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Why Do Adventure Snobs Hate The Camino De Santiago?

2020 Camino Guides

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF last 150 to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
Amusing. These things often come up.
Why do they hate it?

  1. Because it's NOT an Adventure.
  2. It's NOT a Thru Hike
  3. It's NOT a nail biting challenge.
  4. It's NOT a 'unique' experience undertaken by a 'select' few.
It's a Pilgrimage.
Undertaken by hundreds of thousands every year.
Most 'searching' for something, that has little to do with 'adventure'
But has 'everything' to do with living...

Adventurers?

Move along now, nothing for you here 'Adventurer'....... Absolutely................nothing........
 
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Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
For years now one of the first results which Google gives if you search for "Camino de Santiago" is an article by Francis Tapon entitled "10 Reasons Why El Camino Santiago Sucks". It is still in the top 20 Google results. Tapon's argument is basically (1) I like wilderness trails and (2) the Camino is not a wilderness trail and therefore (3) the Camino sucks. A very strange piece of reasoning. An analogy: (a) I like bananas. (b) Beer is not made from bananas - except possibly in Belgium where normal rules do not apply. (c) Therefore I cannot enjoy beer. Why force an artificial comparison between two very different types of experience?
 
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SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
I think there are two possible answers to this: Most experienced thru-hikers I have met, don't do much research into what/how the Camino really is. They already have the gear, buy a guidebook and are off. And then they discover that the Camino is very different from what they semi-automatically expected.
Also, the ones I met that have done research seemed to enjoy it as they knew what expected them.

So, imo, it has more to do with lack of knowledge/research than anything else - and that applies to other groups of pilgrims to. The Camino is simply not everybody's cup of tea - and that is OK.

BC SY
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
So, imo, it has more to do with lack of knowledge/research than anything else - and that applies to other groups of pilgrims to. The Camino is simply not everybody's cup of tea - and that is OK.
That is my impression too. I am always a little concerned when I read a prospective pilgrim asking what the campgrounds are like or should they bring emergency locator beacons or satellite phones in case of accidents in remote areas. A hint of a mismatch between their expectations and the reality on the ground.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015, 2017, 2019) and plans for 2020 (Sept, Oct)
I have subscribed to Backpacker magazine for several years. The entire focus is on adventure hiking on trails I would never consider (I'm afraid of heights). Some of the stories are interesting and there are good features on hiking gear. I've contacted the magazine twice and suggested that they consider writing a story or two on the camino, as it is a different experience and they might broaden their audience. In both cases, no one bothered to respond to my message. Bob
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I've come across a few Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers on the Camino, only ever in Spain -- on those occasions, they've shown some respect for the fact that I was hiking usually about 2000K rather than just the 800 of the Francès, so maybe they opened up to me a bit more because of that.

But well, once you've done the PCT, well, the Francès from SJPP is just very easy in comparison, even if you choose the crest hiking version of it that runs more or less between the Norte and the Francès.

They have no experience of what the Camino is like outside the Francès, particularly when that's outside any waymarked trail whatsoever. So really, as PCT thru-hikers or whatever, they are pure and simple doing a Camino that is way, way, way too short for their own needs and purposes.

Maybe if they started in Trieste, hiked the Via Alpina to La Turbie, walked the whole of the South of France via Perpignan up to the Perthus, then from there followed the Pyrenean crests to SJPP, and then from there made their way along the crest trail version of the Camino in Northern Spain, they might respect it a bit more.

It's hardly our fault that they've chosen the easy option instead, and then complained about it being too easy.

an article by Francis Tapon entitled "10 Reasons Why El Camino Santiago Sucks". It is still in the top 20 Google results.
That article is completely nonsensical.
 
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NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Equally absurd would be a veteran of the Frances thinking they could now walk the Pacific Crest Trail and it would be similar.

Apples and oranges.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Equally absurd would be a veteran of the Frances thinking they could now walk the Pacific Crest Trail and it would be similar.
Yep.

In my youth I probably could have -- except that would have been forcing myself, as I am not a mountain hiker, just for starters. The pure wilderness stuff would not have really bothered me, but the crests ? No thanks ... 😵
 
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
I have only met two thru-hikers on the Camino (del Norte, to be specific). One was a retired California parks ranger and she was delighted with the scenery, occasionally commenting on how much less trouble it is when one doesn't have to pack one's food, and cheerfully chatting with locals in her John-Wayne-accented Californian Spanish (not to mock her, as my pronunciation is even more bizarre, John-Wayne but with a Castilian lisp). The other spent much of his time recounting his WCT adventures and how the del Norte was not the west coast trail-- he was disappointed that I had not done the Vancouver Island Trail and perplexed when I told him that I cancelled all thought of it when I found out that there were no cafes with a menu de dia there. He seemed to think that I was joking.

As @NorthernLight notes, apples and oranges. Or, perhaps, gorp and figs.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Navarra!
When my friend JoJo was contemplating her first Camino a fellow member of our local walking group and a "serious long distance hiker" insisted that, for a 6 week hike, she'd need at least an 85 litre pack to carry everything she'd need. After pointing out that a) she could easily sleep in a bag of that size and b) Spain is a civilised country well supplied with shops and services we explained the way the Camino worked only for it to be derided as "a series of strolls down a country lane all joined up then".
He did the Camino Frances himself a couple of years later. When asked how it was he replied: "Exhausting but uplifting - a totally new experience."
I love the Tapon article - I'm sure he'd have had far a better time on the Camino if he'd walked it barefoot and self-flagellating.
As @NorthernLight says Apples and Oranges.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Navarra!
I have only met two thru-hikers on the Camino (del Norte, to be specific). One was a retired California parks ranger and she was delighted with the scenery, occasionally commenting on how much less trouble it is when one doesn't have to pack one's food, and cheerfully chatting with locals in her John-Wayne-accented Californian Spanish (not to mock her, as my pronunciation is even more bizarre, John-Wayne but with a Castilian lisp). The other spent much of his time recounting his WCT adventures and how the del Norte was not the west coast trail-- he was disappointed that I had not done the Vancouver Island Trail and perplexed when I told him that I cancelled all thought of it when I found out that there were no cafes with a menu de dia there. He seemed to think that I was joking.

As @NorthernLight notes, apples and oranges. Or, perhaps, gorp and figs.
Spluttered my tea over my keyboard - now have visions of John Wayne drawling "Via con Dios, Pilgrim" running through my head. Thanks ;)
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I love the Tapon article - I'm sure he'd have had far a better time on the Camino if he'd walked it barefoot and self-flagellating.
I first learned about the Camino from my mother-in-law who is a remarkable woman in lots of ways. She walked the Camino Frances in 1985 as part of a large international group. A project put together and led by an eccentric who had some sort of religious revelation at Lourdes which led him to walk barefoot from Paris to Santiago. Fortunately when he got round to leading others he didn't insist they did likewise :)
 

Paladina

old woman of the roads
Camino(s) past & future
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles etc (2018), Mozarabe etc (2019), tbc (2020)
I first learned about the Camino from my mother-in-law who is a remarkable woman in lots of ways. She walked the Camino Frances in 1985 as part of a large international group. A project put together and led by an eccentric who had some sort of religious revelation at Lourdes which led him to walk barefoot from Paris to Santiago. Fortunately when he got round to leading others he didn't insist they did likewise :)
Well, that's one way of avoiding the shoes v boots controversy!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I think our very own @Sara_Dhooma would be a perfect person to help provide insight, as she seems to transition effortlessly between thru-hikes and caminos. But I think she is headed off on a new adventure now and probably won’t be back here till she is ready to start another camino.

IMO, the more the camino-reality news spreads among the “adventure community”, the fewer disappointed thru-hikers there will be, so spreading this message is a public service. :)
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
an eccentric who had some sort of religious revelation at Lourdes which led him to walk barefoot from Paris to Santiago. Fortunately when he got round to leading others he didn't insist they did likewise :)
I finished my 1994 from Paris in a combination of barefoot or virtually barefoot -- not because I wanted to, but because my boots broke, and were irreplaceable not just from my lack of finance, but more importantly because replacements in my size pure and simple did not exist in Spain at the time.

Pure barefoot probably not more than 3-4K -- but I found that your soles do actually just toughen up, so that it's actually a lot more feasible than it sounds.

(though I was not super confident that one time I came upon an adder curled up in the middle of the path)

But no, I'd not recommend it to anyone either !!!
 

Paladina

old woman of the roads
Camino(s) past & future
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles etc (2018), Mozarabe etc (2019), tbc (2020)
I finished my 1994 from Paris in a combination of barefoot or virtually barefoot -- not because I wanted to, but because my boots broke, and were irreplaceable not just from my lack of finance, but more importantly because replacements in my size pure and simple did not exist in Spain at the time.

Pure barefoot probably not more than 3-4K -- but I found that your soles do actually just toughen up, so that it's actually a lot more feasible than it sounds.

(though I was not super confident that one time I came upon an adder curled up in the middle of the path)

But no, I'd not recommend it to anyone either !!!
I take my hat off to you for taking your boots off! I know it's feasible - and so is climbing Croagh Patrick, Ireland's holy mountain - but I'm neither brave nor hardy enough to attempt either discalced.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF last 150 to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
Equally absurd would be a veteran of the Frances thinking they could now walk the Pacific Crest Trail and it would be similar.

Apples and oranges.
Nice comparison. Why on Earth would I want to walk the PCT?
  1. I won't meet many other 'Pilgrims' if any.
  2. There are no Alberques.
  3. I have to carry 'how much' gear?
  4. Cook my own food!
  5. Not many places to attend Mass....
Sounds to me that as a Pilgrimage the PCT absolutely sucks! :rolleyes:
 

mmmmartin

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santander-SdC bici '14
Plata bici '17
1/2 Plata bici '18
Frances a pie '18
(Porto a pie '19)
Why force an artificial comparison between two very different types of experience?
Good point. The difference, IMHO, ought that many of these adventurers are focused on themselves whereas pilgrims tend to be interested in other people. Not always, and not all pilgrims, but my point is that the interest is in a different thing.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
For years now one of the first results which Google gives if you search for "Camino de Santiago" is an article by Francis Tapon entitled "10 Reasons Why El Camino Santiago Sucks". It is still in the top 20 Google results. Tapon's argument is basically (1) I like wilderness trails and (2) the Camino is not a wilderness trail and therefore (3) the Camino sucks. A very strange piece of reasoning.
I liked his article. By the way he was (is?) a forum member. Tapon is an ultra-light or hyper-light hiker that prefers doing long distance wilderness trails. His website is, I believe, geared to people interested in that type of walking. He wasn't thrilled with the camino but his article is fair, pointing out the pros and cons. His title isn't fair. I see it as clickbait ("Let's get visitors to this webpage"). But getting traffic is fair. He provides a lot of free information on adventure and maybe he gets something in return like a bit of advertising money or someone buying a book.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
After having done a few Caminos I have had people ask me if I want to do the PCT (since it's practically in my backyard). I then have to explain to them that other than carrying a backpack, and using my feet for transportation the PCT and the Camino have nothing in common.

The huge appeal of the Camino to me when I first heard of it was that I could walk across a country and I wouldn't have to camp out!
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
Having thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and the Colorado Trail, there is a completely different sensibility to walking a Camino. There is little they have in common, and much they have that is unique to themselves.

No, someone who's experience is walking a Camino and who did not prepare for wilderness backpacking, would be placing themselves in danger. . . for a variety of reasons.

While the PCT thru hiker would be better able to transition to camino walking in terms of survival issues, if they do not properly prepare for Camino, they will be negatively impacted in a whole different way.

As a backpacker, I already had the gear and I had the knowledge and techniques to deal with long distance walking. I did not have the sensibilities of:

WHAT gear to include, the conditions and the crowds of the pathways and the environment while on camino, the need to accommodate my expectations to a non-wilderness experience and atmosphere, how to find accommodations, how to plan meals, how to NOT carry too much for a Camino, and a thousand other things - - not to mention language, history, day-to-day interactions -- that make the Camino a pilgrimage and not a backpacking hike.

Backpackers, who stubbornly insist on using the 'filter' of a wilderness experience as a comparative analogy to their Camino experience are wantonly obtuse and ignorant. That is similar to a person who is prefers train travel complaining that traveling by plane is not the same.

Tapon was trying to make a point, and failed. Adventure and adrenaline junkies trying to fit Camino into their view of how recreation should be, are also failures. I pity Tapon and Adventurists, NOT because of their choices, but because they are incapable of appreciating the differences and uniqueness of each experience.

If all I want to do is to go on a long hike, I would not travel to Spain, etc to walk a Camino, I would head out to my mountains in America. But if a long walk is part of MY pilgrimage experience. . . walking from town to town and village to village. . . I am happy for that unique experience, both physically and spiritually.
 

Davie Blisters

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
I think our very own @Sara_Dhooma would be a perfect person to help provide insight, as she seems to transition effortlessly between thru-hikes and caminos. But I think she is headed off on a new adventure now and probably won’t be back here till she is ready to start another camino.

Ahh.......you may not have to wait much longer as I believe @Sara_Dhooma was due into Spain today!
If I was a betting man I'd say Valencia or something more southerly :p
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
From Tapon's post in the thread mentioned above: ""Hike the Pyrenees instead. Forget El Camino. Do the Pyrenees. It's far more challenging, but far more rewarding. I adored the Pyrenees." If I simply wanted a challenging or beautiful walk I might well agree. But the most important feature of a pilgrimage route must surely be where it leads you - a point that Tapon does not seem to find of any real value.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
I have no idea why adventure snobs hate the camino.... Maybe it is just too late at night, but I don't actually get the point of the article. I might be more naive than I had thought, but apart from never having met any adventure snobs, I actually don’t care if they do exist. As is often said here in this little island country, pity about them...especially when we have other things to pay attention to. Such as fires in Australia, daily tragedies in any person’s life, joy in new life. Hmm. Maybe I do care...
Please forgive me if my reply is off the point. It is the extravert part of me that is putting its head above the parapet!
 

Sara_Dhooma

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances/Muxia (14), Portuguese (15), Le Puy (17), Norte (17), Ingles (17), VDLP (18), Lana (18)+more
Hi guys!

I arrived in Spain this afternoon and had a very long train ride. I’m discombobulated from jet lag so thought I’d peruse the forum.

This topic is really interesting! I love long-distance walking and seeing the world slowly.

Backcountry trekking involves more physical and logistical challenges. There is a steeper learning curve and more risks involved. I get a huge sense of accomplishment when self-sufficiently traversing remote stunning landscapes. I’ve spend many lovely evenings in the mountains alone with my tent perched at the edge at a gorgeous sunset look-out.

I’m drawn to the Camino for different reasons. I love the pilgrim rituals of collecting stamps, sharing meals in albergues with new friends, and following the yellow arrows. As a history major, the heritage of the route is fascinating. I equally enjoy passing though big cities with huge cathedrals, and charming hamlets with more cows than villagers. The spirit of the Camino is difficult to describe - it exists no where else.

I often joke that the Camino is my vacation from wilderness hiking. Many days are *easier* than on a thruhike, but I definitely would not categorize it as a ‘piece of cake’. In fact, I know some accomplished thruhikers that got MORE injured on the Camino than in the wilderness. Repetitive walking on hard, flat surfaces can do serious damage to the body - plus the blisters!

I am an ambassador for a lightweight backpacking gear company. My next article for their newsletter will be about the Camino de Santiago. I am very curious how it will be received by the backpacking community.

So basically.... my heart belongs on the Camino, and my soul belongs in the wilderness. And my mind? My mind is usually on bridges & beers. 😋

I better get some sleep.... I start another Camino in the morning!!! Don’t want to be looking rough in the video. 😉
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I like long pilgrim walks: I need the time and the space to listen, and to learn. I like medium length mountain walks: initially I walked for about fifteen days, currently usually not more than about ten days, so that I can carry what I need in gear and food and not have to leave the trail until I am finished. Pilgrim walks are, for me, religious, and back-country mountain walks spiritual, they have some things in common: for example, the lengthy periods walking alone outside. Over the years, I have read a number of books by those who walk the longer trails. I have learned something about gear and survival skills from those books. But, in the main, I have not been drawn to walk them, because they are too communal: the necessity of re-provisioning bringing people together in places which are no longer back-country. I like walking in Banff and Jasper National Parks and the neighbouring parks in part because, except in specific areas, I can safely expect to meet no one on the trails more than two days' walk from the nearest road. I do not see that I need to choose between the two, except inasmuch as camino walks, while longer, may come to be easier in my later years, with less gear to carry.
 

Davie Blisters

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
Hi guys!

I arrived in Spain this afternoon and had a very long train ride. I’m discombobulated from jet lag so thought I’d peruse the forum.
…..……………………..
So, its got to be Camino Levante from Valencia ???? ;)

I'm planning this for 2021...…….Levante to Ponferrada, then to Santiago via Inveirno.
I need to know that the beer is drinkable and the bridges are danceable :D

Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances SJPP / 2014 Camino Portugues / 2015 Camino Ingles / 2015 Hospitalero Training
2016 (fall) Camino Sanabre / Hospitalero?
Amusing. These things often come up.
Why do they hate it?

  1. Because it's NOT an Adventure.
  2. It's NOT a Thru Hike
  3. It's NOT a nail biting challenge.
  4. It's NOT a 'unique' experience undertaken by a 'select' few.
It's a Pilgrimage.
Undertaken by hundreds of thousands every year.
Most 'searching' for something, that has little to do with 'adventure'
But has 'everything' to do with living...

Adventurers?

Move along now, nothing for you here....... Absolutely................nothing........
The same critics might list preferences like Tours, Cruises, Disneyland, Skydiving, cliff jumping etc. Please leave the Camino de Santiago off the list.
 

Rod Murray

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2016) Portuguese Coastal (Sept 2019)
I think our very own @Sara_Dhooma would be a perfect person to help provide insight, as she seems to transition effortlessly between thru-hikes and caminos. But I think she is headed off on a new adventure now and probably won’t be back here till she is ready to start another camino.

IMO, the more the camino-reality news spreads among the “adventure community”, the fewer disappointed thru-hikers there will be, so spreading this message is a public service. :)
Having just watched Sarah’s and Dixie’s recent Camino videos, both well known as through-hikers, there will be many of those in the Through Hike community who will want to experience the Camino.

Dixie’s recent experiences on the CF really shows how a through-hike expert compares the two experiences. It was insightful watching a US backpacking expert see the world in new ways as this was her first ever time outside North America.

Sarah‘s channel - https://www.youtube.com/user/saradhooma

Dixie’s channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQhqmV26773qZhzqJz4VFcw
 

Gilles

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Many caminos since 2009 !
Agreed 100% ! I walk on camiños every time for around 2500 kms and every day around 40 kms. For example in the middle of february I start in Sevilla to walk back home at Rocamadour via Santiago.
Imho it depends only the way you choose to go your Way !
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
I would tend to argue that the Camino is an adventure, just not an adventure in the sense of a physical challenge (like hardened backpackers like to pit themselves against). Webster (definition 2) defines an adventure as "an exciting or remarkable experience " . That definitely can be the Camino.

I used to backpack but find now that I just can't for both physical and mental reasons, but I find the Caminos very challenging and adventurous in their own way.

Part of our human nature reverts to the animal side which knows danger and appreciates the ability to cheat death in the cycle of life.

The other part of our human nature which evolved later was the ability to appreciate and idea or concept. Those can be just as adventurous, challenging, and even dangerous (think revolutionary thought) but aren't considered so by most people.

Only you can define what you think is an adventure.
 

Mr Magoo

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pilegrimsleden ( 2016).
Camino Primitivo ( 2017).
To bring both outlooks together I would suggest the Norwegian "Pilegrimsleden" pligrimage route. For those who want to combine sections of wilderness hiking along with "Camino" style shops/villages, and albergue style accommodation- (if you can afford it,otherwise you're free to camp on waste ground).
 

mikebet

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Pamplona (2016); Baiona to Santiago (2018); Sarria to Santiago (2018)
"The other spent much of his time recounting his WCT adventures and how the del Norte was not the west coast trail-- he was disappointed that I had not done the Vancouver Island Trail and perplexed when I told him that I cancelled all thought of it when I found out that there were no cafes with a menu de dia there. He seemed to think that I was joking."

Actually there is one snack bar with burgers and beer along the West Coast Trail. It's run by First Nations people, since it's on their land. I can't give a review because we didn't stop there, but I can see why it would be a welcome sight.

As for the other topic it seems really strange to contrast "adventure" hikes with the Camino since enjoying one type of experience doesn't rule out the other. I have done inter alia the West Coast Trail, the Inca Trail, and the infamous Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea (the latter two without guides back in the day when it was REALLY an adventure) and I can honestly say that my Camino experiences compare very favorably in terms of both enjoyment and personal satisfaction.
 

Anthony Rocco

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Ignaciano, Aragones, Arle, Tolosana, Salvador, Primitivo, Madrid, Olvidado/Invierno (2020)
Amusing. These things often come up.
Why do they hate it?

  1. Because it's NOT an Adventure.
  2. It's NOT a Thru Hike
  3. It's NOT a nail biting challenge.
  4. It's NOT a 'unique' experience undertaken by a 'select' few.
It's a Pilgrimage.
Undertaken by hundreds of thousands every year.
Most 'searching' for something, that has little to do with 'adventure'
But has 'everything' to do with living...

Adventurers?

Move along now, nothing for you here....... Absolutely................nothing........
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! You have said it so well. If you want an "adventure," ride the rapids on the Colorado in Spring, or climb 14K foot peaks, or sail down the Amazon. A pilgrimage is a very human experience. Some call it spiritual or religious, and it may be for them. For all of us, regardless of our motivations when we take our first step, it is a very human experience that humankind has embarked on since pre-history. I truly feel there is something in our DNA that beckons us to pilgrimages. Despite my many adventures, none left the deep mark on my soul, my character, my personality, my relationship with others and my own appreciation and understanding of all this that a pilgrimage of some length and challenge will (not may...will do).
 

vasque

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France September 2012
Planning return August 2017 - injured after 4 days
Amusing. These things often come up.
Why do they hate it?

  1. Because it's NOT an Adventure.
  2. It's NOT a Thru Hike
  3. It's NOT a nail biting challenge.
  4. It's NOT a 'unique' experience undertaken by a 'select' few.
It's a Pilgrimage.
Undertaken by hundreds of thousands every year.
Most 'searching' for something, that has little to do with 'adventure'
But has 'everything' to do with living...

Adventurers?

Move along now, nothing for you here....... Absolutely................nothing........
It is what you want it to be. Stop judging.
 

J Byrd

Artist, Filmmaker, and walking Nomad
Camino(s) past & future
France 2018 Fall
Portugal 2020 Spring
For years now one of the first results which Google gives if you search for "Camino de Santiago" is an article by Francis Tapon entitled "10 Reasons Why El Camino Santiago Sucks". It is still in the top 20 Google results. Tapon's argument is basically (1) I like wilderness trails and (2) the Camino is not a wilderness trail and therefore (3) the Camino sucks. A very strange piece of reasoning. An analogy: (a) I like bananas. (b) Beer is not made from bananas - except possibly in Belgium where normal rules do not apply. (c) Therefore I cannot enjoy beer. Why force an artificial comparison between two very different types of experience?
People write these kind of articles and blogs for one reason. "Click bate" - and to get people to go to their site. It's really too bad.
 

ashmarimac

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances - Sarria to Santiago (2012)
Portugues - Valenca to Santiago (2019)
Amusing. These things often come up.
Why do they hate it?

  1. Because it's NOT an Adventure.
  2. It's NOT a Thru Hike
  3. It's NOT a nail biting challenge.
  4. It's NOT a 'unique' experience undertaken by a 'select' few.
It's a Pilgrimage.
Undertaken by hundreds of thousands every year.
Most 'searching' for something, that has little to do with 'adventure'
But has 'everything' to do with living...

Adventurers?

Move along now, nothing for you here....... Absolutely................nothing........
I work for an adventure tour operator in our sales department and get to talk about a whole slew of trips and treks on a daily basis.

For me, the Camino will ALWAYS be an adventure. It's by far one of my favourite topics to discuss and share with others. In fact, I'm
Amusing. These things often come up.
Why do they hate it?

  1. Because it's NOT an Adventure.
  2. It's NOT a Thru Hike
  3. It's NOT a nail biting challenge.
  4. It's NOT a 'unique' experience undertaken by a 'select' few.
It's a Pilgrimage.
Undertaken by hundreds of thousands every year.
Most 'searching' for something, that has little to do with 'adventure'
But has 'everything' to do with living...

Adventurers?

Move along now, nothing for you here....... Absolutely................nothing........

I work for an adventure tour operator in our sales department and get to talk about a whole slew of trips and treks on a daily basis.

However, the Camino will ALWAYS be an adventure for me. It's by far one of my favourite topics to discuss and share with others. In fact, I'm doing a travel talk about it in March.

The Camino should not be defined, nor should anyone try to determine its definition or purpose for others. It's simply an experience. You may not be climbing to the top of a mountain or have to worry about bears or other wild things like on the AT, but it's still an adventure.

An adventure is a personal thing. Who cares what others may think.
 
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
Yes, there is a snack bar or cafe-- a German friend of mine was on the trail two years ago (she had invited me to accompany her, but a friend had done the trail previously and had warned me that some stretches would be beyond my capacities) and stopped there and quite enjoyed it. However, the woman who ran it has since died, rating a half-page obituary in the Globe and Mail, and I have not heard of its fate since. Perhaps a Forum member can update us?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances,(Sarria to Santiago) 2016, 2017 April, SJPdP TO Logrono, Sept.-Oct. Logrono to Sarria

Moorwalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
The Saint's Way, Cornwall
Speaking as a lifelong adventurer, we don't. Putting "adventurers" all into one stereotypical box is as silly as putting all "pilgrims" into one box. I don't suppose that all pilgrims would enjoy the sort of wild walking that I and others enjoy either. Each to their own, or in more biblical words, to every thing there is a time and a purpose under heaven.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
While at the cafe in Foncebadon, I meet a guy that had done a thru hike on the AT, he said without a doubt, if you can do the Camino de Santiago, Frances, you could do the AT,
Sorry, but while that guy doesn't have any doubts I do. I've seen plenty of posts here about people just doing the CF but it isn't likely to be done on the Appalachian Trail. It is tough. Research before trying.
 

TaraWalks

Peregrina without a skateboard
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016 & 2018, planning for Le Puy 2019/2020ish and for some shorter Caminos stacked
Hi guys!

I arrived in Spain this afternoon and had a very long train ride. I’m discombobulated from jet lag so thought I’d peruse the forum.

This topic is really interesting! I love long-distance walking and seeing the world slowly.

Backcountry trekking involves more physical and logistical challenges. There is a steeper learning curve and more risks involved. I get a huge sense of accomplishment when self-sufficiently traversing remote stunning landscapes. I’ve spend many lovely evenings in the mountains alone with my tent perched at the edge at a gorgeous sunset look-out.

I’m drawn to the Camino for different reasons. I love the pilgrim rituals of collecting stamps, sharing meals in albergues with new friends, and following the yellow arrows. As a history major, the heritage of the route is fascinating. I equally enjoy passing though big cities with huge cathedrals, and charming hamlets with more cows than villagers. The spirit of the Camino is difficult to describe - it exists no where else.

I often joke that the Camino is my vacation from wilderness hiking. Many days are *easier* than on a thruhike, but I definitely would not categorize it as a ‘piece of cake’. In fact, I know some accomplished thruhikers that got MORE injured on the Camino than in the wilderness. Repetitive walking on hard, flat surfaces can do serious damage to the body - plus the blisters!

I am an ambassador for a lightweight backpacking gear company. My next article for their newsletter will be about the Camino de Santiago. I am very curious how it will be received by the backpacking community.

So basically.... my heart belongs on the Camino, and my soul belongs in the wilderness. And my mind? My mind is usually on bridges & beers. 😋

I better get some sleep.... I start another Camino in the morning!!! Don’t want to be looking rough in the video. 😉
So glad you’re back for more! I love your videos because you’re bottled sunshine and make friends so easily. You’re welcome to spend some time in our spare room at Bondi Beach after your Bibbulmum track adventure for a rest if you need. PM me when the time comes 🙂
 
Camino(s) past & future
Walked CF September/October 2015; Scheduled to walk April/May 2020
An analogy: (a) I like bananas. (b) Beer is not made from bananas - except possibly in Belgium where normal rules do not apply. (c) Therefore I cannot enjoy beer.

This analogy is absolutely perfect. I have been frustrated for a long time that Tapon’s article is still getting so much traction. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and certainly the Camino isn’t for everyone, but you can’t expect something to be something that it’s not and then blame that thing for not fitting your faulty expectations.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Having just watched Sarah’s and Dixie’s recent Camino videos, both well known as through-hikers, there will be many of those in the Through Hike community who will want to experience the Camino.

Dixie’s recent experiences on the CF really shows how a through-hike expert compares the two experiences. It was insightful watching a US backpacking expert see the world in new ways as this was her first ever time outside North America.

Sarah‘s channel - https://www.youtube.com/user/saradhooma

Dixie’s channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQhqmV26773qZhzqJz4VFcw
Dixie also did a follow-up video to her recent Camino vlogs where she compares walking a Camino to through hiking the Appalachian Trail that people on this thread might find interesting.


BTW: my mind boggled when I saw how many subscribers she has.
 

Rod Murray

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2016) Portuguese Coastal (Sept 2019)
Having just watched Sarah’s and Dixie’s recent Camino videos, both well known as through-hikers, there will be many of those in the Through Hike community who will want to experience the Camino.

Dixie’s recent experiences on the CF really shows how a through-hike expert compares the two experiences. It was insightful watching a US backpacking expert see the world in new ways as this was her first ever time outside North America.

Sarah‘s channel - https://www.youtube.com/user/saradhooma

Dixie’s channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQhqmV26773qZhzqJz4VFcw
Ha Ha! I did not scroll through all the replies to the initial post, obviously, before writing mine. Otherwise I would have noticed that Sarah Dhooma replied just a few minutes before I did, with her wonderful insights! Hopefull, Dixie will chime in too, beyond her Vlog which does address some of this.
 

cbacino

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte - Primitivo (2018)
Via Francigena (2017)
Appalachian Trail (2016)
Amusing. These things often come up.
Why do they hate it?

  1. Because it's NOT an Adventure.
  2. It's NOT a Thru Hike
  3. It's NOT a nail biting challenge.
  4. It's NOT a 'unique' experience undertaken by a 'select' few.
It's a Pilgrimage.
Undertaken by hundreds of thousands every year.
Most 'searching' for something, that has little to do with 'adventure'
But has 'everything' to do with living...

Adventurers?

Move along now, nothing for you here 'Adventurer'....... Absolutely................nothing........
1. It is an adventure. Try speaking Spanish, French, or Italian with the locals or fellow walkers. You might learn something.
2. It is a thru-hike. Start at the beginning and stop at the end, Santiago (or Fisterra). My Camino was 1000 miles.
3. Nail biting is déclassé, but if you must, walk the Hospitales on the Primitivo in the fog, wind, cold, no others seen, and signs warning about bears.
4. Is anything unique?
I’ve thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, Via Francigena, and Norte-Primitivo. All were good.
 

anthikes

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 SJPdP > SdC
2018 Porto > SdC
2019 Sevilla > SdC
Dixie also did a follow-up video to her recent Camino vlogs where she compares walking a Camino to through hiking the Appalachian Trail that people on this thread might find interesting.


BTW: my mind boggled when I saw how many subscribers she has.
Not sure why the mind boggles? Her videos are absolutely awesome and very informative too. She will have inspired 1000s of people to get off their backside and go hike somewhere. Inspirational person and deserving of all the income she generates - and she will be making a fair bit!

I think the snobbery cuts both ways. There seems to be a lot of camino devotees who get snooty about people that choose to camp, or the backpacking/camping style of hiking in the wilderness.

I love the caminos because of the albergues and comfort they provide. I also love wilderness hikes because sleeping under the stars is just the best thing!

We are comparing apples and oranges here. Best advice is to HYOH (hike your own hike) and be respectful of others and their hiking styles.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Dixie also did a follow-up video to her recent Camino vlogs where she compares walking a Camino to through hiking the Appalachian Trail that people on this thread might find interesting.
Thanks for posting this. Worth watching. Dixie explains the same thing as Francis Tapon does but in a slightly different way than he does in his blog article that was commented on for the first time on 17 January 2010 on this forum. Its ten years anniversary is coming up! Would many care about what he said if he hadn't chosen the words "Why the Camino sucks" for the title? Or if the other writer hadn't used the words "Adventure snobs"? I have a strong suspicion that it's these words that trigger reactions and not the actual content.

A few interesting aspects in Dixie's video:
  • She is surprised about the animosity on both sides (wilderness trail vs camino). Both sides turn their noses up on each other.
  • She talks about the great freedom of being able to stop wherever you want - which you have on the wilderness trails but not on the Camino.
  • Camino is not a nature experience, it's a trail with a little bit of nature sprinkled into it.
Mentioning such differences that you notice based on your experience and life background is not criticism. It helps other people to be clearer about "what kind of experience" they want to have.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
For years now one of the first results which Google gives if you search for "Camino de Santiago" is an article by Francis Tapon entitled "10 Reasons Why El Camino Santiago Sucks". It is still in the top 20 Google results.
Yes, that's surprising. The readers of this forum must have contributed their fair share to its perpetual popularity 🤭.

I paid a visit to Francis Tapon's website just now and noticed that it says that Why El Camino sucks" is the most popular article on his website, read by 2.5 million people (!) during the decade (!) since it was first posted, followed by a debate on Climate Change and on How to Afford to Travel. Next are How do you get Sponsors, Where is Eastern Europe and then Defending America. So that's what people are interested in or what gets them riled up on websites and online forums about travelling and hiking ...
 
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Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I paid a visit to Francis Tapon's website just now and noticed that it says that Why El Camino sucks" is the most popular article on his website, read by 2.5 million people (!),
"most popular"? English can be quite ambiguous at times: I am assuming you meant 'most frequently viewed' rather than 'most favourably received' :cool: Though given Tapon's target audience it might well be both
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Not sure why the mind boggles? Her videos are absolutely awesome and very informative too. She will have inspired 1000s of people to get off their backside and go hike somewhere. Inspirational person and deserving of all the income she generates - and she will be making a fair bit!
The mind boggles because I am used to following people like Sarah on YouTube, or the Worldtowning family who were so ecstatic to reach 10,000 followers. Dixie's following is orders of magnitude larger. I'm not saying her content isn't good, just that I had never seen anything remotely close to that kind of following for this kind of content. It wasn't meant to cast aspersions on the quality of her videos. If I didn't like them, I wouldn't have shared one.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015, 2017, 2019) and plans for 2020 (Sept, Oct)
Not better, just different. A work colleague of mine was walking the App Trail in stages. He said that after hiking for several days each hiker develops a smell that is horrendous stench. I love the fact that hiking the camino you can take daily showers, don’t need to carry camping equipment or food and can sleep each night in a bed. This appeals to a different audience than through hikers of other longer trails. Bob
 

RRat

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning 2017
Not better, just different. A work colleague of mine was walking the App Trail in stages. He said that after hiking for several days each hiker develops a smell that is horrendous stench. I love the fact that hiking the camino you can take daily showers, don’t need to carry camping equipment or food and can sleep each night in a bed. This appeals to a different audience than through hikers of other longer trails. Bob
During those showere could you ever figure out which was hot and witch was cold. I never could.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Not better, just different. A work colleague of mine was walking the App Trail in stages. He said that after hiking for several days each hiker develops a smell that is horrendous stench.
That was the Camino too in the early 90s ...
 

Stefystar

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from sarria 2015
Via Francigena Aquapendente to Rome 2016
Camino Portuguese from TuI 2016
Hi everyone,
This thread has really got us talking!!!
I had never walked long distance before 2015
I had no gear not experience
I just lost my mum and it was so hard i cried every night.
One evening looking for answers to heal my sorrow
I opened a book I bought few months before
" the 100 most sacred places in the world"
I just opened the book at will.. Santiago De compostela page...I read on just something to take my mind off.
Next evening. Switched on the telly.
The film the Way was on ..I watched with owe.
Coincidences?
Next day logged on and by now, curious about Santiago..
So I did read the Francis Tapon as well as all the others....

You know what? It only made me more determined !!as the days passed by the courage of actually considering to do it
Was growing.
Allow this Tapon guy today what he want to say...
I am a pilgrim ,(4 Camino's on), he is not ..
his journeys still has not tought him the lesson life teaches you...
You need to be ready to listen and he just like people to listen to him.
How did I decide to actually go for my first?
Faith..the Camino called me.. I stood up and I went. I found Francis Tapon irriverent on playing down the extraordinary effort of
ordinary people in taking the way.
I wish for the Francis Tapon out there to get one day , where we are.. everyone has their
Experiences to treasure ...
Long live the Camino ! Ultreia
 

cbacino

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte - Primitivo (2018)
Via Francigena (2017)
Appalachian Trail (2016)
While at the cafe in Foncebadon, I meet a guy that had done a thru hike on the AT, he said without a doubt, if you can do the Camino de Santiago, Frances, you could do the AT,
I've done both. No comparison. The AT will chew up and spit out the average Camino pilgrim.
 

Stefystar

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from sarria 2015
Via Francigena Aquapendente to Rome 2016
Camino Portuguese from TuI 2016
to
I've done both. No comparison. The AT will chew up and spit out the average Camino pilgrim.
Hi cbacino

I am glad that as a pilgrim I do not view the Camino as a race nor look at the difficulties as purely endurance test...
I have respect for walkers that do tough trails,
So curious though, if you had to compare how did each enrich or change your life?🤔
 

cbacino

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte - Primitivo (2018)
Via Francigena (2017)
Appalachian Trail (2016)
Hi cbacino

I am glad that as a pilgrim I do not view the Camino as a race nor look at the difficulties as purely endurance test...
I have respect for walkers that do tough trails,
So curious though, if you had to compare how did each enrich or change your life?🤔
No bravado or bragging about the AT, just stating that it's a difficult hike, especially in New England, not to be taken lightly. Only 20% who begin the hike complete it. It's not a race, but there are seasonal limitations (snow and cold) on both ends. It's not an endurance test, but there are episodes of challenge: a month of rain, drought, physical ailments, and mountains. The entire hike (2280 miles) traverses the Appalachian Mountains; one constantly climbs and descends. Like walking from New York City to Las Vegas and climbing Mount Everest 18 times, sea level to top.

You need to be more resourceful on the AT and on the Via Francigena (especially in France) than on the Camino. Hostels can be few and far in between on the AT and VF. Wildland camping is prohibited in Europe, except Scotland and Norway, which can be problematic especially at the end of the day with no place to sleep. Few people speak English in rural France and Italy. If you need something, like a place to sleep, you usually need to communicate in their language or camp on the sly. In France people were so open and generous, taking me into their home to eat or sleep. Evening conversations were lively and informative.

None of the hikes changed my life; I'm late 60s, so that ship has sailed. The long hikes do, however, let me see and experience places and people in depth, otherwise not possible traveling conventional ways. I do feel gratified being able to use skills acquired during my life: foreign languages, physical fitness, flexibility (mental and physical), resourcefulness. These long trips I like to think of as my senior projects. I hike alone, but occasionally hiked with someone on the AT. On the Via Francigena, I met my first hikers since the start in Canterbury on the day before I entered Italy, after hiking 700 miles.

I hiked the Norte-Primitivo in 2018 and enjoyed it. The infrastructure for hikers is awesome: no worries about food, water, or a bed. I will hike another Camino in the future, but would like something different next, so in February I head to Israel to hike from the northern to southern border. Hope this explains my statement and answers your questions.
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Bill Bryson hiked some of it, maybe 25%.
I realise that. In fact having been reminded of the book I have been listening to it as an audiobook today :) I have never walked in areas quite as remote as the AT but I have been a backpacker in the Scottish Highlands, Australia, Japan, and in Sweden and Norway. Including camping in a Swedish forest alleged to have the greatest density of bears in Europe! My only visit to the USA was slightly less than one week long and memorable for two encounters on consecutive days in a forest in Montana: some large unidentified animal prowling around my tent breaking twigs and breathing heavily at 2am, and four members of a paramilitary militia group with automatic rifles blocking the gravel road I had taken by accident and making sure I turned around and left the area quickly. Taken together they were enough to knock forest walks in the USA a few places down my "to-do" list :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
No bravado or bragging about the AT, just stating that it's a difficult hike, especially in New England, not to be taken lightly.
I would like to write lots about this but since one picture is worth a thousand words I'm inviting you to view this one hour video of hiking the AT in New Hampshire made by a through hiker. For some reason he is missing the last few days, including Mahoosic Notch, considered the toughest mile of the trail.
 

Stefystar

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from sarria 2015
Via Francigena Aquapendente to Rome 2016
Camino Portuguese from TuI 2016
No bravado or bragging about the AT, just stating that it's a difficult hike, especially in New England, not to be taken lightly. Only 20% who begin the hike complete it. It's not a race, but there are seasonal limitations (snow and cold) on both ends. It's not an endurance test, but there are episodes of challenge: a month of rain, drought, physical ailments, and mountains. The entire hike (2280 miles) traverses the Appalachian Mountains; one constantly climbs and descends. Like walking from New York City to Las Vegas and climbing Mount Everest 18 times, sea level to top.

You need to be more resourceful on the AT and on the Via Francigena (especially in France) than on the Camino. Hostels can be few and far in between on the AT and VF. Wildland camping is prohibited in Europe, except Scotland and Norway, which can be problematic especially at the end of the day with no place to sleep. Few people speak English in rural France and Italy. If you need something, like a place to sleep, you usually need to communicate in their language or camp on the sly. In France people were so open and generous, taking me into their home to eat or sleep. Evening conversations were lively and informative.

None of the hikes changed my life; I'm late 60s, so that ship has sailed. The long hikes do, however, let me see and experience places and people in depth, otherwise not possible traveling conventional ways. I do feel gratified being able to use skills acquired during my life: foreign languages, physical fitness, flexibility (mental and physical), resourcefulness. These long trips I like to think of as my senior projects. I hike alone, but occasionally hiked with someone on the AT. On the Via Francigena, I met my first hikers since the start in Canterbury on the day before I entered Italy, after hiking 700 miles.

I hiked the Norte-Primitivo in 2018 and enjoyed it. The infrastructure for hikers is awesome: no worries about food, water, or a bed. I will hike another Camino in the future, but would like something different next, so in February I head to Israel to hike from the northern to southern border. Hope this explains my statement and answers your questions.
Hi cbacino,
Thank you for your eloquent explanation.
In a way all of your journeys fulfill your own life journey!!! They all have a purpose..it is your own Camino..
Well, pilgrim or not I believe they do leave you with memories you treasure.
And on my part, I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.
may the force be with you 👍
Buen Camino😉
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
None of the hikes changed my life; I'm late 60s, so that ship has sailed. The long hikes do, however, let me see and experience places and people in depth, otherwise not possible traveling conventional ways. I do feel gratified being able to use skills acquired during my life: foreign languages, physical fitness, flexibility (mental and physical), resourcefulness.
I really like this description. It applies to me as well.
 

cbacino

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte - Primitivo (2018)
Via Francigena (2017)
Appalachian Trail (2016)
I realise that. In fact having been reminded of the book I have been listening to it as an audiobook today :) I have never walked in areas quite as remote as the AT but I have been a backpacker in the Scottish Highlands, Australia, Japan, and in Sweden and Norway. Including camping in a Swedish forest alleged to have the greatest density of bears in Europe! My only visit to the USA was slightly less than one week long and memorable for two encounters on consecutive days in a forest in Montana: some large unidentified animal prowling around my tent breaking twigs and breathing heavily at 2am, and four members of a paramilitary militia group with automatic rifles blocking the gravel road I had taken by accident and making sure I turned around and left the area quickly. Taken together they were enough to knock forest walks in the USA a few places down my "to-do" list :)
Welcome to life in Montana: guns and bears. I too have had my run-ins with both.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF last 150 to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
Hi guys!

I arrived in Spain this afternoon and had a very long train ride. I’m discombobulated from jet lag so thought I’d peruse the forum.

This topic is really interesting! I love long-distance walking and seeing the world slowly.

Backcountry trekking involves more physical and logistical challenges. There is a steeper learning curve and more risks involved. I get a huge sense of accomplishment when self-sufficiently traversing remote stunning landscapes. I’ve spend many lovely evenings in the mountains alone with my tent perched at the edge at a gorgeous sunset look-out.

I’m drawn to the Camino for different reasons. I love the pilgrim rituals of collecting stamps, sharing meals in albergues with new friends, and following the yellow arrows. As a history major, the heritage of the route is fascinating. I equally enjoy passing though big cities with huge cathedrals, and charming hamlets with more cows than villagers. The spirit of the Camino is difficult to describe - it exists no where else.

I often joke that the Camino is my vacation from wilderness hiking. Many days are *easier* than on a thruhike, but I definitely would not categorize it as a ‘piece of cake’. In fact, I know some accomplished thruhikers that got MORE injured on the Camino than in the wilderness. Repetitive walking on hard, flat surfaces can do serious damage to the body - plus the blisters!

I am an ambassador for a lightweight backpacking gear company. My next article for their newsletter will be about the Camino de Santiago. I am very curious how it will be received by the backpacking community.

So basically.... my heart belongs on the Camino, and my soul belongs in the wilderness. And my mind? My mind is usually on bridges & beers. 😋

I better get some sleep.... I start another Camino in the morning!!! Don’t want to be looking rough in the video. 😉
@Sara_Dhooma ..........please don't make the Camino sounds too appealing, the crowds are big enough already ;);)
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF last 150 to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
Dixie also did a follow-up video to her recent Camino vlogs where she compares walking a Camino to through hiking the Appalachian Trail that people on this thread might find interesting.


BTW: my mind boggled when I saw how many subscribers she has.
She provides a very balanced view I think.
Though as she says, she wasn't there for a Spiritual experience. A pity.
That for me at least is 70-80% of the 'point'.
But not for everyone of course.

But a very objective view. Good video!
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
You need to be more resourceful on the AT and on the Via Francigena (especially in France) than on the Camino.
The Francigena and the Camino, and the Way to Jerusalem, are one and the same.

Most American thru-hikers quite frankly have not the slightest idea of what the "real" Camino is like, outside of the kindly and very beautiful short versions of it that most people follow outside of the more stark non-waymarked DIY routes without safety nets nor even just one single other pilgrim.

I walked in 1994 from Paris to Compostela along a route lacking any major physical difficulty whatsoever, but that was 1000K entirely alone 'til I reached SJPP and finally came across some other pilgrims for the final 800.

Not until about 15 years later did I ever meet anyone else who had walked the Paris Way.

I walked through some villages where they had not seen a Pilgrim in 40 years. In this, I will never forget the simple country Catholic kindness of that lovely and lonely old lady who offered me a simple, small omelette in her hamlet home with a glass of tap water -- it is hands down the best meal I have ever eaten on the Way to Compostela.

The Camino is centred in Humility, not in Hiking.
 

Hansel

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances and Fisterre (2018,08) ,Camino Primitivo, and Fisterre,(2019,04)
Not sure why the mind boggles? Her videos are absolutely awesome and very informative too. She will have inspired 1000s of people to get off their backside and go hike somewhere. Inspirational person and deserving of all the income she generates - and she will be making a fair bit!

I think the snobbery cuts both ways. There seems to be a lot of camino devotees who get snooty about people that choose to camp, or the backpacking/camping style of hiking in the wilderness.

I love the caminos because of the albergues and comfort they provide. I also love wilderness hikes because sleeping under the stars is just the best thing!

We are comparing apples and oranges here. Best advice is to HYOH (hike your own hike) and be respectful of others and their hiking styles.
HYOH, love it, no one will know what I'm talking about, YOLO was good, but HYOH is better, as I found out it's your camino, and it is way harder than I imagined,
Now deciding on cycling or walking a camino, new thread !!
Bill
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
My Camino experience is limited (twice on the Frances bike/walk). But I have yet to find someone, fellow pilgrim etc, who actually describes/defines any of the Caminos as "Adventures" in the true (wild country) sense of the word. Yes I and most pilgrims do define the Camino as a "personal adventure", an accomplishment for a number of reasons including religious and spiritual and health. So to conclude - as the saying goes please do not attempt to compare apples with organes.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I would like to write lots about this but since one picture is worth a thousand words I'm inviting you to view this one hour video of hiking the AT in New Hampshire made by a through hiker. For some reason he is missing the last few days, including Mahoosic Notch, considered the toughest mile of the trail.
The Camino secondary and tertiary routes can often be a lot like that, at least hiking-wise, in France especially, but also in Catalonia, certain secondary and tertiary Catalonian Ways that is -- the main difference being that the Camino routes usually avoid the summits, and usually do not deliberately seek to go into the mountain ranges. But most of the video shows about a normal difficulty on the hiking trails 'round where I live, and a few of the local pilgrims here do actively seek that exact sort of mountain hiking experience.

Though as a direct comparison, the most difficult sections shown in this video are a deal more difficult than the "historic" Camino mountain crossing from my place up the mountain and then down into Nice, both variants of this I've done so far (one through the city, the other fairly tightly around the city in the mountain directly above it) ; but the waymarked GR Camino trail here, and its route around Nice, does spend much more time than that in the mountains, and some parts of that are actually pretty tough.

The geography of the Camino is very similar to this where I live, and for a long distance in each direction, whether towards Santiago or Rome (though Rome-wards it's possible to just follow the coast on tarmac instead ; not practical at all in the other direction). The mountains right here are actually far more stark, closer to what one would expect on the PCT rather than the Appalachian. But rather than going summit to summit, the Camino here usually takes lower routes snaking along on the edge of the crests and through valleys and passes. OTOH, hiking above the tree-line right around here where I live is just an ordinary day's hike, nothing special (though I never much go that high myself -- and the tree-line here is a lot lower than normal).

Though sometimes the waymarking set down by the local Pilgrim Associations under the supervision of the National French Hikers Association does deliberately take you up into this sort of terrain of crests, summits, and up and down mountains, and away from the "historic" routes now tarmac'd -- when that happens, well, personally I just ditch the waymarks and make my way on the tarmac.

(must say though, that view at the 37' mark in the video & thereabouts would be spectacular even compared to the summits around here)
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I have yet to find someone, fellow pilgrim etc, who actually describes/defines any of the Caminos as "Adventures" in the true (wild country) sense of the word.
I must beg to disagree with a basic assumption hidden in what you write. You use "wild country" to describe the true sense of the word "adventure", implying that it is the only true sense of the word. In fact, it is a true sense of the word. It is quite possible to have an adventure that does not involve wild country. If you look at modern definitions of the word, you will find that it refers to any experience that is exciting and unusual (and possibly dangerous). None of these characteristics are unique to wild country.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
FWIW **this** is insane, and alien to anything on the Camino :

 

Michael-FL

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2021)
The Francigena and the Camino, and the Way to Jerusalem, are one and the same.

Most American thru-hikers quite frankly have not the slightest idea of what the "real" Camino is like, outside of the kindly and very beautiful short versions of it that most people follow outside of the more stark non-waymarked DIY routes without safety nets nor even just one single other pilgrim.

I walked in 1994 from Paris to Compostela along a route lacking any major physical difficulty whatsoever, but that was 1000K entirely alone 'til I reached SJPP and finally came across some other pilgrims for the final 800.

Not until about 15 years later did I ever meet anyone else who had walked the Paris Way.

I walked through some villages where they had not seen a Pilgrim in 40 years. In this, I will never forget the simple country Catholic kindness of that lovely and lonely old lady who offered me a simple, small omelette in her hamlet home with a glass of tap water -- it is hands down the best meal I have ever eaten on the Way to Compostela.

The Camino is centred in Humility, not in Hiking.
Beautifully written.
 

Dromengro

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Leon 1984
Frances (2020)
I didn't have any expectations as I'd done no research. But I imagined Spain to be like a spaghetti western, where the locals sat dozing under their sombreros watching donkeys, and imagined myself as Clint Eastwood, sleeping out below the stars and coming in from the barren land to restock my supplies in the sleepy villages. Well I was only 17 and a while ago.

It came as a bit of a shock to be walking along busy roads passing industrial graffitied areas and town shopping centres. I didn't then consider farmland as countryside and I remember standing on top of the pass looking down to Ronscessvales wondering where the Pyrenees where. Walking and camping the Frances I felt more like a bum living in a city park than on adventure.

I wouldn't describe myself as an adrenaline junky or an adventure seeker, but until then I'd only ever walked in the Scottish Highlands, where I was used to living alone for days or weeks at a time surrounded by nothing but rugged mountains and pathless moors, bivvying below rocks, fording rivers, scrambling along snow covered ridges, usually more than a days walk to the nearest road where the sheep like to sleep.

But I actually found the Frances more challenging and at times strangely more lonely, it wasn't until some time later that I really appreciated it and realized that I actually experienced more adventures on the Frances than in most of the wild places I'd been to. After that I started going on more "urban adventures" which can be as adventurous, sometimes a little too much so compared to in the wild.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019

Michael; Camino-addicted

Take your time to enjoy a beautiful moment
Camino(s) past & future
A few Caminos
Next plan - Camino de Baztan
Why am I loved?
I am not the smartest, not the fittest and certainly not the most beautiful man. Sometimes I can be unbearable and many men are much more charming than me. My non-existent wealth cannot be either.

But with me you can experience something, I am good for surprises and have a sense of humour. I take things as they come and try to make the best out of them without always looking at what is going badly. I like meeting new people, but I also appreciate a few hours of peace and solitude.

I am a unique combination of good and bad qualities, which sometimes come to light surprisingly.

All this obviously makes me so special to some people on this earth that they love me, no matter what others say.

The Camino is also a very unique combination of many things, which has a different focus for everyone who travels on it.

Some people like it, others prefer something else, which is not better and not worse, but simply different.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Why do couch potatoes hate the Camino de Santiago?
Who cares?
 

zrexer

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
2020 Camino Del Norte
At some point, at least for me I decided I was done with tents, dehydrated meals, single burner stoves, lack of a shower at the end of the day. So now for me, the appeal of a hot shower, bottle of wine, a decent meal and bed out weighs the appeal of a more natural backwoods hike through the wilderness.
One is not better than the other, it is just a different experience.
I always find it a little amusing that the PCT or Appalachian or West Coast trail people need to bash Camino's as being somehow inferior when it is in fact just something different.
 

zrexer

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
2020 Camino Del Norte
I didn't have any expectations as I'd done no research. But I imagined Spain to be like a spaghetti western, where the locals sat dozing under their sombreros watching donkeys, and imagined myself as Clint Eastwood, sleeping out below the stars and coming in from the barren land to restock my supplies in the sleepy villages. Well I was only 17 and a while ago.

It came as a bit of a shock to be walking along busy roads passing industrial graffitied areas and town shopping centres. I didn't then consider farmland as countryside and I remember standing on top of the pass looking down to Ronscessvales wondering where the Pyrenees where. Walking and camping the Frances I felt more like a bum living in a city park than on adventure.

I wouldn't describe myself as an adrenaline junky or an adventure seeker, but until then I'd only ever walked in the Scottish Highlands, where I was used to living alone for days or weeks at a time surrounded by nothing but rugged mountains and pathless moors, bivvying below rocks, fording rivers, scrambling along snow covered ridges, usually more than a days walk to the nearest road where the sheep like to sleep.

But I actually found the Frances more challenging and at times strangely more lonely, it wasn't until some time later that I really appreciated it and realized that I actually experienced more adventures on the Frances than in most of the wild places I'd been to. After that I started going on more "urban adventures" which can be as adventurous, sometimes a little too much so compared to in the wild.
Kind of like this? Many days upon reaching a small Spanish village during siesta time, we would refer to it as 'tumble weed time' as not a single local person was on the street.


 

backpack45

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Vezelay (2017, in progress); Primitivo & Norte; Geneva/LePuy; Arles; Portuguese; Francés + more
Why Do Adventure Snobs Hate The Camino De Santiago? I think the key word in the title is 'snobs,' not adventure. I have hiked several thousand Camino miles and several thousand miles of wilderness trails (PCT+). They have significant differences and significant similarities. One can argue over the semantics of "adventure," but ultimately it's probably a subjective decision. In my experience, backpacking the PCT is a lot more difficult than hiking any of the Camino routes, but hiking is not only a physical activity--it's also mental. I don't think drawing distinctions between various kinds of travel makes me a snob or means I don't find Camino routes sometimes enjoyable/challenging/rewarding/tiresome/gorgeous/etc.--just like other trails and travel I have done. HYOH
 

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