Favorite Snacks for Hiking the Camino de Santiago

We’ve all been there. You find yourself overreacting to something that normally wouldn’t bother you. Your hiking buddies suddenly become annoying. The day’s walk seems like it will never end. Your stomach is growling, and so are you.

You’ve reached the state of being both hungry and angry, or hangry.

Hangry Girl graphic

HANGRY (noun)
A state of anger caused by a lack of food. May evoke negative change in emotional state.

This unfortunate state can happen anytime, but having low blood sugar can make or break your Camino experience. Take control of the situation by always having snacks with you. Below are are my top favorites that I have found are both easy to eat and easy to procure along the Camino de Santiago routes in Spain. Continue reading

Injury Prevention Tips for the Camino

Injury Prevention Tips for the Camino 2017

Below is a presentation by Scott Williams on injury prevention that I recorded at our NorCal Chapter’s annual pilgrim blessing ceremony on March 18, 2017. Scott “Shroomer” Williams is active in the American Long Distance Hiker Association-West and has thru-hiked the Triple Crown (Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail).

Filming Scott Williams

Filming Scott Williams presentation on injury prevention tips for the Camino

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Leave No Trace: Ethics for the Camino

Valerie Hartmann’s Camino made a big impact on her, as did a Leave No Trace training that she attended a few years ago.  Both experiences instilled a “tread lightly” mentality of stewardship toward our world.  Valerie put her thoughts into action by writing the report, “Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics for Camino de Santiago.” She recently shared it with us NorCal Chapter coordinators, and I am happy to help spread the word.  I completely agree that some people can be more respectful to the environment and fellow pilgrims. Her report is full of common sense and good tips to be a mindful pilgrim and keep the Camino litter-free. Add this reading to your pre-Camino checklist and consider treading more lightly on your next Camino.

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30 Years of Pilgrim Statistics

Every January, the Oficina de Acogida de Peregrinos (Pilgrims’ Welcome Office) in Santiago, Spain and the American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC) publish the pilgrim statistics for the previous year. Among the various data is a chart showing numbers of pilgrims receiving Compostelas for each year dating back to 1986. When I first started to learn about the Camino, I was intrigued by the dramatic spikes for some years.


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My Camino Packing List, Part 1: Apparel

During my Camino planning, I heard a few wise pilgrims say, “The lighter the pack, the better your back.” I chose to pack light not only to spare my back but also to put as little strain on my knees and feet as possible. There’s a well-known rule of thumb for pilgrims according to which the weight of your backpack should not exceed ten percent of your body weight, which means that my pack shouldn’t be heavier than 14 lb (excluding water and snacks). I carefully selected and tested all gear to cull down the list of bare essentials. You can see the result of that selection along with apparel reviews below.
Camino Provides Packing List 2016
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Backpack Review After the Camino

On my first Camino, I carried an Osprey Sirrus 24 backpack, in which everything fit fine, and there was still a little room to spare. It was only at the end of my Camino that I wished it had more capacity. On my return trip to Lisbon, where I was to catch my flight home, I had to carry the souvenirs I bought in Santiago in a separate bag. Yes, I know. I’m eating my words! Read my previous review about the said backpack being large enough. For the most part, it was perfect for my one-week Camino, but it would have been nice to be able to fit those extra items in it.

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Pre-Camino Training: Multiday Walks

Prior to my Camino, I did a lot of training hikes on the weekends. I also tried to increase the distance of my daily walks to an average of five to six miles per day. But none of this could compare to the real challenge you face when on the Camino, that is, walking twelve-plus miles per day for several consecutive days.

I took the time to smell the roses!

The week before I left for Portugal, I walked to work three days in a row. It gave me a chance to test all my Camino gear and a new pair of insoles for my boots as well as to see up close places that I don’t get to see when I commute on a highway. With the help of Google Maps, I found a safe, walkable path, which turned out to be five miles long each way—only a mile longer than my car drive to work. On those three days, I walked alongside the peaceful Lake Temescal and took the time to smell the flowers.
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Preparing for the Albergue Experience

One of the best pieces of advice I received to prepare for the Camino was from Nancy Reynolds. In her presentation The Camino Experience she suggested staying at hostels to get familiar with the albergue lifestyle. One month before my Camino, I managed to do so, and I am so glad I did!

I hadn’t stayed in a hostel since my college days with three friends on an epic Eurail trip on a shoestring budget. After a few bad incidents involving a theft and cockroaches, I swore I’d never stay in a hostel again. Yet here I am, twenty-five years later, wanting to stay in these hostel-like albergues! The Camino works in mysterious ways.

Hostelling InternationalHostelling International, formerly known as International Youth Hostel Federation, coordinates more than seventy National Associations in over eighty countries that have more than three thousand affiliated hostels around the world. Who knew they don’t call them youth hostels anymore?

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More Injury Prevention Tips for the Camino

Here are the continuation videos of Scott “Shroomer” Williams’ talk that I captured at our annual blessing of the pilgrims event. Among many great tips, he demonstrated shortening your walking stride, using trekking poles and umbrellas, and ways to lighten your load.   He shared lessons of people he met along the Camino. He brought a box of gear for show & tell and demonstrated how to use everything. From blister and bedbug prevention to avoiding jungle rot, there’s something for everyone! Watch and learn from the Shroomer. Continue reading

Injury Prevention Tips for the Camino

Last week I told you about an epic hike on Mt. Diablo with Scott “Shroomer” Williams. Today I’m sharing a video of Scott at our annual blessing of the pilgrims event, talking about his first Camino and injury prevention tips for hikers.

Click to watch first video segment (11:05 minutes)

Continuation of Scott’s talk are below:

Scott Williams Injury Prevention Tips for the Camino: Part 2 

Scott Williams Injury Prevention Tips for the Camino: Part 3

Scott provided a handout with a list of ultra light gear companies for long distance walking.  See list below.

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