Magdalena organized these hikes with the idea to practice/train for the Camino in Spain and also so that people who have done a Camino before can share some tips and advice with rookies like me. The first day we met up at Scotsdale farm along Trafalgar Road and the second time we did a loop from Rattle Snake Point to Crawford Lake and back again.
George Ayers’s advice was to “Pack Less” and “Have Fun”. “When in doubt turn right” (from Kai) was an interesting one. Yvonne had a really nifty way of carrying her water bottle that I admired. Magdalena had a red “poncho” that she bought in Spain that she demonstrated during lunch when it started raining the first day.
The hike leader on the first day taught us some valuable lessons about hiking on the Bruce Trail:
- Hikers going uphill have right of way.
- Move over to the right to let faster hikers pass.
- Use rubber tips on trekking poles for safety.
- Do not put your hands through the loops of your trekking poles. Many broken wrists have been the result of this habit.
- He showed us how to walk through your poles to keep your balance and save your knees.
- Put your poles through the fence when climbing over the stiles.
- He demonstrated how to tie your shoe laces with the Dutch Army/ Surgeon’s knot (start video at 2:15) to prevent them from coming loose.
- Whistle signals: 1 – stop, 2 – come here, 3 – emergency call
The rain made me realize that I need a solution to prevent my glasses from fogging up and according to the internet shaving cream or toothpaste work well. I ended up buying some anti-fog stuff at MEC. You don’t want to scratch your lenses… I also had cramps in my inner thighs both days. That has never happened before. So I decided to add electrolytes to some of my water from now on. Eating bananas are good too.
Magdalena had a really nice demonstration of the contents in her backpack the second day. A mesh bag from the Dollar Store, two bandanas, a little towel and a fanny pack (or two) are all handy. A hip belt with pockets will let you reach for snacks or a camera/phone while walking. Bring three pairs of socks. Above all, bring as little as possible since you need to keep the weight down.
A good tip was to buy a charger in Spain. Don’t bother with an international plug. It will take much longer to charge your phone. Apparently bed bugs do not like silk. Good to know.
She showed us what blister bandages looked like. Almost like a second skin. Double socks are a good idea. Wool will wick water away from your skin. Keep your skin dry to avoid blisters. A good tip is to cool your feet down. When you have a longer break take your shoes and socks off and if possible soak them in cold water to reduce swelling. Be creative with your lacing technique to avoid pressure points. Make sure there is enough space for your toes to move forward when walking downhill. You don’t want them hitting the front of your shoe.
Both hikes were so friendly and relaxed. The people were all very open to talking and helping each other. I might even see some of them in Spain, who knows?
My Mom always says life is stranger than a storybook.