Preparing For The Camino Del Norte

Last modified on May 2nd, 2021

San Sebastian

With the COVID19 state of alarm shortly ending here in Spain, I’ve been slowly getting myself ready to do some long distance hiking. My original plan, before COVID19 hit the world, was to hopefully make it to Italy in the summer of 2021 to do a 10 day hike through the mountains. Whether or not that happens this summer is anyone’s guess, but I’m still going to act like it may happen, which means I need to start training for a high-altitude hike in the mountains.

For the last month or so I have been trying to hike 15-20km of the Camino de Levante every week or two just outside of Valencia to get my legs back in shape. It’s been really great hitting the trail again, but so far most of the Levante near Valencia has been rather flat, which isn’t really helping that much for my Dolomites training. I also managed to injure myself on my first day’s walk but pushing myself too far too soon, and I’ve been forced to reduce my distance each week to help myself heal. Thankfully I think I’m mostly back to normal again, so I’m setting my sights on something a little more adventurous – the Camino Del Norte along the northern coast of Spain.

In 2017 I walked from St. Jean Pied de Port, France, to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, a distance of roughly 800km. It was great, but having made it all the way to Santiago de Compostela once, it’s not super important to me to make it all the way to Santiago on the Camino Del Norte. And in truth, I suspect I won’t – for me I’m just going to chip away at various Caminos whenever I feel like walking, and simply head back to Valencia (where I live) whenever I need a break.

But given that the weather in the north of Spain is starting to look better, and the Camino routes are mostly empty these days because of ongoing travel restrictions for people who live outside of Spain, my plan is to head up north with my laptop and do some hiking. Unlike other long distance walks I’ve done previously, I’m going to take my laptop on this one and try to continue working in the evenings and on rainy days. Since I really don’t have any time restrictions or any hard deadlines, I can simply pull out my laptop and work on rainy days and hike a bit whenever the sun comes out. So it will be interesting to see how this works out. I carried my laptop to Xativa on the last leg of the Levante I did, and while my bag was definitely heavier, it didn’t take me too long before I stopped noticing it.

When I walked the Camino Frances in 2017, I only had my iPhone to take photos. That worked well enough, but I’ve been taking my DSLR on the Camino de Levante and it’s been great having some really high-quality photos to reflect on once I get back home. So I’m going to take my Fuji X-T2 with me on this trip along with one of my newest lenses, the Fuji 16mm-80mm f/4.0 WR OIS lens (which is my go-to travel lens these days). So with luck I’ll be able to take lots of great photos along the way.

A test photo I took near Xativa on the Camino de Levante using my new 16-80mm lens

To make hauling around my DSLR easier, I picked up a Peak Design Capture v3 camera clip which lets me clip my camera to one of my backpack straps. I had one of these years ago but unfortunately never warmed to it at the time. But after completing a few hikes around Valencia with the new Capture v3, I am definitely in love with it now – it keeps your hands free but also keeps the camera readily available to snap a photo at a moment’s notice.

New Camera Clip

My Fuji X-T2 Mounted On The Peak Design Capture v3, on the Camino de Levante

Albergues are still mostly closed, but even if that weren’t the case, I wouldn’t be staying in them due to COVID19. So I’ll likely just find AirBNBs to rent along the way, which makes getting work done easier as well.

So this week I’m going to try hard to finish a few work projects and then pack my bag up – with luck I’ll be heading north soon to start walking. At the bare minimum I’d like to get to at least Bilbao, but if I can push a bit further to Oviedo that would be great as I can carry on with the Camino Primitivo after.

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