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2019 Camino Guides

What's the least daily distance feasible?

Nancy SV

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#1
I have long wanted to hike the Camino, but am now wondering if it will be possible. By way of background - I've done some pretty intense physical things in my life. I did two major treks in Nepal, and did a lot of backpacking throughout the years. Most recently, I spent a year biking around the USA and Mexico. And then, a year later, took off to spend three years biking from Alaska to Argentina. In other words - I'm not new to this kind of rodeo.

However, I have now developed arthritis in my hip and lower back region. Had my right hip replaced last fall. I'm doing well, but know that I will never again be able to do the stuff that I did in my younger years. (I'm 56 now.)

So - realistically, what is the shortest daily distance I could do? Time is not an issue, and I could take as long as I wanted to do the trail. I'm thinking I would not want to take a tent, so I'd have to rely on getting to some sort of hostel each night. I don't think I'll ever be able to do ten miles per day every day - but could probably do a ten-mile day here and there.

Is hiking the Camino even possible for me at this point?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#2
Is hiking the Camino even possible for me at this point?
Welcome to the forum. To answer your question, I would expect that the answer is "yes" as many people of varying abilities and disabilities do walk the Camino.

I suggest you get a guide book, and/or look at this great site (linked) to plan your daily stages. Only you know what is suitable for you. The longest stage on the Camino Frances with no accommodation is 17 km (10 miles). That happens on 1 day on the Napoleon route to Roncesvalles, and on another day on the meseta after Carrion de los Condes. Otherwise you should find accommodation every 5 to 10 km. (But you need to check it yourself, as I haven't carefully gone through the entire route for exact minimum distances.)

Perhaps plan to start in Roncesvalles or even closer to Santiago, to avoid a strenuous first day from St Jean Pied de Port. Then you might need to "work around" another stage or two, but that should not be hard.

Happy planning!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inglés (2017)
#4
Kindred soul here but only as far as the arthritis and hip replacement (10 years but sometimes it hurts when I walk).

No really active background but I have a yen to hit the trail. I've set the bar so low that my goal is to TRY and do the Camino Inglés in early June (2017). My goal is 10km days. Trip is 28 days with first 4 and last 2 nights in Madrid.

I was able to download Johnnie Walker's guide onto my iPhone's kindle. One place has an albergue at 8+km.

Will plan a couple of days at La Coruña and then decide whether I want to start at Ferrol.

I'm not hung up on getting a Compostela because (in my mind) that's an honor I'd bestow on those who complete the CF. Even though the rules say 100km qualify.

If I qualify for the 75km certificate from La Coruña fine. If not, that's OK, too.

I'm fully prepared that I probably won't manage hills and that I'll probably end up taking the bus. I just want to experience the Camino, Spain, and meeting people. All the rest is gravy.
 

jozero

Oh... That's what the shell is for...
Camino(s) past & future
CF January 2013
CF April 2016
CF January 2018
CP Coastal September 2018
#5
I may just add that the time of year will have some bearing here too as Nov-Mar will see many fewer Albergues open and more long stretches between beds but if you're planning on April-Oct you will be safe with this guidance above from @C clearly
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#6
I'm not hung up on getting a Compostela because (in my mind) that's an honor I'd bestow on those who complete the CF. Even though the rules say 100km qualify.
It's good that you aren't hung up on getting a Compostela. But there is no reason for it to go only with the Camino Frances.
 

Nancy SV

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#7
I don't care in the least about the Compostela - that's completely irrelevant to me. But I'm very encouraged about the idea that I can do this!

However - I was planning on starting it next January, so hearing that many of the hostels will be closed isn't good news. I'm an artist, and January - April are my slow months. Had hoped to hike it during that time of year. Guess I'll have to research carefully to figure out which hostels will be open.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#8
I'll have to research carefully to figure out which hostels will be open.
I think for short daily distances the CF is your best bet. The Le Puy route has mostly 16-18km days, with a few longer ones (and a few shorter). East of Le Puy it's even further between towns.

In addition to researching the directories, I recommend contacting the lodgings directly (by email) to confirm, to avoid nasty surprises. Also check which sections the transport (or bus) is available at your chosen time of year).

In your favor, Easter comes early in 2018, with Ash Wednesday falling on Feb 14. Many lodgings will open for the influx of pilgrims starting Easter week.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#9
However, I have now developed arthritis in my hip and lower back region. Had my right hip replaced last fall. I'm doing well, but know that I will never again be able to do the stuff that I did in my younger years. (I'm 56 now.)
I suppose it is generally true, irrespective of major joint replacement surgery, that we are going to be less capable as we age. Having had a similar operation about six months ago, I have been building back up to longer distances, and recently did 29km and 21km as my weekend walks. I now only have one more distance milestone to achieve, the walking marathon. It probably won't happen now until later this year, but I am quite confident that it will get done.

The point is not to brag, but to put the point of view that the whole point of the replacement was to allow me to continue to do the things I wanted to do, like walk. Not achieving that would have meant the surgery and associated recovery had not been completely successful.

So, is it possible to reset your thinking here, and ask 'what are the distances I can build up to in the time that I have left?' You don't say whether you are continuing your recovery physio and walking programs, but clearly that should be part of getting ready. I don't think you need to be aggressive about this, but gradually adding both resistance and distance to those programs will improve your prospects of success greatly.

BTW, anyone who suggests that in our circumstances that one doesn't need to train should be treated with the disdain they clearly deserve.

The longest stage on the Camino Frances with no accommodation is 17 km (10 miles). That happens on 1 day on the Napoleon route to Roncesvalles,
The alternative here is to use the Valcarlos route, and stay in Valcarlos. The legs to Roncesvalles would then be around 12 and 13 km from memory.
 

Nancy SV

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#10
The hardest part of this is that my husband is still very strong - he just finished hiking the 400-mile Jordan Trail last month. He can regularly hike 15-mile days, with an occasional 20+ day thrown in. We would love to hike the Camino together, but I fear my pace will be so slow he'll be bored.

As for Doug's comment about the point of the hip replacement.... Yes, and no. I was in such tremendous pain before the surgery that the surgery has already been a resounding success. Prior to the surgery, every single movement I made was made deliberately and intentionally in order to avoid the jolt of intense pain I got when I moved that hip the wrong way. Now, that is a thing of the past. What I have now is an overall achiness in region.

I have gained 45 pounds through this whole ordeal, so am now trying to lose that. I think that will help a lot. I also plan to start doing Pilates soon, which should strengthen the entire region - hoping that helps as well. I only have about 6 - 7 months before we're hoping to take off, so I don't think I'll be where I want to be by then - but am hoping I'll be in better shape than I am now. The biggest problem I'm facing now is figuring out what kind of pace I can maintain. I keep overdoing it, and that sets me back for weeks. Need to figure out how much I can do and how freqently - and that is a hard balance to find!
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
#11
Hi Nancy and welcome to the Forum.

Just a thought - if you could hold off on walking until March/ April, you'd find more albergues open, less miserable cold, and a few more pilgrims on the trail. You could start closer to Santiago, for example walk from Porto on the Camino Portugues, or from León on the Camino Frances. If walking the shortest distances daily is the most important consideration, then adjusting your timeline may make it more possible.

Good to hear your surgery was a success. Hopefully it's an upward trajectory now! Rest and heal well.
Faith
 

Nancy SV

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#12
Indeed. Knowing that albergues will be closed in January is certainly a consideration. I had set the January timeline based on that being my slow period as an artist. January - April is when I go into production mode, making jewelry for the shows that start in April/May. That said, I could push the hike back - that just means that I'll miss the first month or two of shows, which is doable. That timeline would also give me 8 or 9 months to build up strength, rather than 6 months if I leave in January.
 

jo webber

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 9th 2017
#13
I understand the overdoing part!!! Every time I set a how far/ how much to carry, pushed it faster. Caused pain.

As much as you can - keep to a slow build up routine.
 

Nancy SV

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#14
Yes! It's a long, slow process. When I overdo it, I set myself back a lot. I need to find a pace that I can maintain, and the STICK TO IT!!! I start feeling good, and think I can do more - and then... *BAM* This is all so hard as I've always been very active and could do so much.
 

Davie Blisters

Ministry of Silly Walks
Camino(s) past & future
.
#15
Welcome Nancy, last June I met a fellow Brit in Boadilla del Camino.
He suffered MS and was walking with the aid of 'arm supports' and had little use in his legs, so I guess he'd got 275k at the rate of 10k per day. I spoke to the hospies and they were arranging stopovers on his behalf (not that he would admit it) ;) Amazing things are possible!
Davie
 
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Nancy SV

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#16
Love that! So happy to hear that the local people are willing to reach out to help in situations like that.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#17
The costs will start to add up, but think about getting taxis ahead to start the days that are too long for you, and your husband can catch up with you before your destination. This only works if you enjoy walking by yourself most of the time.

March is good for walking, so consider a shorter distance that will fit in your time frame - maybe from Pamplona, Burgos, Leon or Astorga.
 

Nancy SV

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#19
I'm thinking 2 months. I could go longer or shorter, but will be dictated by the date of my plane ticket. I'll plan to stay a couple weeks longer than I think I'll be on the trail and just find other stuff to do in Spain - that way I won't have to rush.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C. Francés (2004-), C. Portugués, C. de Madrid, 1/2 V. Plata, 1/8 Levante, hospitalera Grado 2016.
#20
If you find out you DO want to walk in January, there's a website for that: http://www.aprinca.com/alberguesinvierno/

There are many of us walking with some degree of pain - human hips and knees aren't very well designed, are they? But I've found that taking thing at my own pace works very well, and have had many days of walking with a lot less pain than I have in my everyday life. And then there's the occasional day when I swear a lot...
 
#21
First of all, I would suggest that you start in Spain, maybe Pamplona, to miss out the "over the mountain"route.
Then consider getting a taxi or bus on any day when you have to walk further than you would like.
you have the time ,would a lift now and again spoil your trip?
 

RENSHAW

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks every year on CF reaching Burgos or Leon. Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
#23
Zero km is the least !!! And that is not being funny - do what you want each day - Many a time I've just walked to the next town. Thats Heaven! First at the Albergue of your choice , do some washing , take a nap , shop and explore and the next day tends to be quite alright.
You may want to Start at Pamplona if you intend walking the CF , missing the Pyrenees?
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
#24
Nancy,
Feb-Mar, I walked CF. I sprained ankle four days in. A few times I had to walk a bit longer than I wished for an albergue. However, if pockets permit, there are enough hostals, hotels, casa rurales, to meet your slow go needs. And, by March, I was always able to spend night in an albergue, even at 10-15kms intervals.
Buen camino.
 

jozero

Oh... That's what the shell is for...
Camino(s) past & future
CF January 2013
CF April 2016
CF January 2018
CP Coastal September 2018
#25
I don't care in the least about the Compostela - that's completely irrelevant to me. But I'm very encouraged about the idea that I can do this!

However - I was planning on starting it next January, so hearing that many of the hostels will be closed isn't good news. I'm an artist, and January - April are my slow months. Had hoped to hike it during that time of year. Guess I'll have to research carefully to figure out which hostels will be open.
I've only used the Brierley guidebooks so cannot confirm if the same for others, however I can say within his books the Albergue opening months were right about 95% of the time (I walked once in January so needed the 'open all-year' recommendations). If you got your hands on a guidebook you could quickly see the distances between open Albergues and decide if January was for you or not. The distances may be longer than you feel up to walking on any given day so one strategy is to walk as far as you can/want and then call a taxi to take you to the nearest open Albergue and then back to that same point the next morning. The costs will add up but if walking the whole way is important at least it's a workaround.

One other point I haven't seen brought up is that walking in January generally requires carrying a heavier pack (loaded with warmer sleeping bags, more layers of warmer clothes, etc) so when training you may want to keep that in mind and work up to that load weight.

I hope you can find your way to making this happen in January. It is my favourite time to walk and most days the Camino is yours alone!

Buen Camino
 

GRR

Member
Camino(s) past & future
August - September 2015
#26
Yes, it's feasible. If time is unlimited you can probably walk 10km a day to make it to the next town through most of the Camino Frances. You can also take taxis or buses to the next place if you can't make it. If you want a campostela, you have to walk the last 100k.
 

MoniRose

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(5/28-7/4, 2012) Camino Frances - SJPP to Santiago
(7/22-8/2, 2013) Camino Finesterra
(?) Camino Le Puy
#27
I have long wanted to hike the Camino, but am now wondering if it will be possible. By way of background - I've done some pretty intense physical things in my life. I did two major treks in Nepal, and did a lot of backpacking throughout the years. Most recently, I spent a year biking around the USA and Mexico. And then, a year later, took off to spend three years biking from Alaska to Argentina. In other words - I'm not new to this kind of rodeo.

However, I have now developed arthritis in my hip and lower back region. Had my right hip replaced last fall. I'm doing well, but know that I will never again be able to do the stuff that I did in my younger years. (I'm 56 now.)

So - realistically, what is the shortest daily distance I could do? Time is not an issue, and I could take as long as I wanted to do the trail. I'm thinking I would not want to take a tent, so I'd have to rely on getting to some sort of hostel each night. I don't think I'll ever be able to do ten miles per day every day - but could probably do a ten-mile day here and there.

Is hiking the Camino even possible for me at this point?
I guess the shortest would be walking out of an albergue in the morning and waiting for the next one in town to open at noon.
Some town are as few at 2km apart. My shortest day was 9km but there are many instances when towns/beds are closer. And there are always taxi options!
No matter when or how you walk, enjoy!
Monica
 
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk 14th April 2018 to 14th June 2018
#28
Hi, I am very new to this but am planning to walk the Camino in April next year. I have a lung condition that leaves me a little breathless, so, realistically I can only walk quite slowly up inclines. That's okay with me. Flat areas and down hills are fine. My lung physician has been to this area and is very encouraging and says it is a 'realistic aspiration' I am retired, not very fit but am working on that slowly over the next 6 months - increasing distances and times each week. This means I can take as long as I want to. The first few days I will only walk quite short distances. Marie
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#29
Hi Nancy (I presume of Family on Bikes fame!)
Welcome to the forum.
I wrote to you years ago and you encouraged us to get on bikes and go - even with eight kids. An injury prevented that but we have become walkers and I thank you for your encouragement! Now it's my turn to tell you that you can do it. You can. You know how to get over a mountain - one step at a time.
It really would seem prudent to delay as long as you can to continue your recovery. My father-in-law looked forward to a camino as a goal after a spinal infection that nearly killed him. It took two years to walk again but he did it (and was 30 years your senior!!)
Take your time.
You're right not to take a tent - keep your pack weight low - or get your husband to carry all your gear to slow him down (serious suggestion!)
You two will learn to function together - even if that means he powers ahead and you plod on later. Maybe he could take up sketching to while away the hours he might need to wait for you! Or you could both do different routes and meet in Santiago. You'll work something out.
We had to walk slowly for my father-in-law. That was harder for him than it was for us. He felt (rightly) that he was holding us back. We were grateful he could be with us and that outweighed any "inconvenience".
I look forward to seeing you succeed.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Plan on walking the Camino Frances May 2019, God willing
#30
I have long wanted to hike the Camino, but am now wondering if it will be possible. By way of background - I've done some pretty intense physical things in my life. I did two major treks in Nepal, and did a lot of backpacking throughout the years. Most recently, I spent a year biking around the USA and Mexico. And then, a year later, took off to spend three years biking from Alaska to Argentina. In other words - I'm not new to this kind of rodeo.

However, I have now developed arthritis in my hip and lower back region. Had my right hip replaced last fall. I'm doing well, but know that I will never again be able to do the stuff that I did in my younger years. (I'm 56 now.)

So - realistically, what is the shortest daily distance I could do? Time is not an issue, and I could take as long as I wanted to do the trail. I'm thinking I would not want to take a tent, so I'd have to rely on getting to some sort of hostel each night. I don't think I'll ever be able to do ten miles per day every day - but could probably do a ten-mile day here and there.

Is hiking the Camino even possible for me at this point?
Nancy, I am planning on hiking it because my sister in law did it having a knee replacement, shoulder surgeries and major heart surgery. She has done more of this sort of thing than I (None!) but I am confident . The only time limitation we might have if not from Euro Zone is the 90 day stay limit. Burn Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Plan on walking the Camino Frances May 2019, God willing
#31
Nancy, I am planning on hiking it because my sister in law did it having a knee replacement, shoulder surgeries and major heart surgery. She has done more of this sort of thing than I (None!) but I am confident . The only time limitation we might have if not from Euro Zone is the 90 day stay limit. Burn Camino!
Buen Camino! Hate auto correct ...
 

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