El Primer Dia Del Camino

This morning I was awaken out of a dead sleep at 7:30 am as I have not been sleeping well since I arrived. We get dressed and we are out the door a little after 8 am. We stop for cafe con leche, cafe americano and I have tea. The coffee here is way to strong for me. It looks delicious, wouldn’t you agree?

Mark (Angelica’s husband) arrived by train at 2:30 am today without incident.

What was I thinking crosses my mind as I am walking around mile 8 or 9.
Then I have a talk with myself and I remember why I am here. To push my self out of my comfort zone, do more with less and whatever other valuable lessons I may learn along the way.
I have already pushed myself out of my comfort zone a few times.

The weather was great today. We walked 13 miles and arrived at our first destination at 3 pm after a few stops to readjust our packs, add band aids, etc.

My favorite meal to date is called a Bocadillo (a cured ham much like prosciutto and cheese ) in a fresh roll. No condiments or lettuce or tomato, very simple sandwich. So delicious. I was concerned for no reason. I am eating well.

I already feel closer to God as I have been having some conversations with him about parts of my life I would like to improve upon.

Onward to Leon


Up at 5 am and off for another travel day to our starting place. We traveled by Underground Metro to the bus station. A little daunting for me. I am not sure I could have done this alone. Although everyone we have asked for help was accommodating and friendly. The bus ride was very comfortable.

Finally in Leon we find our hotel “Le Petit Hotel” freshen up and head out to… You guessed it eat again.

Yes that is a plate full of yummy cheese.

Off to sight see, mass and a peregrino blessing.


More tomorrow…. The walk finally.

One more pic. Found our first Camino marker.


Madrid at last

Well today was a great first day. We all finally arrived on different flights and headed out in a bus to our hotel. The day seemed to last forever. Nilda took a quick nap and Angelica and I headed out to the streets to get a quick bite and beverage then walked around a bit.


We then came back and picked up Nilda and went out again to see some more sights and eat again.

We also stopped by Nilda’s favorite Hot Chocolate and Churro’s for dessert.


We have our directions to get on the different buses to get to our first destination in Leon. Couldn’t have asked for a better first day with the girls.
The Plaza where we are staying is full of life, people having a great time.

Sponge Bob even made an appearance.

1 2 3 Take Off

Today is the big day. Time to see if all the preparation can be put to purpose. I have said all my goodbyes to all my loved ones and friends. Thank you all for your love and well wishes. A special thank you to Gary for supporting me.

Until we meet again at the end of my journey. Looking forward to new life lessons, leaning on Him for strength and courage and anything else that comes along. No expectations just surprises.


Last hike before our departure ….

Trail Marker in the Cajon Pass

Friday we (Gina, Angelica, Mark and I) headed out from the McDonald’s in the Cajon Pass and took the PC Trail back toward Silverwood Lake.  We started out early as the day was going to be hot again.  We will be encountering some hot days in Spain so hiking in this heat is perfect for us as we need to acclimate.

My hiking companions minus the cameraman, Mark.

Fun fact: The Pacific Crest Trail goes right under the 15 freeway near the Mc Donalds.

We made an 8 mile hike seem like a cake walk as we have been hiking since the beginning of the year.

The rest of my weekend has been spent reorganizing my backpack and weighing and reweighing it to make sure it is as light as possible.  I find myself wanting to add snacks as I don’t know what kind of food we will be eating. I also find myself enjoying every meal as I know if will be a long time before I have my favorite foods.

Thursday I spent the day with Anthony as I won’t be seeing him for awhile.  Anthony and Sol treated me to a lovely meal at a local tapas bar in San Diego.  We had some delicious tapas that were a taste of what I might expect in Espana.  I was pleasantly surprised.  I guess I won’t starve after all.

2 days and counting ….


Pacific Crest Trail, Silverwood Lake

Jodie and I took to the trail at Silverwood Lake yesterday.  This part of the Pacific Crest trail starts in Silverwood and meets up in the Cajon Pass near the McDonalds.

2013-08-17 08.41.42

I thought this would be a good day to try this trail and see how many miles we could travel before we could see the Cajon Pass.  We made it to the top of the first hill which was about 3.5 miles.  We could see Summit Valley and the Cajon Pass off in the distance.  It was an easy to moderate hike and it was a good place to turn around and come back.  We will try this trail again and make our goal the McDonalds in the pass on another day when it is not quite so hot.

Silverwood Lake in the distance

Silverwood Lake in the distance

On our way back we had quite a beautiful view of the lake.  These weekend hikes are a great way to unwind from our busy and sometimes stressful days at work.  Jodie and I talked about checking into the possibility of renting kayaks on the lake.  The high desert is so close to so many great outdoor activities.  We are so blessed to live in such a great area and the great state of California.

St. Christopher offers protection to travelers …

Yesterday my sister dropped by my work to give me a gift for my trip to Spain.  She handed me a gift bag with a small burgundy box.  I couldn’t imagine what it could be.  I opened the box to find a beautiful sterling silver St. Christopher medallion.  I had the opportunity to have it blessed today while I was at church at a meeting by our Pastor.

St. Christopher

St. Christopher

This was a perfect gift.  My sister Patty always has a knack for giving the perfect gifts.  She is always so thoughtful.  I will wear it on my journey as a reminder to trust in God.  He never puts anything in front of us that we cannot handle.

My sister will not be traveling with me on this trip but she too will be walking with me.  Her and I have been walking since last year and we have walked many miles over the last year.  The only thing that has been missing is our sister Diana.

For those of you who are not familiar with St. Christopher I found some information online. See below.

Medallions with St. Christopher’s name and image are commonly worn as pendants, especially by travelers, to show devotion and as a request for his blessing. Miniature statues are frequently displayed in automobiles. In French a widespread phrase for such medals is “Regarde St Christophe et va-t-en rassuré” (“Look at St Christopher and go on reassured”); Saint Christopher medals and holy cards in Spanish have the phrase “Si en San Cristóbal confías, de accidente no morirás” (“If you trust St. Christopher, you won’t die in an accident”). In Austria an annual collection for providing vehicles for the use of missionaries is taken up on a Sunday close to the feast of Saint Christopher, asking people to contribute a very small sum of money for every kilometer that they have traveled safely during the year.

St. Christopher is a widely popular saint, especially revered by athletes, marinersferrymen, and travelers.[3] He is revered as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. He holds patronage of things related to travel and travelers — against lightning and pestilence — and patronage for archersbachelors; boatmen; soldiers; bookbindersepilepsy; floods; fruit dealers; fullersgardeners; a holy death; mariners; market carriers; motorists and drivers; sailors; storms; surfers;[12] toothache; mountaineering; and transportation workers.

Another test before the “Camino” or “Lost”

Today Nilda and I headed out for our last hike together before we meet up in Espana. We took our own cars to the trailhead.  One thing lead to another and before you know it we were separated on the freeway.  The 5 freeway is notorious for being super busy. So I ended up in one place and Nilda in another.  Yes we were “lost”.  We hooked by phone and tried to find each other and again we could not connect.  We finally made it to the trailhead and headed out for the Dripping Cave.  Now mind you we both have iphones with GPS and we had a trail map to the cave.  You guessed it, again we were “lost”.  We ended up on another trail to nowhere.  When it was all said and done, it was a nice 6 mile hike and we had a nice pace of about 3.5 miles an hour.  We decided this was a test to see how we might handle a similar situation on the “Camino”.  Of course, we passed with flying colors.

2013-08-11 09.44.46 2013-08-11 09.44.26You wouldn’t know it from the beautiful view that we made a wrong turn. Right?  We will make the best of every situation.  We will have the day we have and take each day as it comes.

Nilda was the ultimate hostess for Patty and I this weekend and it was so nice to spend this quality time with our cuz.

My First Blisters

Today we hiked the local hills in San Clemente.


We hiked another 7.5 miles. Before we reached Patriot Hill I realized I was getting blisters on both of my baby toes. Ouch. Just another taste of what a day on the “Camino” might be like. I popped the blisters, added some band aids and walked on.

We had lunch, sent Patty off to spend the rest of her day with Kim and some River Friends in Dana Point and then hit the beach for another 7.5 miles along the beach.


The view from a Lifeguard station.


Crystal Cove with Family

August 9, 2013 was a great day to be at the beach. Patty, Gina, Nilda and I hiked Crystal Cove. We completed 9 miles in 3.5 hours. The day was a bit overcast and cool and was perfect for the first half of our excursion.

Discussing our options.

              Discussing our options.

We took a two hour break at Bear Flag Beach Company in Newport Beach.  Our lunches consisted of fish tacos, burritos, Ahi Poke Salad and Ahi Poke with fresh tortilla chips.  Yummy.  There was lots of laughter and girl talk. Forever memories.

Finally made it to the beach in the afternoon

Finally made it to the beach in the afternoon

We then headed out to the beach for another 6 miles of walking along the coast.  Our goal was to hike 15 miles, to be followed by another 15 miles on Saturday.  We completed 6 miles in 2 hr and 15 min.  The beach views were bellaza (beautiful).


The day started at 7:30 am and ended at about 4 pm.  A taste of what a day on the “Camino” might be like.  Looking forward to lots of days like this.