The Backpack Club – June 23, 2013

Yesterday was my second day of training for the Camino in August. Our goal was to complete 10+ miles around Upper Newport Bay near our house. My wife Kathryn and I left the house around 9 am and started walking under typical June overcast skies. Here’s a photo of me at the start.


A few blocks into our walk, we said hello to a man walking his dog and he asked if we were in training for something. When we answered yes, he immediately guessed “that Camino thing.” His name was Jack and he said his wife Joy was talking about it and encouraging him to go. He suggested that we poke our heads into their house a few doors down and introduce ourselves. Joy was very surprised to see us but was excited to hear about our trip. She said she was planning to walk the Camino someday whether Jack went along or not.

A few blocks later we were stopped once again by a jogger named Mike who asked about our gear. He had heard about the Camino but he was talking to his family earlier that day about their trip hiking in the Pyrenees next summer. They’re not planning to hike the Camino, but it sounds like a great trip nonetheless.

So now we’ve been on our hike less than 30 minutes and we’ve already spent half the time talking to interested people who are excited to hear about our adventures. Wearing backpacks must send out a secret message of fraternity. I know that works on the Camino but I didn’t know it worked in Orange County, California.

Thinking back to my first training hike, I recall meeting another couple who were wearing backpacks. Of course I had to ask them what they were training for. Turns out they were heading up to Mt. Whitney in July. For those who are not familiar with it, Mt. Whitney is the tallest mountain in the continental US, roughly 14,500 feet tall (4,420 meters). It’s a bucket list adventure and worth every minute suffering in the thin air.

Back to sea level, which you’ll notice in the pictures below, Kathryn and I cruised around the upper bay in about 3-1/2 hours and we didn’t see any more people wearing backpacks.

In the next blog, I’ll share my effort to learn “real” Spanish.

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5 thoughts on “The Backpack Club – June 23, 2013

  1. I love it when the world speaks to us in affirmations, as it did when so many others thinking of the Camino crossed your path. Its one way of knowing you are on the right track. I remember years ago when I was thinking of becoming a nun. As soon as I began to think seriously, everywhere I turned, there were nuns. If I turned on the TV-nuns…..opened a book-nuns…overheard a conversation-nuns;and for years up until that point, I hadn’t seen or heard even a hint about nuns anywhere.God finds so many ways to.speak to us, if only we listen!

    • Thanks for YOUR affirmation, Sister. I’m honored that you and Bill B are my first two commentors. Since I made the commitment to start a blog, I’m finding more and more to write about, even if it has more to do with my family than the title of the blog suggests. I recall a parish priest telling me about “homily hunting,” his practice of looking for relevant stories to share with the congregation on Sunday. I think writing a blog may be like wearing a backpack – it attracts a response from like-minded people.

    • Hi Sister, KAT-Kathryn interjecting here, I left you a comment on Bill’s Blog about Medjugorje, but probably not in the correct place for you to find it, so take a look back there to find it near our comments.

      Its like that when you get pregnant and buy a new car too! seeing it everywhere.Where your heart and mind are suddenly things come to the forefront. May have been there all along but just becomes more visible.

  2. Hello Michael and Kathryn. I have found your blog through Bill Bennett’s PGS The Way. I would like to follow your progress also, if you don’t mind.
    I too am training for my Camino, leaving Leon on 25th September. Time does not permit longer at this stage. Maybe we will cross paths somewhere. Where are when are you walking?
    Just this morning I was out for one of my shorter walks and met a neighbour who was walking the dog. Through the course of the conversation, we spoke of the Camino and my plans. Lo and behold, just on dusk this evening, he arrived at the door with a Spanish phrase book for me.
    You are in California and I am in south eastern Australia, yet our Camino worlds are aligning.

    • Thanks for joining me on my journey. I don’t think our paths will cross this time because I’m arriving in Pamplona on August 8 and hoping to make it to Leon by August 26. My wife Kathryn plans to join me for the last week so we can celebrate our 30th anniversary in an albuerge with couple dozen of our closest friends.
      Please keep me informed of your preparations.

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