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Older pilgrims - experiences, stories

Gil A

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2013 Camino Frances
2014 Camino Frances
2015 Camino Portugues
2017 Camino Portugues
I am in my mid 70s, planning my fourth pilgrimage for October and for the first time worried about my capabilities.
Some background, my first pilgrimage at the age of seventy was just a test. My wife and I walked from Sarria in comfort, someone transported our luggage and pre-planned everything.

The following year the wife and I did it for real, carrying our own packs and starting in Roncesvalles. We did the 800 km in 41 days with me landing in emerg only 3 times with easily reparable malfunctions with a couple of days of rest in Pamplona and in Astorga plus a couple of face stitches in Portomarin. It was an amazing Lent pilgrimage starting on Ash Wednesday and ending in Santiago de Compostela for Holy Week.

The next year we started in Lisboa and walked to Santiago in 31 days. This time without the need of emergency services but with very high heat and lots of blisters. We never had a doubt that we would be able to finish.

Then last year came around. My wife, quite a bit younger than me but in her sixties fell just walking down the street and shattered her elbow. She had surgery and ended with implanted metal appliances. She was totally incapacitated for over a month. She was not completely recovered when my turn came. Again just walking down the street i heard a pop and my left leg gave up. After paramedics, ambulance and all that, the doctor told me that the big tendon above the left knee, the quad tendon, had been severed completely. This time surgery for me and it would be 4 months before I could walk without a cane, though I still have a (probably) permanent limp and trouble particularly going down the stairs. Finally the wife had another surgery to remove the metal bars from her arm.

So here we are, a year later, this time a little afraid of what we can handle. The plan is to go the easy way: we are going to Portugal that is flatter, there is only one climb that is really not too long nor too hard. We are going for shorter walk. We plan to visit Lisboa and Fatima and then by bus to Tomar and start there. according to Brierly, it is only 470 km. We'll make short stages and give ourselves 25 to 30 days to finish. Last time we walked the central route, this time we will try the coastal route.

But I am worried that we may not be able to complete the pilgrimage. So, old pilgrims, you who know that our bodies are not what they use to be. What do you think, what are your experiences.

Thank you for sharing
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Sorry to hear about your accidents, and I hope you can find a way to successfully continue walking.

Some of your accidents have occurred when you were "just walking down the street." Since you didn't say, I am wondering if you were using your poles and wearing solid footwear at the time. Even if you don't normally use poles when walking at home, perhaps you should use them all the time while on the Camino. Your legs are very tired in the evenings, and your balance changes with and without the backpack, so it might be a good idea.

If I intend to walk much on uneven cobblestone streets in the evenings, I wear my walking boots because I feel much more stable that way.
 

Gil A

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2013 Camino Frances
2014 Camino Frances
2015 Camino Portugues
2017 Camino Portugues
The accidents occurred in casual walks, just on normal daily activities. Like going for coffee or going to the supermarket.
And we do use poles in hikes and more formal walks, we have been using them for years and we would not dream of attempting the camino without them.
 

HedaP

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
I too am sorry to hear about your accidents and I can totally understand your concern. Three months, almost to day, before walking the CF this year, I stepped in a small hole in the grass while walking the dog. I fell and broke my ankle. It did shake my confidence but the plus side is it also made me far more careful during the walk especially in rain, in mud, on hills and on rocky sections. It kept me in the moment which I liked and gave me a reason to look after myself a bit better. Your decision to walk the Portuguse route sounds like a good one. May you both have a happy and safe camino.
 
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Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
I am slightly younger but still not immune to injuries, which have each been educational experiences. The two times I've been in serious trouble, was because I stupidly forged ahead rather than backtracking (in both instances because I didn't want to walk back uphill). Watching your pack weight, ensuring you have accommodations set up, not being afraid to take an unscheduled rest day, and taking great travel medical insurance will all be helpful.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
About a month before my Camino this year I walked into what I thought was an open door, only to find myself on my a$$ after bouncing off of a glass wall. My face took the brunt of it, and all that I could think of was, it's just my face, I can still walk.:p
 

Gil A

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2013 Camino Frances
2014 Camino Frances
2015 Camino Portugues
2017 Camino Portugues
About a month before my Camino this year I walked into what I thought was an open door, only to find myself on my a$$ after bouncing off of a glass wall. My face took the brunt of it, and all that I could think of was, it's just my face, I can still walk.:p

In our CF we stopped for a morning at Atapuerca to visit the palaeontology site of the oldest European man. While waiting for our tour, I walked into a glass door at the reception centre. The door shattered. I got a bruce in my forhead and a sore knee but after the tour we walked another 20 km (or something like that). At least I am not the only one who walks into glass doors.
 

HedaP

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
In our CF we stopped for a morning at Atapuerca to visit the palaeontology site of the oldest European man. While waiting for our tour, I walked into a glass door at the reception centre. The door shattered. I got a bruce in my forhead and a sore knee but after the tour we walked another 20 km (or something like that). At least I am not the only one who walks into glass doors.
Glad I'm not the only one who visited the dig site at Atapuerca. I loved it. Hope you were still able to enjoy it even after your best effort at demolishing the visitors centre? :p:p:p
 
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CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
Hey, friends--I would like to suggest that given your situation with the elbow and leg, how about you take it back to the easier time and get pack transport?

Also, you are still putting in a lot of kilometers on this planned walk. Why don't you perhaps build in a rest day every third day---and honor it? Give your bodies a bit more "healing up" time so you don't have an unexpected issue?

I have found that when my body is very tired is when I get careless.

Just a thought!

Be careful with balance in Portugal--and be very careful with the traffic. I understand that in some of the cities (Porto) it can be a bit of an issue.

Let us know how you make out!
 

Jacobus

Pilgrim since 2008
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés(2008,09 14)
Del Norte (2011)
Portuguese(2015,2017)
Inglés 2015
Fisterre (2015 17)
Hey, friends--I would like to suggest that given your situation with the elbow and leg, how about you take it back to the easier time and get pack transport?

Also, you are still putting in a lot of kilometers on this planned walk. Why don't you perhaps build in a rest day every third day---and honor it? Give your bodies a bit more "healing up" time so you don't have an unexpected issue?

I have found that when my body is very tired is when I get careless.

Just a thought!

Be careful with balance in Portugal--and be very careful with the traffic. I understand that in some of the cities (Porto) it can be a bit of an issue.

Let us know how you make out!
Good morning!
Full disclosure. I am only 65.

This year I did the Porto to SdC route with my daughter. At times I felt good enough to continue but my guardian angel said "no dad thats enough for today".
The point being that sometimes in my mind I forget that I am enclosed in a vehicle that needs repairs And therefor should proceed with a little more self awareness about speed and distance. I was lucky enough to have the voice of reason with me.
On this Camino from time to time I used TuiTrans to take my bag forward. It proved to be a blessing because it reduced the workload and allowed for more time to view my surroundings with reduced anxiety about the physical challenges.
My next Camino will see me using bag transport daily. The strain on my muscles and joints were reduced to the point of taking a walk and not a hike so I am sold on that as the best solution.
I dont have vertigo but I am visited by some mild dizziness as a result of some meds I take. Mostly when I change positions too quickly. For management if I just sit still a moment all is good.
I stop more often than normal, stay in more upscale places now. The albergue days are over. Privacy now reigns. I found it a complete camino experience however it was different than the many previous ones. Thats all. Just a little different.
And this years walk allows me to report absolutely no injuries. Not even a blister. So for me reducing the load and length of the daily walks along with private accomodation seems to be the way forward.
 

Gil A

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2013 Camino Frances
2014 Camino Frances
2015 Camino Portugues
2017 Camino Portugues
Indeed. The first night in Roncesvalles we spent the night in the old albergue. It was completely full and we did not sleep at all. That was the end of albergues for us. Since then we always used private rooms. We decided we cannot sleep with the young ones.
Also, we have kept our walks to 15 to 20 km.
There is no question that the first week or two are the hardest. After the we feel we can walk like youngsters, almost as if we were 50 again.
God willing we will be able to visit the tomb of Santiago and Our Lady in Fatima.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Our last Camino in 2015 we carried our packs ok, but we stayed in private accommodation. This meant lighter loads, no sleeping bags etc, and a good night's sleep. At one point we did consider sending our packs ahead, but decided we could manage.
Also we had worked out how far we could walk in a day and pre-booked. Most days we only walked about 10-12kms and had the afternoon free to wander around. Ate main meal at lunchtime and made sandwiches for tea. This was the Camino Ingles, but maybe you can see a way to do something similar.
Buen Camino
 

FrankieBallz

Wandering; Not lost.
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances & Camino Ingles -- Oct./Nov. 2016
Sometimes the best thing to do is constantly listen to that voice in your head. And always question yourself. It's a game I play to keep making the right decisions. Being mainly a solo hiker, it has saved me more than a few times. You can call it what you want; I know Who is talking to me. Your confidence level must always remain high. If it's not, there's a reason for it. I'm in my 60's. I don't take the risks that I used to. I want to keep doing this as long as possible, but we've got to be careful. I greatly admire your courage in pursuing a full life. You are in charge. A comforting thought for me is knowing I always have options to change my plans. Buen Camino.
 
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alhartman

2005-2017 Delightful 346 days in Spain and France.
Past OR future Camino
2017
I share your aging concerns as I plan an October Lisbon-Santiago walk to celebrate my 74th. So far I have had both good genes and good luck--until a month ago when I got tendonitis of my left posterior tibial tendon while working on a ladder doing high yard pruning. It has limited my walking to 2-3 miles per day even with a ASO lace-up brace. Resources from this forum have given me the information to plan short stages of around 20km per day so I need not be as ambitious as a youth of 60. And, as I age, I am slightly better at listening to my body instead of my more youthful modality of full-speed-ahead-damn-the-torpedoes. And my Camino mantras have always been to 'start slowly then taper off' as well as 'I will do discomfort but will not do misery". That said, I will get to see if I can walk-the-walk as well as I talk-the-walk.
Having done several Caminos I also no longer feel the need to be rigid--pack services, buses, and taxis are now just fine with me--I walk because I love to walk not because there are some rules I must follow.
Last year walking with my adult daughter from Leon to Santiago, I was more exhausted after Foncebadon-Ponferrada (22+km) than I have been in past years with 100km in 3 days. Aging does take its toll but should just require less ambitious efforts.
 

CowboyJoe

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
I am in my mid 70s, planning my fourth pilgrimage for October and for the first time worried about my capabilities.
Some background, my first pilgrimage at the age of seventy was just a test. My wife and I walked from Sarria in comfort, someone transported our luggage and pre-planned everything.

The following year the wife and I did it for real, carrying our own packs and starting in Roncesvalles. We did the 800 km in 41 days with me landing in emerg only 3 times with easily reparable malfunctions with a couple of days of rest in Pamplona and in Astorga plus a couple of face stitches in Portomarin. It was an amazing Lent pilgrimage starting on Ash Wednesday and ending in Santiago de Compostela for Holy Week.

The next year we started in Lisboa and walked to Santiago in 31 days. This time without the need of emergency services but with very high heat and lots of blisters. We never had a doubt that we would be able to finish.

Then last year came around. My wife, quite a bit younger than me but in her sixties fell just walking down the street and shattered her elbow. She had surgery and ended with implanted metal appliances. She was totally incapacitated for over a month. She was not completely recovered when my turn came. Again just walking down the street i heard a pop and my left leg gave up. After paramedics, ambulance and all that, the doctor told me that the big tendon above the left knee, the quad tendon, had been severed completely. This time surgery for me and it would be 4 months before I could walk without a cane, though I still have a (probably) permanent limp and trouble particularly going down the stairs. Finally the wife had another surgery to remove the metal bars from her arm.

So here we are, a year later, this time a little afraid of what we can handle. The plan is to go the easy way: we are going to Portugal that is flatter, there is only one climb that is really not too long nor too hard. We are going for shorter walk. We plan to visit Lisboa and Fatima and then by bus to Tomar and start there. according to Brierly, it is only 470 km. We'll make short stages and give ourselves 25 to 30 days to finish. Last time we walked the central route, this time we will try the coastal route.

But I am worried that we may not be able to complete the pilgrimage. So, old pilgrims, you who know that our bodies are not what they use to be. What do you think, what are your experiences.

Thank you for sharing
Gil--I'm your age, did the Camino last year, saw this hand painted on the back of a waymarking:
"Die with memories, not dreams."
Best fee advice there is...
PS: see my my blog--CaminoJoe.com--for more "free advice" like that!
Buen Camino!
 

OTH86

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2017
All the above is good advice! I very much agree with @alhartman
''I will do discomfort but will not do misery" and "Having done several Caminos I also no longer feel the need to be rigid--pack services, buses, and taxis are now just fine with me--I walk because I love to walk not because there are some rules I must follow." In about 3 weeks I'll be walking the Inglés and parts of the Frances not walked before - and will follow that advice! Will have my 73rd birthday along the way...:)
Buen Camino, @Gil A !
Terry
 
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DavidJ1215

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2017, Camino Finisterre 2017, Via Francigena Canterbury to Rome 2018.
Hi Gil

I hope both you and your wife are recovering well from your injuries. I too am in my mid seventies and completed my first camino in May/June of this year. I walked from St Jean to Santiago and then on to Finisterre – it was also my first long distance walk, my first use of a back pack and the first staying in mixed dormitories.

You are both experienced walkers so all I can tell you is what helped me achieve, what was for me one of the most extraordinarily physical and spiritual experiences of my life.

1. Preparation and planning – Fitness levels at our ages diminish far quicker than when we were younger – so I trained a bit before starting to ensure I had a minimum level of fitness.

2. Lots of short breaks of 5 to 10 mins during each days walk. I found my leg muscles stiffened if I went much over 10 minutes.

3. Walk at your own pace.

4. Drink plenty of water not to just satisfy your thirst but also to feed your leg muscles.

5. Back pack weight is important but so too is the balance of the pack. There were several times on my camino where I had not distributed the weight equally when repacking my pack each day. I found myself walking at a lean to compensate with subsequent back pain at the end of the day.

6. I rarely booked ahead – I really never knew where I would end my days walk – I stopped when I knew it was time to stop and then found somewhere to stay.

7. My camino was a pilgrimage, so I prayed everyday to say thank you – that was a great help to me personally.

Much of what I have written will not be new to you but it is what helped me achieve an almost perfect trouble free camino. At the end, I had unexpectedly lost weight and reached a level of fitness that I had not known for a very long time. I walk now at least one 25k day every week to ensure I am fit for my NEXT camino.

Good luck to you both and Buen Camino.
 

Gil A

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2013 Camino Frances
2014 Camino Frances
2015 Camino Portugues
2017 Camino Portugues
Thank you all, when I wrote the first entry I was thinking that there would be very few people my age walking. Your encouragement and advice really make a difference.

I really had been having doubts at going back but remembering the amazing experience, both spiritual and physical we had plus learning that are so many others like us that have made it is making me reconsider. We had been postponing buying our tickets but we just may do it today. Leaving at the end of the month for an October pilgrimage. We will stop in Fatima, after all this year is the 100th anniversary of Our Lady's visits and then walk under her protection.

I am still worried about my bad knee, I still have problems walking down hill, but as some of you said, we will walk at our own tempo, taking rest days more often and "cheating with buses" when needed. We have been walking around 10 km a day (my wonder-woman quite a bit more) and we are starting to walk with 4kg packs.

Just reading your responses is getting me excited replacing the concerns I've been having.

ultreya!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
I was thinking that there would be very few people my age walking.
The statistics from the Pilgrim Office in Santiago indicate that in October 2016, about 28,000 pilgrims received compostelas from all routes. Of those, 24% (about 7,000) were over 60 years old. There aren't details about which route, or breakdown of ages over 60, but you can expect that in October about 1 in every 4 pilgrims you meet will be over 60.

I hope your planning continues happily!
 
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Gil A

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2013 Camino Frances
2014 Camino Frances
2015 Camino Portugues
2017 Camino Portugues
After all this pep talk we are now committed. We bought the tickets. We leave for Porto on the 28th and then train to Fatima to spend a day there and finally a bus trip to Tomar. And then to walk!
This time only 500 km to see if the old guys's knee holds.

Portugal, here we come!

Thanks again everyone
 
Last edited:

Judy Madrid

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Currently on Camino deSantiago de Madrid
I am in my mid 70s, planning my fourth pilgrimage for October and for the first time worried about my capabilities.
Some background, my first pilgrimage at the age of seventy was just a test. My wife and I walked from Sarria in comfort, someone transported our luggage and pre-planned everything.

The following year the wife and I did it for real, carrying our own packs and starting in Roncesvalles. We did the 800 km in 41 days with me landing in emerg only 3 times with easily reparable malfunctions with a couple of days of rest in Pamplona and in Astorga plus a couple of face stitches in Portomarin. It was an amazing Lent pilgrimage starting on Ash Wednesday and ending in Santiago de Compostela for Holy Week.

The next year we started in Lisboa and walked to Santiago in 31 days. This time without the need of emergency services but with very high heat and lots of blisters. We never had a doubt that we would be able to finish.

Then last year came around. My wife, quite a bit younger than me but in her sixties fell just walking down the street and shattered her elbow. She had surgery and ended with implanted metal appliances. She was totally incapacitated for over a month. She was not completely recovered when my turn came. Again just walking down the street i heard a pop and my left leg gave up. After paramedics, ambulance and all that, the doctor told me that the big tendon above the left knee, the quad tendon, had been severed completely. This time surgery for me and it would be 4 months before I could walk without a cane, though I still have a (probably) permanent limp and trouble particularly going down the stairs. Finally the wife had another surgery to remove the metal bars from her arm.

So here we are, a year later, this time a little afraid of what we can handle. The plan is to go the easy way: we are going to Portugal that is flatter, there is only one climb that is really not too long nor too hard. We are going for shorter walk. We plan to visit Lisboa and Fatima and then by bus to Tomar and start there. according to Brierly, it is only 470 km. We'll make short stages and give ourselves 25 to 30 days to finish. Last time we walked the central route, this time we will try the coastal route.

But I am worried that we may not be able to complete the pilgrimage. So, old pilgrims, you who know that our bodies are not what they use to be. What do you think, what are your experiences.

Thank you for sharing


I can totally relate to your state of mind and your concerns. I walked my first Camino (Madrid to Frances to Santiago) last May on a hip that I was not certain about. Bone on bone with replacement scheduled on my return. I decided to go with a very mindful state of acceptance and a plan to listen to my body and do the best I could each day without setting any predetermined goals or destinations. Hope for the best, plan for the worst and accept what comes. You too also sound like you have made wise plans. You also have a lot of experience on the various routes. Try not to put yourself in situations where you lack 'options'. I took a taxi, bus, train as needed to avoid pushing myself beyond my limits (even though I didn't really know what my limits were). It worked out very well and I was able to complete my journey with strength and resilience. I wish the same for you ! People who thought I was a little nuts to do this before hip replacement now tell me I was so wise and it was a great 'training' experience physically to prepare me for surgery. It's a journey - I am so jealous you can do this together !!!
 

Ernesto.IT

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
I am in my mid 70s, planning my fourth pilgrimage for October and for the first time worried about my capabilities.
Some background, my first pilgrimage at the age of seventy was just a test. My wife and I walked from Sarria in comfort, someone transported our luggage and pre-planned everything.

The following year the wife and I did it for real, carrying our own packs and starting in Roncesvalles. We did the 800 km in 41 days with me landing in emerg only 3 times with easily reparable malfunctions with a couple of days of rest in Pamplona and in Astorga plus a couple of face stitches in Portomarin. It was an amazing Lent pilgrimage starting on Ash Wednesday and ending in Santiago de Compostela for Holy Week.

The next year we started in Lisboa and walked to Santiago in 31 days. This time without the need of emergency services but with very high heat and lots of blisters. We never had a doubt that we would be able to finish.

Then last year came around. My wife, quite a bit younger than me but in her sixties fell just walking down the street and shattered her elbow. She had surgery and ended with implanted metal appliances. She was totally incapacitated for over a month. She was not completely recovered when my turn came. Again just walking down the street i heard a pop and my left leg gave up. After paramedics, ambulance and all that, the doctor told me that the big tendon above the left knee, the quad tendon, had been severed completely. This time surgery for me and it would be 4 months before I could walk without a cane, though I still have a (probably) permanent limp and trouble particularly going down the stairs. Finally the wife had another surgery to remove the metal bars from her arm.

So here we are, a year later, this time a little afraid of what we can handle. The plan is to go the easy way: we are going to Portugal that is flatter, there is only one climb that is really not too long nor too hard. We are going for shorter walk. We plan to visit Lisboa and Fatima and then by bus to Tomar and start there. according to Brierly, it is only 470 km. We'll make short stages and give ourselves 25 to 30 days to finish. Last time we walked the central route, this time we will try the coastal route.

But I am worried that we may not be able to complete the pilgrimage. So, old pilgrims, you who know that our bodies are not what they use to be. What do you think, what are your experiences.

Thank you for sharing

Hi Gill A, in my experiences I try to forget my body problems (and I got quite a few) and listen and play attention to my needs, I convince myself that is what I want to do and go! On the camino things can happen and not, from the time I start I keep thinking that James is waiting for me at the other end, so I keep going. You are the only person that can decide and take any consequences for it.
And as they say "no pain no camino"
This year has been the longest pilgrimage I have ever done : started from the village of Proceno descending inj 6 day towards Rome on the Via Francigena so that I could get the "Statuto of Rome" at Saint Peter (which is the equivalent of the Compostela in Santiago), next day Francigena in reverse (very complicate course it is not signalised) I entered France via Montginevro 1.876 m down into France Via Arle and entering Spain via the Samport to Puente la Reina and meet the French Camino to Santiago/ Fisterre / Muxia.
At the exit of the peregrino office, there was the Galicia television asking question. You can watch it here. My son kept the count of every days distances.
Hope to be the last Camino but you never know.
(PS)
I'm not mid seventy yet but in a couple of month I be only 71 young.
Ultreya
 

Ernesto.IT

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Hi Gill A, in my experiences I try to forget my body problems (and I got quite a few) and listen and play attention to my needs, I convince myself that is what I want to do and go! On the camino things can happen and not, from the time I start I keep thinking that James is waiting for me at the other end, so I keep going. You are the only person that can decide and take any consequences for it.
And as they say "no pain no camino"
This year has been the longest pilgrimage I have ever done : started from the village of Proceno descending inj 6 day towards Rome on the Via Francigena so that I could get the "Statuto of Rome" at Saint Peter (which is the equivalent of the Compostela in Santiago), next day Francigena in reverse (very complicate course it is not signalised) I entered France via Montginevro 1.876 m down into France Via Arle and entering Spain via the Samport to Puente la Reina and meet the French Camino to Santiago/ Fisterre / Muxia.
At the exit of the peregrino office, there was the Galicia television asking question. You can watch it here. My son kept the count of every days distances.
Hope to be the last Camino but you never know.
(PS)
I'm not mid seventy yet but in a couple of month I be only 71 young.
Ultreya
 
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DavidJ1215

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2017, Camino Finisterre 2017, Via Francigena Canterbury to Rome 2018.
This year has been the longest pilgrimage I have ever done : started from the village of Proceno descending inj 6 day towards Rome on the Via Francigena s

What an achievement - well done!
 
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Camino Frances Roncesvalles to Sahagun Oct 2016
Sahagun to SDC April 2017 Burgos to SDC April 2018
Sometimes the best thing to do is constantly listen to that voice in your head. And always question yourself. It's a game I play to keep making the right decisions. Being mainly a solo hiker, it has saved me more than a few times. You can call it what you want; I know Who is talking to me. Your confidence level must always remain high. If it's not, there's a reason for it. I'm in my 60's. I don't take the risks that I used to. I want to keep doing this as long as possible, but we've got to be careful. I greatly admire your courage in pursuing a full life. You are in charge. A comforting thought for me is knowing I always have options to change my plans. Buen Camino.

Hey Frank. Stay safe in the face of Irma. We are all thinking about those of you in its path.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
My sister and I walk together. She is 77! I always walk with my poles but she did not! This past trip she took a spill in the Cathedral in Astorga! She took a scary fall in the cathedral and went into the cement on the side of her face. I did not think she would get up! She had a black eye but miraculously was otherwise fine! From then on she always uses her poles!

We started in Leon and finished in Santiago-Late March to early April! We like to travel in cooler weather so we shipped at the beginning and each carried a pack of about 5 lbs.

This year we will start in late Feb. in Pamplona and finish in Santiago. We are sending a package ahead with correos which we will pick up additional clothing in Leon as we for the mountain sections! Our pack will be abt 6 lbs. a fanny back will be abt 2lbs. No baggage service. We walk slowly but can walk for abt 6 hrs! Everyone passes us. We really begin slow each morning. We stretch in bed before we leave, but take time to walk casually. However, we start out early and stop after abt 5k for a nice breakfast.
We have time to breathe in the beauty of countryside...listen to the sounds, of the brooks and animals! Perhaps as we mature, the quality of the journey becomes more important than the pace.

We break up the mountain sections. For example we went from Foncebodon to Acebo ( in a blizzard) one day and then Acebo to Ponferrada! Then, Las Herrerias to OCebriero( was also snowing). We took an xtra day in Astorga and and a couple of short days of abt 10k. The last section Sarria to Santiago we walked abt 20 k per day.

Sound sleep is important and we stay in a twin private room at a combo of private hostels, albergues and hotels?

Gil, if you stay within your abilities and limitations and focus on the day to day journey..start slow, stretch, sleep and eat well then go for it!
 

Gil A

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2013 Camino Frances
2014 Camino Frances
2015 Camino Portugues
2017 Camino Portugues
We are planning for about 15 Km a day to start. We know that in the past, our bodies got better as the days went by so we may increase the distance as we go. My advantage is that I have Wonder Woman with me and she is a young 66 years old. She always takes good care of her old man. And yes, it is a blessing that we can do it together (I don't know if I would dare to go solo).

Our 5 sons on occasion have told us they are worried, I tell them that if something happens I just have to get on the phone call them and they can all go to the rescue.
This may be our last chance, only God knows. But, if everything goes well, I still want to go and walk La Via de la Plata starting in Sevilla. Next year?

I found an old thread in the forum, the comments were of pilgrims in their 80s. May be I have a few more years of pilgrimage.

May be, one day, I will meet some of you in el Camino
 

Roamer35

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, 2009, Camino Finisterre, 2009, Camino Portuguese, 2009, Via de La Plata, 2011. Pending: VdlP April-May 2014
I am in my mid 70s, planning my fourth pilgrimage for October and for the first time worried about my capabilities.
Some background, my first pilgrimage at the age of seventy was just a test. My wife and I walked from Sarria in comfort, someone transported our luggage and pre-planned everything.

The following year the wife and I did it for real, carrying our own packs and starting in Roncesvalles. We did the 800 km in 41 days with me landing in emerg only 3 times with easily reparable malfunctions with a couple of days of rest in Pamplona and in Astorga plus a couple of face stitches in Portomarin. It was an amazing Lent pilgrimage starting on Ash Wednesday and ending in Santiago de Compostela for Holy Week.

The next year we started in Lisboa and walked to Santiago in 31 days. This time without the need of emergency services but with very high heat and lots of blisters. We never had a doubt that we would be able to finish.

Then last year came around. My wife, quite a bit younger than me but in her sixties fell just walking down the street and shattered her elbow. She had surgery and ended with implanted metal appliances. She was totally incapacitated for over a month. She was not completely recovered when my turn came. Again just walking down the street i heard a pop and my left leg gave up. After paramedics, ambulance and all that, the doctor told me that the big tendon above the left knee, the quad tendon, had been severed completely. This time surgery for me and it would be 4 months before I could walk without a cane, though I still have a (probably) permanent limp and trouble particularly going down the stairs. Finally the wife had another surgery to remove the metal bars from her arm.

So here we are, a year later, this time a little afraid of what we can handle. The plan is to go the easy way: we are going to Portugal that is flatter, there is only one climb that is really not too long nor too hard. We are going for shorter walk. We plan to visit Lisboa and Fatima and then by bus to Tomar and start there. according to Brierly, it is only 470 km. We'll make short stages and give ourselves 25 to 30 days to finish. Last time we walked the central route, this time we will try the coastal route.

But I am worried that we may not be able to complete the pilgrimage. So, old pilgrims, you who know that our bodies are not what they use to be. What do you think, what are your experiences.

Thank you for sharing
 
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Roamer35

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, 2009, Camino Finisterre, 2009, Camino Portuguese, 2009, Via de La Plata, 2011. Pending: VdlP April-May 2014
I'm 81, but I don't feel a day over 80. I'm starting from St. Jean on the 21st of this month and hope to make Santiago no later than October 23. Might have to hitch a ride for a stage or two.
 

Gil A

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2013 Camino Frances
2014 Camino Frances
2015 Camino Portugues
2017 Camino Portugues
I was 71 when I did el Frances, I was feeling competent and capable and it took me 41 days. I am nowhere near as capable as I was 4 years ago. I am amazed, Roamer, at what you are going to accomplish.
Take care and buen camino
 

FrankieBallz

Wandering; Not lost.
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances & Camino Ingles -- Oct./Nov. 2016
Hey Frank. Stay safe in the face of Irma. We are all thinking about those of you in its path.
Thanks. Other than tree damage and roof damage, it wasn't as bad as I expected. When the lights goes out, the howling wind intensifies as the hurricane moves closer. What a display of of force and power! Especially if you're alone (as I often am) in the dark. It all boils down to Faith over Fear. The big thing, of course, is 'What comes next?' Some of our finest people reveal themselves in times like this. Thanks for your concern.
 

Ernesto.IT

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Thanks. Other than tree damage and roof damage, it wasn't as bad as I expected. When the lights goes out, the howling wind intensifies as the hurricane moves closer. What a display of of force and power! Especially if you're alone (as I often am) in the dark. It all boils down to Faith over Fear. The big thing, of course, is 'What comes next?' Some of our finest people reveal themselves in times like this. Thanks for your concern.

Glad you OK Frankie
 

Older Guy

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francis -May 2016 by bike---Loved it
OK, I am only 68. I did my Camino by bicycle in 2016. This summer I biked coast to coast in England. I like to do long distance biking, and running (15 K to half marathon), I also do some mountain climbing and hiking.

Have you thought about doing all or part of the Camino by bicycle as it will be easier on knees and if you have trained you can typically go about 3 times as far as by hiking.

What I learned doing long distance events helped me a lot when I did my Camino.

Half marathon training is typically a 4 month program. What that means is very heavy exercise for 4 months. One of the most common problems with long distance runners is over-use injuries.

Over use injuries are more common among older runners. I have a master (old guy) runners book that explains that as you get older the amount human growth hormone declines as do other important factors. As you experienced bone size (bone strength) decreases with age and there is typically muscle loss with age. This all means that for an older person to recover from heavy exercise you need to focus on your recovery of your body. That means getting more sleep, more water, healthy foods, and scheduled days of physical rest. For me, to train for a long period of time by doing heavy exercise, I need two rest days a week and a light exercise day. I can't push myself day after day after day and week after week without expecting to get an over-use injury. The Camino (by foot) is a month or longer heavy exercise program. It should be treated as such.

Speaking of recovery, one of the most important lessons I learned in 100 mile/day bike rides and long distance run training was that within a half hour of stopping exercising, I need to have a chocolate milk drink or better yet diet protein shake! If on a long ride or a long climb/hike, I have a diet protein shake when I stop for lunch and then at the end of the day, I feel much better the next day. The science of it can be found in the following article; https://www.mcmillanrunning.com/the-runners-ultimate-nutritional-recovery-routine-runrr/

Speaking of recovery, after a day exercising and after I have showered and washed clothes for the next day, some stretching and then again before bed; helps the body. Also getting a good deep tissue massage on a rest day is a great way to keep your body going for more heavy exercise.

Another thing I learned hiking and biking is that at lunch I always change my socks. That helps both mentally and physically.

I also take with me protein and fat snacks to consume during the day, like nuts, sliced sausage. I also pack electrolites that I add to my water or buy sports drinks (Gatoraide, etc) to drink during the day.

Still one of the most important things I learned in running is the importance of certain kinds of compression tights. I swear by CWX stability tights. They are modern engineering marvels. They have compression and strapping that supports joints, they have compression that helps with supporting your core at the end of the day. There are studies that they have run that show you either go 20 to 30 percent farther or expend 20 to 30% less energy for a given amount of exercise.
I took two pair with my on my Camino and also use them for running, hiking, and skiing.

http://cw-x.com/how-it-works/

Y
ou understand the importance of poles. When hiking and climbing, I take adjustable poles with me. Hiking up hill, I shorten the poles or strap them to my pack at the beginning of the day. When hiking down hill, I lengthen the poles. At the end of the day, I always use my poles as that is the most dangerous time of the day.

Balance is a function of both major and minor muscles. Take the following test to see for yourself. stand on one leg. Now squat down a little bit (or a lot) so your knee is well bent. Hold the position. If you want more challenge, then close your eyes. What most people feel is that after a little while their leg wobbles and their balance is controlled by minor muscles in the leg. Each step up or down a hill is a short such balance experiment. Older people (unless they really train hard) tend to loose strength in these minor muscles. At the end of a long hike those minor muscles are often totally exhausted and you really need your poles to protect and help you balance.

I think that older athletes can learn a lot from each other and that a Camino in addition to a pilgrimage shares many characteristics of an endurance athletic event.




 
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