Hiking Inn to Inn
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. There were…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 people were always living on this land. Picasso´s…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
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 explores the central portion of the park. You’ll stay at…Continue
Added by Tom Courtney on July 9, 2010 at 7:30am — No Comments
Along the Pacific Rim’s Ring of Fire, the Cascade Mountains reach as far north as Mt. Garibaldi in British Columbia. This range of massive volcanoes stretches south through Washington, Oregon and Northern California. At its southern tip lies Lassen Peak, resting from its most recent eruption in 1917. Surrounding the mountain is Lassen Volcanic National Park, a wild and exotic Northern California treasure.…Continue
Added by Tom Courtney on June 26, 2009 at 8:30am — No Comments
Hike the coastal bluffs and forests of America’s western edge, some of the most beautiful country in California. This moderate 41-mile, 4-day Walkabout starts in Marin Headlands, just 10 minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge, and hikes to Point Reyes National Seashore.
The first two days are an easy stroll,…Continue
This is a challenging 41.6 mile hike that crosses the Sierra Nevada from east to west. It passes through some of the most breathtaking parts of these majestic mountains, traveling along the trail of the pony express and in the footsteps of adventurers who once sought fortune in the gold rush of the mid-1800s.Continue
Added by Tom Courtney on June 20, 2008 at 5:00pm — No Comments