#1MillionStepsHike Camiño de Santiago – 1 – Setting the context

I started writing this post, roughly two years ago. It was then full-blown Autumn 2019. COVID wasn’t yet in the picture. Because of it, I have re-planned this hike 3 times. Currently it is my expectation it will happen during the Fall 2021. Vaccination is at an advanced state and things seem to be a bit more under control on the COVID situation. Hopefully things are a bit closer to normality.

In the mean time, the post got so long and packed with so many details, that I opted to break it into smaller and more manageable chunks.

This is the first one focusing on context and introduction to the challenge.

The hike plan

The Camiños de Santiago, or the ways of Saint James in English, is a large network of hike paths from everywhere in Europe, with a common destination: the city of Santiago de Compostela at Coruña Spanish region. For the details on the full network, check the site The way of Saint James.

From Portugal, where I am based, there are several possibilities, being the most common the one that starts up to the North of the country. I opted to take the one that starts closer to home (actually from my door step), a few kms away from Lisbon, where the “standard” starting point of the Camiño, in Lisbon is located.

In total the path is about 650 Km in length, which should stay a few Kms shy of the 1.000.000 steps, hence the #1MSTEPSHIKE. I’m estimating to cover the distance in 20 dedicated days, and 3 part-time days right at the beginning, which will work as warm-up for the journey. This then translates on an average of 35 Kms and between 8 and 12 hiking hours per day.

Path to Santiago

The image above highlights the route I will be taking which will be mix between the Portuguese central way (orange line) and the Portuguese coastal way (the blue lines). Being a big fan of coastal hikes, I couldn’t bypass the opportunity to take this path from Porto to Vigo, which by the way, overlaps with the E9 European Long Distance Path (5000 km coastal trek from Portugal to Estonia), but this is a plan for another day.

Advantages and down sides of the Autumn

There are a few advantages for me, for hiking during October/November:

  • Less busier: after the Summer, this time of the year there are much less people hiking the Camiño. That translates into more available beds for example.
  • Cooler: hiking with hot weather is a pain for me.

On the other side of the spectrum, the downsides are:

  • Rain: Above Porto, rain is a frequent customer during most part of the year, and gets worst during this time of the year. Hiking on the rain is not that fun, trust me.
  • Smaller days: daylight is draining away quite fast. Considering that I will have several days of 10+ hours hiking, I will certainly start or end in pitch dark many days. This adds risk that needs to be managed by the use of security lights and reflectors.

Check the next posts for more.

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