Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Humid? Check. Hot weather? Check. Walk with pack? Let's do it.

Yesterday we walked 6 miles—down to the bridge and back—on the Hike and Bike Trail, wearing our packs.
It was very humid. We started late, too. Yet even in the 80 to 85 degrees (F) we kept up our usual pace. I have concluded that 3 miles an hour is our natural pace; we pretty much keep to it every time.
And at the end of our walk, when we got back home, my sweetie made me a glass of iced Campbell’s Tomato Juice. It was cool and salty and perfectly wonderful!

I think the swallows are really neat.
I was going to put up a picture from yesterday, of a javelina boar we saw at Santa Ana when we got there, but it came out too dark to show up. My old camera just wasn't up to the job of zooming in that far in the dim light. Maybe we will get lucky again sometime.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Morning at Santa Ana

Yesterday we walked 7 miles, doing the tram path at Santa Ana NWR.
We left early and started walking before 8 in the morning. There will be more tomorrow, after pictures are uploaded. For now, a picture from an earlier trip to Santa Ana:
 This is one of the Pintail Lakes in early April of this year. The refuge staff maintains a mowed trail around the lake with a bench for bird watchers.

Monday, April 28, 2014

An impromptu Sunday walk

Yesterday morning we woke up and realized that, after our Friday walk with packs, we’d taken a “bye” day on Saturday. That won’t do—the whole point of training is to keep up the effort and get stronger!
So we decided that we’d do a small walk today, even though in our calendar of training Sundays are listed as rest days. After Mass, we came home and changed into walking clothes and headed out, with the idea of doing about 3 miles.
By the time we got to the end of the driveway, we settled on getting breakfast tacos while we were out and about—breakfast tacos are one of the blessings of life—and so we aimed ourselves toward the nearest convenience store. Then we changed our minds about which store and crossed over to the next large street; sidewalk the whole way appealed more than fighting with the traffic for space in the shoulder. At the end of all this walking, we passed the local high school, crossed the train tracks, and found ourselves at the Stripes store, which is 2 miles from the house.
We got tacos—ham and egg for my sweetie and chorizo and egg for me—and drinks and sat down for our breakfast. (Note to anyone wondering, here in South Texas chorizo is a medium grind pork sausage with garlic, chile colorado, and other good seasonings.)
After we ate, we carried our drinks and walked back home again. I clocked this as 4 miles, a little more than our light walks have been, but then there are only 20 days to go now.
The weather is hot today, and by the time we got back to the house at 11:30, the temperature was 90F out. (We think that translates to 32C.) It’s not unusual for late April to be this warm around here, but after the cool winter and late spring we find it uncomfortable. We were dripping wet with perspiration when we got into the (air-conditioned) house.
But it was a pretty good walk. We even got to see a neighbor’s round-bodied, white guinea hen. 
Some things don't care about the heat! (Tree with Spanish Moss at Santa Ana NWR)

Sunday, April 27, 2014


When we first discovered the pilgrimage to Santiago, we didn’t know very much about it. We did discover very quickly that the walk is very long, and that a pilgrim needs good hiking shoes. So we went to REI and entrusted ourselves to the helpful sales guy. 
We tried on shoes, and more shoes, and then some more shoes. We walked around the store and climbed up and down on the small sloping rock. We thought we had picked out the perfect shoes to hike 450 miles in.
Then we took a few walks—just some 2 mile walks and 3 mile walks. First my sweetie discovered that the shoes he’d picked out were squeezing his toes. So we went back to REI—he wore two pair of socks that day—and bought him new shoes. 
Then we took a 10 mile walk on the Mission Hike and Bike Trail, and my big toe turned purple. This was—well—scary. We took it easy for a few days. 
We tried again a week later, and at the halfway point I took my shoes off and sat down for a few minutes on a bench. We put our shoes back on and headed back toward the car—the second 5 miles of our walk. About a mile later my feet hurt, and they kept up a steady hurt the whole 4 miles back to the car. When I took the shoes off, I discovered that my toe was turning purple again.
Apparently, about mile 6 or 8, my feet jump a size. And, apparently, it is not as easy as I thought to tell if the shoe fits or not. I ordered the next size up online from and took it somewhat easy until the new ones came.

The new shoe: Merrell half-height ladies, same model as the old one, but the next half size larger.
 The socks in the picture are doubled up. The new shoe is too wide at the heel and has given me a blister—but that’s better than crushing the end of the toes with every step! And I am going to put a heel pad in the shoe to take up some of that empty space the heel is rattling around in.