you will experience it fully, whilst more conventional pilgrims are shut up in their beds!!

And why June? Because the weather in June will be delightful for night walking, with less likelihood of rain and bad weather. As you stroll through the cool night air, you can spare a thought for all those people tucked up in hot smelly albergues, where someone has insisted that the windows remain shut!!!! Also, the nights are shortest so you'll be less reliant on artificial light and the need to recharge torches.

Walking at night is the easy part. I see more problems when it comes to logistical details. You suggested checking in to an albergue at 2pm and sleeping until the evening meal - did you mean the 7.30 pilgrim meal or a 9-10pm Spanish meal? If the former, then you are not going to be getting much sleep at one time, and that is assuming you can sleep through all the usual noise of an albergue dorm. You're going to need to nap at other times. Do you think you can do this for several weeks at a go, and more importantly, can your friend cope with it?
An alternative is camping. If you walk in June, and camp during the daytime, then you are unlikely to need a tent and a bivvy bag might well be all you ever would need. In the mid to late morning, go somewhere off the path and anyone who passes will just think you are having a siesta in the heat. Please dont use the benches of rest ares. As someone who prefers to sit on a seat to rest and eat and who finds it difficult to get up again from ground level sometimes, I found it frustrating on a couple of occasions when I came upon a seemingly empty picnic area only to find both benches being used by sleepers.

For showering and clothes washing, I suggest you use albergues, but say upfront that you just want to use their facilities so that you do not block 2 beds from late arriving pilgrims. Dry your clothes on the back of your rucksack as you walk.
Recharge you electrics wherever you can, but make the suggestion that you pay something towards the electricity rather than take it for free if you are not staying somewhere.
Watch out for Sunday nights when getting a meal can sometimes be really difficult.

Anyway, good luck with the planning. Please do let us know how it goes if you do decide to walk.
 

Oravasaari

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJpdP to Fistera, 2016 Leon to Fistera, 2017 CF-Salvadore-Primitivo, 2018 CF run/walk
#55
I walked from Castrojeriz to Fromista overnight last June. I'd booked in to the municipal in Castrojeriz but the dorm was about 35 degrees at 9pm and I didn't fancy getting cooked at night. So having already had a siesta I headed off taking advantage of a full moon and walked without a headlamp. A totally magical walk on a windless night with a bright moonshadow for company. All was going well until Boadilla when it became cloudy and I lost my moonlight! Had to sleep on a chilly bench outside the church from about 3-4am till first light!
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
#58
I've just noticed this thread. When I walked the Francese last I met a Belgian woman and her adult daughter who walked at night. They had done so from Burgos, primarily as it was hot during the day (September) and they found other pilgrims too distracting. They told me that walking in the full moon was utterly extraordinary and they walked silently. When I met them in Rabanal they were walking in what seemed to them to be the blazing starlight of the milky way,. I, of course, assumed that they were insane, but accepted their invitation to walk with them from Rabanal to Foncebadon to Molinaseca, and was glad that I had done so.

They were both from the Belgian equivalent of the Catholid Girl Scouts (Chi Rho?) and were experienced with hiking; they used a good flashlight and had reflective vests, as well as reflective strips on their packs.

I would not try this on my own, but secure in my belief that they knew where they were going,I was entranced by the stillness and the starlight-- I had only once before in my life seen shadows caused by starlight and wonder if I ever shall again.

It took me two days to recover my sleep, and was pleased with my pension in Molinaseca (El Reloj) and the menu de dia at the Posada Muriel, both of which helped.
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ) ,Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )
Camino Portugese (2018 )
#59
Folks... I have a serious night-owl in my life, but that night-owl likes to hike. A lot.
There's no possible way to be certain that a traditional "up between 5-6am" approach to a camino would succeed with this person, and could actually bring all kinds of stress that would be antithetical to a camino walk.
So, I'm wondering what would happen if, instead, we rose in the later afternoon, enjoyed the towns post-siesta, and took supper as our "breakfast" and then walked through the night from about 9pm.
Is it possible?
We'd likely arrive in villages just as traditional pilgrims were waking and departing. And we'd have to nap in parks, take breakfast as our dinner, and check in as early as possible to albergues to sleep from 2pm.
I met some young people on camino this past summer who did most of their walking in the later day and checked in to whatever was available at 10pm. Usually they had their supper one town *prior* to where they would sleep.
Anyone with any experience as a night hiker.... I'd love to hear from you.

I think it's all going to depend on your route and season. I was up really really early on the Portuguese and walking 4 hours before the sunrise...there were lots of spots that were treacherous. Aside from being perilous anywhere near the roads/highways ( driving so fast, no way would see you in time even with flashing lights ) , it was PITCH black in the forests. I was never afraid of critters, but was petrified of falling into holes, over tree stumps, rocks, etc...no matter how efficient a headlamp is, it casts shadows that are deceiving.

Consider too, that if you need any type of assistance, there won't be many locals around help or redirect...or first aid.

It sounds like an adventure, but I think it needs a lot more fine tuning and investigation into possible specialized equipment for safety, navigation, etc...

Keep us posted!
 

Jzijzo

Quest 2019
Camino(s) past & future
June (2019)
#60
Folks... I have a serious night-owl in my life, but that night-owl likes to hike. A lot.
There's no possible way to be certain that a traditional "up between 5-6am" approach to a camino would succeed with this person, and could actually bring all kinds of stress that would be antithetical to a camino walk.
So, I'm wondering what would happen if, instead, we rose in the later afternoon, enjoyed the towns post-siesta, and took supper as our "breakfast" and then walked through the night from about 9pm.
Is it possible?
We'd likely arrive in villages just as traditional pilgrims were waking and departing. And we'd have to nap in parks, take breakfast as our dinner, and check in as early as possible to albergues to sleep from 2pm.
I met some young people on camino this past summer who did most of their walking in the later day and checked in to whatever was available at 10pm. Usually they had their supper one town *prior* to where they would sleep.
Anyone with any experience as a night hiker.... I'd love to hear from you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Past: SJPdP -> Santo Domingo de la Calzada
Future: Santo Domingo de la Calzada -> Santiago
#63
One of the days during my Camino, I got up around 3 am and started walking and was done by 10 am. It was one of the best walks I've had. The only issue was that the municipal Albergues we not open for check-ins, so I opted for a private pension for that night. Also, I did get a little sidetracked and had to spend an hour or so backtracking to the path in the dark. It was harder at night stay on the right road, due to the difficulty of spotting a waymarker, and with no-other hikers around to follow.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
#64
As my French friends like to say "À chacun son goût" (to each its own). The saying goes with a devious smile, a wink, and an added expression ("ou son enfer" - or his own hell):)
I have sometimes walked by night, but not the in the Camino, and in very known paths. I liked it.
In the Camino, I would not risk walking "under the stars" in some stages with paths through forests, where getting lost is a distinct possibility. I'd say that SJPP-Roncesvalles is a "no-no" after the Bentartea Pass, where you leave the paved road. It is a mountain pass, after all; being very cautious is mandatory. Other stages with forests or hilly sections are after Belorado (the Montes de Oca) and O Cebreiro. The rest is basically a walk in the park...
Some sections with very steep descents and loose gravel could be a problem, even by day; I think of the descent of Sierra del Perdón (after Pamplona) and the grueling descent to Molinaseca.
Besides that, the only problems I foresee (besides the logistical one, the lodgings) are that bar and restaurants will be closed, so you will need to carry some additional food and water. And there is the social aspect...your walk will be quite lonely. But I suppose you have already considered that.
 
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Susan hopes

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2014, June 2016
#65
Morgan, I am intrigued by your post, and I am relieved to hear of your explanation. Please understand that getting all the information would allow us to give you the best answer.

I, too, have hiked many a night to avoid the heat, however, always in familiar territory. In my area, hiking groups will organize "candlelight walks" that are much enjoyed. I have never thought about this in relation to the camino, so perhaps you will set a new trend.

I hope you will come back and tell us of your experiences. Who knows, perhaps you will write a new guide book, "The Camino Frances by Night."
 

cherrys

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept/Oct (2013), Finisterre/Muxia Oct (2013), Camino Frances and on to Finisterre Sept/Oct (2016)
#66
I think that we will probably test run a cycle of 2 weeks of straight night-walking locally... see how I do. And if the test-run goes well, I’ll likely book daytime flights instead of my usual over-night...
I’m also thinking about the CP — partly because I’ve read about how inadvisable it can be for women to walk alone. Like I said, I never feel afraid when he’s with me.

The reason, @trecile that I don’t say all things right off the bat is that I don’t think they should be necessary. We should trust that people have their reasons, and that their reasons are legitimate, and aim to be generous. I don’t always succeed, but my life with my person has taught me much about trusting that the unusual is not frivolous.

My person adores seafood, and the unusual... mountains and sea air, so the CP appeals, but maybe that’s also too crowded.

Perhaps it will be a section of the VdLP and we would both go as equal “newbies” on that adventure. There is much for me to consider.

I have time to work on it. Can’t go until my next sabbatical anyway. And definitely thinking it will be in the “off season”.
You said you were thinking about the CP. We just did the coastal from Porto, and I would think the combination of the boardwalks and the lack of tree cover could make for some beautiful sights out over the ocean, especially with a full moon. Buon caminho
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#67
We'd likely arrive in villages just as traditional pilgrims were waking and departing. And we'd have to nap in parks, take breakfast as our dinner, and check in as early as possible to albergues to sleep from 2pm.
I met some young people on camino this past summer who did most of their walking in the later day and checked in to whatever was available at 10pm. Usually they had their supper one town *prior* to where they would sleep
Not much available at 10pm in the smaller villages
Not much available at 10pm in the busy seasons
Not much sleep available at 2pm in albergues
Not much chance of naps in parks , especially in summer with sprinklers going.

Having said all that we walked one night in the Meseta with a full moon and it was magical , and we were not alone . We slept in the albergue late afternoon , showered after dinner then departed , we walked over 30km which was a surprise.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés, Vía de la Plata / Camino Sanabrés, Camino del Baztán, Camino Aragonés, Chemin du Puy
#68
I haven't read all the comments here so apolgies if I'm repeating.

I read an article in a newspaper once about a pilgrim who walked at night. He said the main difficulty was seeing the yellow arrows - and suggested they should be painted in luminous paint. I haven't heard that the Camino authorities have taken up his suggestion.

Failing that GPS is your only man.

Gerald
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances sep 2018
#69
Due to bad weather and sleeping in a tent, cant rember the place, I decided to do a nightwalk. St James way is also called way of the stars. Well plenty of stars but crossing a mountain in wet conditions and little moonlight was a real pain in the behind. Instead of doing 30kms I only did half, happy to arrive at a beautifull auberge right at the edge of the mountain with a pool and a Spa. Early in the morning so I had a hole day to enjoy some beers, the pool and the breathtaking view!
 

Attachments

Opa Theo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francais to Santiago
#70
I live in the middle of the Meseta and I enjoy amateur astronomy. I am sometimes out on the road at odd hours of the night, and have met two or three pilgrims out there on their Way, "madrugadors" who prefer their own company and the peacefulness of the night. They are always men, always carrying a tent, always walk in good weather and when the night is bright, and sleep in their tents in some discreet spot during the day. They´re hardcore pilgrims, going without a shower or sello, laundry or hot meal doesn´t seem to faze them. I don´t know what they do when the moon is dark, or if it rains -- maybe they just grab a nap and walk in daylight, or use those days to get cleaned up and rested.

I can attest to the incredible brightness of the camino moon when it´s in its fuller phases and there are no clouds. It´s downright magical out here on "my" stretch of the trail, and perfectly walkable.. .when conditions are right!

That said, trying to navigate the albergues and food service hours would be a real headache if you insisted on walking in the dark. This is an enterprise for the independent camper-hiker person who doesn´t need much infrastructure support.
Fascinating points. I'm also a star gazer. I bet where you live has a truly dark sky. As far as night hiking goes I live in southern New England, USA. Black bears would be a danger here. Also, Im at an age where a simple stumble on a root or rock would likely cause injury. Stealth campaign might be a good strategy for Morgan and her friend.
Peace
Ted
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#71
Stealth campaign might be a good strategy for Morgan and her friend.
Peace
Ted
I think she has gone AWOL mate,
Good advice you offered .
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues2019
#72
I learned of a technique, many years ago, of hiking at night called "Night Walking" that uses peripheral vision.
Using peripheral vision gives one the ability to see at night much more easily then regular daytime vision. There are several articles available if one googles "night walking", that will give more information about how to do it. Its been years since I used the technique myself, but I may think about doing it on a portion of my camino next year.
 
Last edited:

Pxlwiz

Returning Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)Camino del Norte/Primativo
(2018)Camino Inglés
#74
Folks... I have a serious night-owl in my life, but that night-owl likes to hike. A lot.
There's no possible way to be certain that a traditional "up between 5-6am" approach to a camino would succeed with this person, and could actually bring all kinds of stress that would be antithetical to a camino walk.
So, I'm wondering what would happen if, instead, we rose in the later afternoon, enjoyed the towns post-siesta, and took supper as our "breakfast" and then walked through the night from about 9pm.
Is it possible?
We'd likely arrive in villages just as traditional pilgrims were waking and departing. And we'd have to nap in parks, take breakfast as our dinner, and check in as early as possible to albergues to sleep from 2pm.
I met some young people on camino this past summer who did most of their walking in the later day and checked in to whatever was available at 10pm. Usually they had their supper one town *prior* to where they would sleep.
Anyone with any experience as a night hiker.... I'd love to hear from you.
Dave Whitsen co author of " The Northern Caminos" guidebook has a podcast on Sound cloud in episode 25 ( I just heard it last night) he describes an evening spent walking with a group of students he was guiding at the time...it sounded like an overall positive experience, who knows how long it could be sustained though.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#76
Hasn’t the OP left the forum ? :confused:
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#78
She said that she was going to
And she has , no appearance since 10/11
I think it was not about night walking as such , just the request for the possibility if it existed to aid her partner.
 

LynnW

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2019), Camino Finisterre (2019
#79
someone mentioned .gpx tracks. How would I get them? I am planning on going April through June and am thinking of taking my Garmin handheld in an effort not to get hopelessly lost.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#80
someone mentioned .gpx tracks. How would I get them? I am planning on going April through June and am thinking of taking my Garmin handheld in an effort not to get hopelessly lost.
What route are you planning to walk?
I use the Editorial Buen Camino app, which has maps that show you exactly where you are on the Camino. Or if you have strayed you can see how to get back on. The website is in Spanish, but the app will be in the language of your choice.
https://www.editorialbuencamino.com/app-del-camino-de-santiago/
 

LynnW

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2019), Camino Finisterre (2019
#81
What route are you planning to walk?
I use the Editorial Buen Camino app, which has maps that show you exactly where you are on the Camino. Or if you have strayed you can see how to get back on. The website is in Spanish, but the app will be in the language of your choice.
https://www.editorialbuencamino.com/app-del-camino-de-santiago/
I plan to do Camino Frances beginning in St. Jean Pied de Port. I am travelling alone so I want to be sure I don't get hopelessly lost.
 

LynnW

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2019), Camino Finisterre (2019
#82
I plan to do Camino Frances beginning in St. Jean Pied de Port. I am travelling alone so I want to be sure I don't get hopelessly lost.
Thanks
I checked out the Buen Camino app but I am really looking for some .gpx that I can dowload to my Garmin GPS so that I can later upload my stats
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#84
I plan to do Camino Frances beginning in St. Jean Pied de Port. I am travelling alone so I want to be sure I don't get hopelessly lost.
You may arrive alone, but you will quickly meet a lot of other pilgrims. It's very hard yo get hopelessly lost on the Frances!
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
#86
Camino(s) past & future
April 15 2014
#87
Folks... I have a serious night-owl in my life, but that night-owl likes to hike. A lot.
There's no possible way to be certain that a traditional "up between 5-6am" approach to a camino would succeed with this person, and could actually bring all kinds of stress that would be antithetical to a camino walk.
So, I'm wondering what would happen if, instead, we rose in the later afternoon, enjoyed the towns post-siesta, and took supper as our "breakfast" and then walked through the night from about 9pm.
Is it possible?
We'd likely arrive in villages just as traditional pilgrims were waking and departing. And we'd have to nap in parks, take breakfast as our dinner, and check in as early as possible to albergues to sleep from 2pm.
I met some young people on camino this past summer who did most of their walking in the later day and checked in to whatever was available at 10pm. Usually they had their supper one town *prior* to where they would sleep.
Anyone with any experience as a night hiker.... I'd love to hear from you.
I loved walking at night. Did I say loved? I mean LOVED. I did not go to be a sightseer. I went to walk and pray. I would get lost in the fog in the mountians and I was alone. But it made it interesting haha. I went every day \night with the flow. blissfull.
 

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