Colfax couple writes book about Camino de Santiago trekBy: Gloria Young / Of the Auburn Journal
Walking the Camino de Santiago – An ordinary couple… On an extraordinary journey”
By Scott and Jaynie Wall
On Amazon: $2.99 Kindle book, $9.99 paperback
Five hundred miles in 35 days — on foot — over mountains and through flatlands; in sun, clouds and even a little rain.
Colfax residents Scott and Jaynie Wall have preserved the memories of their journey from St. Jean Pied de Port, France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain in their book, “Walking the Camino de Santiago.”
The Walls were among some 200,000 pilgrims who make the trek each year.
“The summer can be crazy. But when we were there — September into early October of 2016 — it wasn’t busy at all,” Jaynie Wall said.
They averaged 15 miles a day — some days doing only 10 but other days as much as 22 miles.
“It’s really diverse,” she said about the terrain. “We hiked over the Pyrenees. There are mountain sections throughout. For seven days, it was perfectly flat — meseta (plateau). There are Roman roads and (at times you feel like you) are in the middle of nowhere.”
There are ample hotels and inns along the way.
“We passed through a village about every couple of hours,” she said. “We had problems once or twice finding a place to stay. But normally we’d just get up in the morning and walk, and then stop when we got tired.”
Food and water are plentiful, too.
“Usually at the end of the day, we’d go to the store and buy fruit for the next day,” Wall said. “We’d carry cheese or apples and bananas. In the mornings, we’d stop and get coffee and hard-boiled eggs.”
The route is well marked and easy to follow. And they met a lot of fellow trekkers along the way.
“There were a lot of interesting people from around the world,” she said. “Sometimes we’d walk with people for a week and then never see them again on the trail.”
Friends from home joined the Walls for the last two weeks of the trip — Meadow Vista resident Jennifer Bianchi and Christian Valley resident Blythe Harris.
“It was fun to share the experience with them, doing all this together,” Wall said.
There are several walking routes to the shrine and there’s a concerted effort to make it accessible to all levels of fitness and health.
“You don’t have to carry your backpack,” she said. “You can have it shipped ahead. You can walk five miles a day and (then take a bus). We met people taking a bus sometimes and then walking. Others would cycle. One man was riding his bike and his wife was riding a bus to meet him in the town.”
The final day marks the arrival in Santiago and the visit to the cathedral
“That’s where everyone is going — to see (the monument holding the remains of Saint James),” she said. “There’s a huge pilgrims’ mass. It’s packed — thousands of people. It is really exciting. We aren’t religious and didn’t go there for that. But to know that so many people sat there before you — dating back hundreds of years — it is really inspiring.”
The Walls’ book describes their day-by-day experiences along the way.
“It starts with considering the trip and discussing it,” Wall said. “It was a yearlong process deciding to do it and (agreeing to) such a commitment to make that choice.”
The book also details their training for the endeavor and provides a list of suggested gear.
“We had to train a long time,” she said. “To hike every day really takes a toll on your body.”
The Walls, who own a heating and air conditioning business in Colfax, are avid world travelers. Most recently, they spent a month in Ireland this fall. They visited Peru last spring. They describe their adventures in a travel blog, backpackingdetourstravel-blog.com.