Walking for Water with Camino Jim- The 10 Day Forecast…Day 1


The ten day forecast … day one.

The forecast for my Camino start is currently showing an 80% chance of rain with thunderstorms and winds of 6 mph. This will require a wardrobe adjustment. The temperature over the Pyrenees for day one calls for a high of 64 degrees which actually is a nice walking temperature. If the forecast holds I know I will get wet so I will need to make a decision about going with or without a poncho. The poncho clearly helps keep you dry but also is very restricting. It’s impossible to get to anything from the backpack without the hassle of taking it off and then trying to get it back on over the backpack without some assistance. There is a good Camino shop in Pamplona which may have a poncho that zips up in the front making the process of taking it off a bit less difficult. I will visit them on my arrival day.

I had a poncho on the last Camino which I had to buy because it rained so much I was wet nearly all of the time. I did buy one that had sleeves which makes it more comfortable but they were to long so I just cut them off. The other downside of wearing a poncho is that it gets hot under that personal tent, sometimes really hot. In the end it helped but I was still wet just not completely wet. This is where you begin to see the challenge you face with having only a backpack and limited wardrobe options. For those taking the “donkey service” that big suitcase brings with it lots of options which result in dry clothes at the end of the day and much more … no complaints all part of the journey.

What’s better, cooler temperatures with rain or warmer temperatures without the rain? I guess that depends on the length of that days walk and the degree of difficulty. Flat or lots of elevation changes? Obviously a temperature of 64 degrees without the rain would be fantastic but that just won’t happen. At this point as long as I can find the right poncho and the wind is not out of control I will opt for the best chance to stay as dry as possible.

I am closing in on my last few training days. Today was a ten miler with temperatures around 80 so it  was comfortable. I opted not to wear the backpack because I decided to give myself a break. I also decided to walk the entire ten miles without stopping as an offset to the lack of weight. The good news is that it was not a problem and I also know that once on the Camino breaks will be taken as needed. It was comfortable near the beach with a nice breeze and above normal surf.

It does not matter how many times I walk this route it is always surprising to watch the toutists try to figure out how to walk on a path while recognizing that there may be others they need to share that space with. Throw in the locals with multiple dogs and it’s like an obstacle course. There was one difference today … the location along the trail where volunteers provide a meal to the homeless was not active today. Normally the food distribution starts around 5:00 and it’s always in the same place, not today.

Once I was home and recovered I checked the ten day weather forecast for St. Jean France again and was pleasantly surprised to see that the revised forecast now calls for only a 20% chance of rain on my first day on the Camino with temperatures in the mid 60’s as I go over the top of the Pirennes. That’s a big upgrade from the forecast I looked at just two days ago … of course it can change again so I’ll just keep my fingers crossed. I am now just one week away from taking that first step.

Buen Camino.