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New to camino

PeteF

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 15 2018
#1
Hi y’all!
I started my Camino last Monday. The first leg out of Saint Jean is a real bitch. It was the hardest think I’ve done since boot camp. Unless you have mountains by your house? No amount of training will prepare you for the first leg.
Tips.
If you feel like you need to be rockstar. Don’t fill your camel pack. That’s four pounds of extra weight you don’t need. Take Bannanas. You can buy them in Saint Jean.
If you want to enjoy the hike, ship your bag to the next hostel you’ll be staying in. No one is gonna judge you. You will be a much happier human being for the next three legs. There’s gonna be plenty of hills to carry your bag up!
I learned something about myself this week about hiking. When your hiking up you want to be hiking down, when your hiking down, you want to be dead!
Don’t bring a sleeping bag. The rooms are always hot. Just bring a sheet.
You can get by with one trekking pole.
Bring tons of compeed.
Bring tape.
Bring Tylenol and aleave.
Second pair of shoes for the evenings are a must.
 
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martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
#3
Thanks for the post.
For a long time I also thought the first week of the Frances was the worse of any camino....
Till I walked the Northe this May.
That is a week you won’t forget.

I disagree with you saying only one walking staff is needed.
For proper balance, assisting up AND down hill, two are needed.
Most walkers do not use the poles correctly.
Or even use the wrist straps or even know how to properly use them.
All good professionals who hike will agree TWO are needed.
Especially to reduce weight off the body.

Sleeping bags... NEEDED for some. And especially at certain times of the year and where hiking.
Not all albergue are hot, nor all cold.
All are different. I never walk/bike without a light weight bag and a silk liner.
Same for wool watch cap.

I do sleep outside at times. Using a Hennessy light weight hammock.
 
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martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
#4
Compeed is not for everyone.
It messes up wool socks/sock liners.

Hauling tons is not needed. It is sold all over the place in Portugal and Spain for sure.

A better approach is well broken in shoes, wool socks with a liner, well exercised and broken in feet before first day on a comino

Walked four different Camino and biked the French. Never once had a blister.

Many people read this forum. Most are smart and study this forum.
Unfortunately some will believe it is raining euros coins today....or anything told on here.

I find it is better to say “this is what worked for me, my way”. VS telling to do or don’t do.

I met a few hurting ones on the Camino who were sobbing “I read to do this and that...now..."

I ALWAYS have a emergency blanket on my bag. Water. Some sort of energy bars. Wool watch cap. Wool gloves and neck gather. Also wool. You never never never know when you will need such. Or get stuck out somewhere. Have at least some basic items to keep warm. You can die even when it is down to the 50s at night.
 
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Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#5
Each person is different and usually what suits one, can not be a general statement for all - new people can read this forum and be in influenced by other peoples' recommendations to their detriment.
Once upon a time I may have agreed with you about the use of one pole, but I am a recent convert to two poles, and would NEVER only use one pole now.
I would also never take Compeed, and also not a second pair of shoes - I bring flipflops.
For good advice on foot-care - look up @davebugg posts - he gives the best professional advice I've seen.
He also gives really good advice on selecting footwear.
And it entirely depends on the time of year, and how a person feels heat or cold as to whether a sleeping bag is required.
 
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Tobym1973

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
French Way, San Jan to Estella 2018 plan to continue it in 2019 or do the Portuguese Way
#6
Im not long back from doing 5 days from San jan to Estella and i love it, I did the alternative route Valcarlos the first day as weather conditions were not great on the napoleon route but by god it was tough too, i never realised or read how rough it was before I left as i was set on doing Napoleon..
You will never be prepared for the Camino first time no matter what you read or are told but you will learn loads that will make the next trip more easy
 
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
#7
@PeteF , just in case others read your post and think your experience is normal: YOUR EXPERIENCE IS NOT NORMAL.

If you had done your preparation you would know you would know you go from 200 metres (600 feet) above sea level (asl) to more than 1,400 metres (nearly 5,000 feet) asl in quite a short distance. So, for the piece of mind of the rest of us, don't complain when you encounter what is known.

If I, aged quite a bit more than you, can achieve Roncesvalles in a little over 5 hours, there is no reason why you couldn't.

Others have, very properly, rebuffed your other irrelevant personal opinions..

On the other hand, you have made progress. Congratulations on that.

Kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
 

martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
#8
@PeteF, semi agree with bringing a second pair of shoes for evening.

But, everyone of my walks I never brought a extra pair of shoes. Except when I biked the Frances. Since I was towing a suitcase (Bike Friday) trailer I had a extra pair of light weight shoes in the trailer. Only reason for that was to get out of biking shoes.

Many bring a light weight pair of sandals as a evening shoe. Even flip flops. Or super light weight trail runner type of shoes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#9
YOUR EXPERIENCE IS NOT NORMAL. . . Others have, very properly, rebuffed your other irrelevant personal opinions..
I am very uncomfortable with the tone of most of the above responses to @PeteF 's post, including what I have quoted here. I understand this forum to be a place where pilgrims can share their experiences and personal opinions without being jumped on, within the limits of the forum rules. PeteF has not been back to the forum since he posted above, and I don't think I would have returned if responded to as above.
 

P Rat

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino VDLP april (april2019)
#10
I am very uncomfortable with the tone of most of the above responses to @PeteF 's post, including what I have quoted here. I understand this forum to be a place where pilgrims can share their experiences and personal opinions without being jumped on, within the limits of the forum rules. PeteF has not been back to the forum since he posted above, and I don't think I would have returned if responded to as above.
I second Albertagirl....Pete meant well, is prehaps on high because of what he achieved and/or been in a hurry to write this post. Whatever the reason, even if it could have been worded a little different, take it for what it is: well meant advice! Albertagirl: he may not have responded because he was too busy enjoying himself rather than being scared off...:) That's what I'm hoping for. Buen Camino Pete!!
 

patk

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, De la Plata, Norte, Portugal, Primitivo, Ebro, Madrileno, Norte again (2016)
#11
Agree. We are here to support not criticise. The Caminos are good at teaching us how imperfect we are and how diifferent everyone's experiences are.
Re shoes. I take one pair of Merrell walking shoes and a pair of Teva sandals. These are brilliant because you can walk in them if you need to give your feet a rest. I had awful blisters when I used boots and none since i switched to Merrells. But i have learnt that if your shoes don't feel like carpet slippers from the first try on, don't buy them:)
Always take a silk liner and light bag, wet gear and woolly hat, gloves, scarf in case.
 

PeteF

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 15 2018
#14
Hi
I’m on day seven of my Camino. I’m on a resting day and thought I’d take a peak at my latest post. Thank you for all of your replys. Even the ones that disagree.

The last few days I’ve been really focused on mindfulness. However when everyone is coming up from behind you and saying “Buen Camino” it can get rather frustrating. I didn’t expect this many people. But like one guy on here said “it’s in the book you should know it’s gonna be busy” please keep those comments to yourself. I just find it difficult in crowded situations to self reflect.

I took today off. Treated myself to a beautiful Airbnb. Best money spent so far. Give my blisters a break.

Cheers too you all
 
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
#15
@PeteF , I am one of those who were critical of your post. I do apologize if I caused you any anguish.

The issue for me is one of getting the balance right in a stream of posts. And I (and I suspect others) thought you had been too negative as a whole.

Had you said, for example, "the first 5 hours were a struggle for me because I had underestimated the rate of climb" then you would have left a very good message for others to note as well as express your feelings and the lesson you had learned.

Again I say kia kaha and may you arrive safely at your intended destination.
 

martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
#16
@PeteF, I also am one of the ones who was critical of your post.

Offer highest apology as well.

The intent was not to be harsh, overly critical...but to inform PeteF that some of the things he stated were not necessarily of the best statements.

Hope in my post was that newbie readers would not take things as the final word to do or not to do.

I stand by my comments. Especially that two hiking poles/staffs are needed. Not one.

Regards.
Blessings.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago de Compestela in May(2016)
#17
Peter, the number of trekking poles and whether they are needed at all is a very contreversial subject. Suffice to say that one is not enough and three is one too many. Two is the Goldilocks number.
Regarding sleeping bags, there is a phrase that goes”It is better to have and not need than to need and not have “ Having said that no one is going to carry a kitchen sink 790k just in case, but a sleeping bag can weigh just a few ounces.
Good luck on the ascents on the hills ahead!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
#18
Pete
I am on the Camino as we speak and I am imagining very close to where you are. If you are interested in sitting down together for a bit to eat drop me a note.

Buen Camino

John
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#19
@PeteF , just in case others read your post and think your experience is normal: YOUR EXPERIENCE IS NOT NORMAL.

If you had done your preparation you would know you would know you go from 200 metres (600 feet) above sea level (asl) to more than 1,400 metres (nearly 5,000 feet) asl in quite a short distance. So, for the piece of mind of the rest of us, don't complain when you encounter what is known.

If I, aged quite a bit more than you, can achieve Roncesvalles in a little over 5 hours, there is no reason why you couldn't.

Others have, very properly, rebuffed your other irrelevant personal opinions..

On the other hand, you have made progress. Congratulations on that.

Kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
Talking of normal @AlwynWellington ...........
In case new Pilgrims read this.
St Jean to Roncesvalles in 5 hours is not normal
You Sir are a Mountain Goat ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#22
The last few days I’ve been really focused on mindfulness. However when everyone is coming up from behind you and saying “Buen Camino” it can get rather frustrating.
I think that you need to learn to "go with the flow". Forget what you have decided you should do, and embrace what is happening around you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
#23
You Sir are a Mountain Goat
I assumed @AlwynWellington meant 5 hours from Orisson to Roncesvalles ?
I'm not so sure.
We're talking about a guy here who trains by measuring his walking speed with Police speed cameras!
I stopped at Orreaga / Roncesvalles and the next night at Zalbadika. During night prayer the Sacred Heart sister asked as to talk about our experiences. One young woman wanted to know why I was so fast uphill and I explained.

Because of the questions above I have gone back to my trip notes made at the time and are visible in my blog below. These say I started from Saint-Jean at 07h and arrived at Orreaga at 12h30. My claim in this stream of five hours was caused by my thinking I had started at 07h30. I had three stops on the way. As we went into thick cloud well before Orisson I stopped there to enquire about conditions further on. I next stopped at the last stamp caravan, but with so many already there and my body starting to cool I decided it was prudent to not tarry. My third stop was for nature on the descent - I needed to go some way of piste so as not to embarass anyone.

I would be pleased to answer any further questions.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
(2019: Planning to return!)
#24
I stopped at Orreaga / Roncesvalles and the next night at Zalbadika. During night prayer the Sacred Heart sister asked as to talk about our experiences. One young woman wanted to know why I was so fast uphill and I explained.

Because of the questions above I have gone back to my trip notes made at the time and are visible in my blog below. These say I started from Saint-Jean at 07h and arrived at Orreaga at 12h30. My claim in this stream of five hours was caused by my thinking I had started at 07h30. I had three stops on the way. As we went into thick cloud well before Orisson I stopped there to enquire about conditions further on. I next stopped at the last stamp caravan, but with so many already there and my body starting to cool I decided it was prudent to not tarry. My third stop was for nature on the descent - I needed to go some way of piste so as not to embarass anyone.

I would be pleased to answer any further questions.
@AlwynWellington I think you started from Le Puy if I'm recalling correctly? So you would have had your "Camino legs" well and truly by the time you reached St Jean! You made amazing time even so. It's a bit different I think when that hill is climbed on Day One. Which is in no way intended to contradict your point that it can be trained for of course. Just that the steep climb would be harder when not "warmed up", so to speak (Says she who has started from Roncesvalles twice so far and will again...!)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Frances July 2017
#26
Hi
However when everyone is coming up from behind you and saying “Buen Camino” it can get rather frustrating.
Haha, I'm sorry, this probably would have been me. Not being great with remembering who I've seen on any given day I genereally just say Buen Camino to everyone. At one point an Italian guy pointed out that I'd said Buen Camino to him four times that day :eek: It's a tricky business trying to be friendly.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francis (2016)
SJ to Santa Domingo (2017)
Santa Domingo to Fromista (2018)
#27
Haha, I'm sorry, this probably would have been me. Not being great with remembering who I've seen on any given day I genereally just say Buen Camino to everyone. At one point an Italian guy pointed out that I'd said Buen Camino to him four times that day :eek: It's a tricky business trying to be friendly.
I have actually introduced myself to the same Pilgrim twice in one day.
The first time her hair was pulled up in her hat and she was wearing sunglasses. The second time: no glasses and long hair was worn down.
We had a good laugh!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
#28
@GettingThere , you are right on both counts. Both my several years training before setting out and being nearly a month on the road was a tremendous assist.

But there were two other factors that assisted me on any pull up,

1) taking short steps - the heel of one foot would advance to half way between heel and toes of the other foot - coupled with breathing in on one footfall and out on the next footfall. This means minimal energy expended in lifting my feet

2) dressing for the entire journey - in otherwords not stopping to remove / put on clothing during the trip. This often oncludes taking off the pack and putting it back on again - also a use of energy.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#29
Hi

I took today off. Treated myself to a beautiful Airbnb. Best money spent so far. Give my blisters a break.

Cheers too you all
Ah. Blisters are best avoided. How did you get those?
If you have them this early on I'd be finding the cause asap
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#30
Hi y’all!
I started my Camino last Monday. The first leg out of Saint Jean is a real bitch. It was the hardest think I’ve done since boot camp. Unless you have mountains by your house? No amount of training will prepare you for the first leg.
Tips.
If you feel like you need to be rockstar. Don’t fill your camel pack. That’s four pounds of extra weight you don’t need. Take Bannanas. You can buy them in Saint Jean.
If you want to enjoy the hike, ship your bag to the next hostel you’ll be staying in. No one is gonna judge you. You will be a much happier human being for the next three legs. There’s gonna be plenty of hills to carry your bag up!
I learned something about myself this week about hiking. When your hiking up you want to be hiking down, when your hiking down, you want to be dead!
Don’t bring a sleeping bag. The rooms are always hot. Just bring a sheet.
You can get by with one trekking pole.
Bring tons of compeed.
Bring tape.
Bring Tylenol and aleave.
Second pair of shoes for the evenings are a must.
Glad that you are off to a great start @PeteF !
It will be interesting for you to review your advice at the end, to see if you would change any of it ;)
Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#31
Sorry but very irresponsible advice telling people not to take very much water.
How so? It depends on the route you are on. On the CF, with an abundance of water fountains and bars I don't see any reason to carry more than a liter of water. I tend to check out what's coming up on my walk each morning, and fill my 2 liter hydration with between 1 - 1.5 liters, depending on how far apart towns are.
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#32
How so? It depends on the route you are on. On the CF, with an abundance of water fountains and bars I don't see any reason to carry more than a liter of water. I tend to check out what's coming up on my walk each morning, and fill my 2 liter hydration with between 1 - 1.5 liters, depending on how far apart towns are.
He said
Don’t fill your camel pack. That’s four pounds of extra weight you don’t need.
4 pounds is 1.8 litres. So really, 200ml is enough?
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#33
How so? It depends on the route you are on. On the CF, with an abundance of water fountains and bars I don't see any reason to carry more than a liter of water. I tend to check out what's coming up on my walk each morning, and fill my 2 liter hydration with between 1 - 1.5 liters, depending on how far apart towns are.
I do the same. I carry just what I need, and add 1/2 litre for emergencies. (in case a font is dry or a shop closed) I use 1 litre per 10 kms. So it's not hard to work out. Though on the CF Day 1 climb I use more water ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#35
Maybe it's a 3 litre ;)
Exactly, if he has a 3 liter Camelback, which is a very common size, and he only puts in one liter, then he is saving ~4 pounds.
I think what he is basically saying is that your hydration bladder is like your backpack. You can carry a 50 liter backpack, but you probably shouldn't fill it! Only carry what you need, in this case water, which is easily replenished on the Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#36
Exactly, if he has a 3 liter Camelback, which is a very common size, and he only puts in one liter, then he is saving ~4 pounds.
I think what he is basically saying is that your hydration bladder is like your backpack. You can carry a 50 liter backpack, but you probably shouldn't fill it! Only carry what you need, in this case water, which is easily replenished on the Camino.
Indeed. On my first Camino, I carried a 3 litre water bladder, and most days carried way too much water.
My new system of bottles allows me to vary and 'see' the weight much easier.
 

PeteF

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 15 2018
#37
Hi
So I’ve gotten lots of blisters. Tried lots of advice and they ended up infected. Great doctors along the way. $46 for an office visit and $4 for an antibiotic. It is so important to take care of your feet. Sock liners have been my saving grace.
I’m on day 19. The communal dinners are so wonderful. It’s been so wonderful to visit with people from all over the world. The food isn’t always the best. But that’s not really the point. Hearing everyone story’s are just so inspiring.
Del Sol hostel. If can I highly recommend staying there. The spring is a great way to ice your feet. The dinner is at a round table, and it’s so good. I find that hostels with fewer bed counts are the best way to go. No fighting for hot water in the showers.
Knock on wood.... not a single bed bug
I shipped 8 pounds of crap that I had in my bag from Burgos to Santiago. Using the postal service was not easy. Only because of the language barrier. Any way you can lighten your pack, DO IT:) I was using a camel bag in the beginning. Big mistake. It weighs four pounds full. I get by with a 16 oz water bottle. Just a plastic one I bought in Roncesvalles. I keep it in my front pocket and fill it along the way.
Clicking sticks!!!!! They suck. Once you hit the roads or towns your gonna come Accross all of these people who use there trekking poles everywhere they walk. They don’t put rubber boots on there tips. So obnoxious:( I don’t like the distraction of music in my head while I’m trying to think. But yesterday they really saved me from the damn clicking sticks.
This Camino has aloud me the start of a complete reboot of my brain. I’m sooo very thankful for this walk.
Cheers everyone it’s time for a coke and a smile.
 

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