Hiking Inn to Inn
The American River starts high in the peaks of the Sierra Nevada. It winds and crashes through deep canyons down to the foothills where it eventually is tamed to form Folsom Lake. Released again, it flows wide and powerful to meet the Sacramento River. The discovery of gold on the American in 1848 brought a…Continue
Added by Tom Courtney on April 16, 2012 at 1:30am — No Comments
The guidebooks warn of the fierce weather in Galicia. Storms blow in from the Atlantic bringing wind, cold, rain, and snow. But, the weather for us, in late October, is ideal for hiking - crisp, cool mornings; warm, sunny afternoons. In fact, I had only taken my rain jacket out twice during the six week pilgrimage because of slight drizzle. Now, with the short autumn days, the leaves of oaks, maples, and chestnuts are turning yellow and orange.…Continue
Added by Tom Courtney on November 2, 2011 at 3:30pm — No Comments
Leaving the plains of north-central Spain, the pilgrim climbs and decends through the mountains of eastern Leon and into Galicia. As each day passes and the Atlantic Coast draws nearer, the terrain becomes more lush and verdant. Ascending out of Rabanal for 1,000 feet, we reached the highest peak on the Camino, Cruz de Ferr, at 4,938 feet. The trail passes through dense forests of oak, eucalyptus, birch, chestnut, and pine. Climbing out of Villafranca, the trail ascends 1,200 feet, drops…Continue
Added by Tom Courtney on October 29, 2011 at 11:29am — No Comments
Spain has deep Roman Catholic roots, going back, legend tells us, to Christ´s apostle, St. James, Santiago. The pilgrim passes through perhaps a half a dozen village each day, almost all dominated by an ancient stone and wooden church. We often stop to sit in the cool, dark sanctuaries for a moment of contemplation and to experience the beauty and devotion represented by centuries old statues and paintings of the saints and Holy Family. We have occasionally attended services in churches…Continue
Added by Tom Courtney on October 22, 2011 at 12:21pm — No Comments
I entered the narow, winding streets of the old city of Leon. It was the day of the festival of San Froilan y las cantaderas and a grand medieval faire filled the plazas with hundreds of booths selling roasted meats and octopus, pastries, sweets, jewerlry, soaps, perfumes, clothes, wood carvings, and tarot readings. People were dressed in renaissance costumes.…Continue
Added by Tom Courtney on October 15, 2011 at 9:17am — No Comments
After hiking the verdant foothills of the Pyrenese and through the lush vineyards of La Rioja, the Camino enters the meseta, flat tabletop land that covers 40% of Spain. For the next 120 miles the pilgrim ascends long mesas and descends into broad valleys. Wheat fields stretch for as far as the eye can see, now freshly harvested in early October. Rivers, lined with cottonwoods, meander through the plain. Small medieval villages along the rivers, break up the sameness of the terrains.…Continue
Added by Tom Courtney on October 10, 2011 at 10:53am — No Comments
The ancient city of Burgos was founded in 884 as a defensive fortress for the Kingdom of Navarra against the Muslims to the south. Today´s pilgrim hikes several kilometers through stark, modern Burgos before passing through 14th century walls, under Arco de Santa Maria, and into the magical old city. Here the streets are narrow and winding, there are few cars, but the lanes are busy with foot traffic. People crowd the shops and sidewalk cafes.
After 13 days of hiking and 180 miles,…Continue
Added by Tom Courtney on October 7, 2011 at 10:07am — No Comments
After a few days on the Camino, the pilgrim´s life settles into an easy rhythym. Albergues may be small with only a dozen beds or big with bunk beds for 100 in a large room. It is wise to sleep with earplugs or you will enjoy all the sounds of nocturnal humanity.
People begin to stir around 5:30am. alarms beep, pilgrim pack away sleeping bags and prepare to hit the trail. I usually am out of bed by 6:30 and hiking by seven. This is my favorite time of day. It is still dark and…Continue
The Camino traverses western Navarra Province mostly on country trails, passing through small villages, always dominated by a church, the tallest building. Pilgrims are a major source of revenue, and many villages will offer a cafe, a fountain, and possibly a small inn and/or albergue. The harvested grain fields of the rolling farmland yielded to bountiful vineyards as the trail approaches Rioja Province, the home of some of Spain´s finest red wines.
I entered the city of Logrono at…Continue
Pamplona is the capital of Navarra, a semi-autonimous province, the south being more Castilian, the north, Basque. The Basque are a fiercely independent people. Linguists tell us that the Basque language, Euskara, is one of Europe´s oldest and has no know relationship to any other language. It is as if the basque…Continue
Added by Tom Courtney on September 27, 2011 at 2:30am — No Comments
The hike from Roncesvalles to Pamplona took two days, climbing and descending the foothills of the Pyrenese. Most of the trail was on mountain paths, ascending to ridges and dropping into the valley of the Rio Arga, which the trail crossed and recrossed. Early in the morning, before dawn, I hiked with the north star to my back and Orion high overhead, passing through the ¨woodlands of the witches,¨ a dense beech forest. During the 16th century, it is said that covens of witches practiced…Continue
I plan to walk from SF Fort Funston to Half Moon Bay, as in the book. I have a few questions.
Was there a lot of walking on sand? If so, what shoes should be worn and were the tides a problem or dangerous?
Also, is there a good place meet up with people at Fort Funston (i.e. a parking lot or building that can be easily found with a car)?
Trail Professionals and Advocates,
Added by Christie Kelley on October 1, 2010 at 8:56am — No Comments
With 71,000 acres of coastal hills, dense forests, pristine beaches, and 140 miles of hiking trails, Pt. Reyes National Seashore is a walkabout paradise. It is only an hour and a half north of San Francisco by car or bus. This walkabout…Continue
Added by Tom Courtney on July 9, 2010 at 7:30am — No Comments
Added by Cammi Madison on April 5, 2010 at 4:37pm — No Comments
Added by Hilary Gans on July 20, 2009 at 4:08am — No Comments