The headline of our local newspaper, the Beachcomber, this week was “Vashon siblings share a trek of a lifetime”. Early this year I grabbed the headlines with my own trek of a lifetime and it is now Josh and Lizzy’s turn. Josh is a good friend of our son Wiley’s, both fishermen, adventurous guys. Lizzy’s is the younger than Josh by a few years and a force in her own right.
Thursday evening the bro and sis had a talk/slide show at a local book store. Rebecca and I made sure to go. So, the talk was about their experience hiking the Pacific Crest Trail here in the western USA. This is commonly known as the PCT and generally follows the crest of the Rocky Mountains from The Mexican border to the Canadian border. Yea, 2620 miles.
Of course, my mind was busy comparing and contrasting with the Camino Frances. What struck me first was the immense physicality of the PCT. 2620 miles translates to 4216 kms of mountains and desert and forest with little or no facilities and lots of middle of nowhere beauty. I was exhausted just watching the slides and thinking this is a young person’s deal for sure.
Most people hike this from south to north to start as early as possible in the South. And generally they have to average twenty miles a day to get to the North before serious snow. Sort of has a definite serious edge to it.
Another serious part to this that we became involved with first hand was the logistics. Wiley did 750 miles of the trail with Josh and Lizzy and company and had his own provisions to worry about. Mailing packages of dried and freeze dried foods to advanced localities was the method employed. So every couple of weeks we would bring another prepacked parcel to the post office for shipment.
So, in some ways Caminoheads we had it easy. They carried the 2 liters of water like we did but also real food, stoves, cooking utensils, tents and other serious gear, heavy gear. We had albergues, cafes and churches to cater to us.
But there were serious similarities that were fun to discover and contemplate. One was the throwing off of gear and learning the blessing of simplicity. Two was the sort of unworriedness that tends to develop where the Camino will take care of me is the thought. And the best thing is the same bonding that happened to us happened to them also and maybe even more so.
It also became apparent that the PCT seemed to fit young people’s mentality and interests better than our Camino. They are the bulletproof ones who can do any thing or almost. It is glorious to have that youthfulness and the will to challenge. Our Camino seems to fit people of more years who for one reason or another have been knocked off their horse as seems to happen to every one of us and seems to be just a matter of time. Loss, divorce, sickness, death, loneliness catch up to us and we need a place to sort things out and maybe learn new ways of seeing the world and relating to it. We have our own personal burdens that we bring to the Camino that are our challenges.
Thanks, I am over 500 words. Time to go, long distance loves, Felipe.