Here We Go Again!

Last year on June 29, I wrote that we were training for another 500-mile trek (El Camino del Norte) IF we met certain criteria by July 7. The main concern last year was whether I’d recovered enough from my skiing accident 5 months earlier to endure the long, and sometimes grueling, daily hikes in Spain. My physical ability wasn’t the reason that we ultimately decided to postpone our Camino last year. As it had been since March 2020, COVID was the ultimate concern.

  • What if Spain “closed down” while we were there?
  • What if we couldn’t see my Basque family? 
  • What if lodging and restaurants were suddenly closed? 

The criteria this year (same as last):

  • 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 

We’ve decided that all criteria WILL be met! I’m a bit nervous about my ability to hike for 4-5 hours a day, but I’m sure that I’ll get there by July. And so, as our skiing friend Bill says: Here we go again!

It’s been 5 years since our last Camino. Since then, we moved from Manhattan Beach, CA (sea level) to Park City UT (7300-ft. altitude), where it snows throughout the spring (and sometimes into the summer). We have 2 Labrador Retrievers, Sterling and Willow, who require daily hikes no matter how tired we are. Our training will be tougher and more consistent, but we will be better able to handle the hills on the Camino. At least that’s the plan! 

I am encouraged by my lifelong friend Grace, who just completed her 6th Camino!

  • Camino Frances, which starts in St. Jean Pied-du-Port in France, crosses the Pyrenees, and continues westward across Spain
  • Camino Portuguese, starting in Lisbon, Portugal
  • Via Francigena, in Italy, from Aosta to Rome
  • Camino del Norte, from the border city of Irun, along the northern coast of Spain
  • Le Puy Camino in France
  • Via de la Plata (longest Camino), from Sevilla

Thank you for following along during our training, and our anticipated journey. Encouragement and tips appreciated!

Lisa & Mike 

Coming out of the Dark

Coming Out of the Dark (Gloria Estefan)

It’s been quite a year, hasn’t it? I’d love to hear how you survived (and thrived!) during the pandemic, and how you are feeling as the world slowly starts opening up like the beautiful peonies in our yard. Some of my disciplined friends actually managed to lose weight. I am very impressed!!

We went the comfort food and wine route until January, and then we started a “reset”, going on the Whole 30 meal program, and committing to at least 25 push-ups and 25 squats to raise money for cancer research. I created a spreadsheet with hyperlinks to plan all of our meals with recipes for each day. It was all going swimmingly until January 25th, when I had a skiing accident that landed me in the hospital for 5 days. Concussion, broken rib, “grade 4” lacerated liver….. recovery was slow, and 5 months later I have a lovely scar above my right eye, and I’m still not drinking wine in order to give my liver time to recover. All in all, I feel very fortunate, and I am very grateful to the Deer Valley Ski Patrol. I’d love to ride in a toboggan again someday, just not strapped to one while being pulled down to the lodge and the waiting ambulance.

Our 2020 plans got scuttled, just like everyone else’s. All of the ski resorts closed on March 13. Mike’s hip replacement was postponed from May to July. Our trips to Florida, New Jersey, and California to see family and friends were canceled. And our next Camino in Spain, postponed from 2019, was postponed again. We typically plan major events and trips a year in advance, and 2020-21 was no different. Our plan to get one puppy in April 2021 (after ski season) was the ONE thing that we moved up a year. Oh, and we got TWO puppies instead of just one. We love our English Labs (Sterling – a Silver Lab, and Willow – a “Champagne” Lab), and can’t imagine our lives without them.

We joined several social clubs here in Park City in January 2020:
Newcomers Club (some members have been in the club for 20+ years)
Park City Mountain Sports Club
Park City Wine Club

Not great timing… we skied a few times with the sports cub and went to a wine tasting with the Newcomers Club before March 2020, but never made it to a Wine Club event in person. The virtual wine tastings on Zoom were great fun, and we tried a lot of varietals that the club president dropped off.

Knowing that my Mom would be pretty isolated, my sisters came up with the idea of having a weekly Zoom with her. We’ve kept in touch more during this past year than at any time in our adult lives. Occasionally our nieces, nephews, cousins, and brothers-in-law join, but for the most part it’s my Mom and the 4 next-gen Power sisters. (“Next-gen”, because the original Power sisters, my Dad’s sisters, numbered EIGHT!)

I initiated an all-day “pop-in” Zoom call on Thanksgiving and invited friends and family to join as they were able. Sometimes I was cooking; sometimes we were eating Thanksgiving dinner. Our last call was while we were drinking wine on the sofa after dinner and pumpkin pie. Our friends in New Zealand even called in! So much fun to spend the holiday together while being apart.

Once we were vaccinated (Pfizer for Mike, Moderna for me) and the requisite 2-week waiting period had passed, I was on a plane to NJ for Mother’s Day and a visit with my Mom, sisters, son, nieces, nephews, and even a few good friends. It sure is nice to be able to hug loved ones again!

Our next post-pandemic adventure is a week in NJ to celebrate “Christmas in July”, an ingenious idea that my Mom had back in December. She was optimistic that we’d be able to travel and get together by this summer, and she was right. Mike and I are so looking forward to seeing all of my family in just a few weeks!

Next up: Training for our next Camino de Santiago in Spain…. hopefully later this year.