Go / No-go Decision Criteria for El Camino del Norte

I didn’t anticipate being able to train for another 500-mile trek until July after my skiing accident. When I started hiking with Mike and the pups in May, I broached the subject of doing our next Camino THIS year if we meet a few criteria:

  • We are able to Hike for 4-5 hours (12-15 miles) a day by the first week of July
  • Our good health continues 
  • COVID is under control in Spain 
  • Spain allows Americans into their country 
  • We are able to make our travel plans without breaking the bank 
  • Our potential schedule meshes with my Basque cousins’ schedules 
  • We can find people to stay at our house and take care of the pups for 6 weeks 

All of the criteria except the first one, have been met.

On the Camino Primitivo 2017

The differences between training in Manhattan Beach in 2017 and training here in Park City are:

  • Manhattan Beach is at sea level ~ ~ ~ Park City hiking trails start at 7300 feet above sea level and go up to 9400 feet
  • We can walk about 20 miles on The Strand in 5 hours ~ ~ ~ Hiking 12-15 miles is a lot more strenuous in the mountains. 20 miles would take more than 7 hours on the trails here.
  • We didn’t have puppies in 2017 ~ ~ ~ we haven’t tried to hike for 5 hours with the puppies this year

We anticipate that our strenuous uphill treks in Spain will be a bit easier than we experienced in 2017 because we’re training on mountainous terrain, and at altitudes much higher than we will encounter on our Camino. One challenge here is the heat. We’re going to start out before 7:00 on hot days, hoping to hike for at least 3 or 4 hours before it hits 90°F (32°C). 

I twisted my ankle a few weeks ago, and I took a few days off to give it the “R.I.C.E” (Rest. Ice. Compress. Elevate) treatment:


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We may need to give it one extra week (Until July 7) before making the decision to start planning a 6-week trip to Europe. But we are getting closer to that “GO” decision. 

In the meantime, we’re training as if we will actually go. Encouragement and tips appreciated!

3 thoughts on “Go / No-go Decision Criteria for El Camino del Norte

    1. Hi Bob, we were all set…. a friend volunteered to stay with our puppies for 7 weeks (wow!), I was up to 8 miles in 3.5 hours up & down hills at 9400′ altitude (Mike was way ahead of me, no surprise), and we were working with our travel agent in LA. He was having a tough time getting callbacks from the company who does all of the reservations in Spain, and when he finally did they said that they couldn’t guarantee that the places we wanted to stay would be open in September. Their staff is working from home, and they don’t always answer their phones. The worst scenario would have been if we were there and my family (45 cousins) were to be in lockdown again, and we wouldn’t be able to see them. This past Friday (7/16) we made the decision to postpone our trip again. I’m still emotional about our decision, even though I feel that it’s the right one. I’ll update our proposed itinerary for the 4th time, changing our dates to 2022. And we’ll continue to do hikes, but if we don’t get up to 12 or 15 miles we’ll be okay with it. Thanks for continuing to follow us on this journey!! Mike says hi!!


  1. Sorry this did not work out. A sound decision.I look forward to following your pilgrimage next year. Tell Mike, that the PSW RLF Forum finally met live in late July. FIrst time in 18 months. He and Ed were in a picture I showed them and almost all of them knewe Mike immediately–with wonderful stories.

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