Our Camino Starts AT REI

Jackie at REI         Jackie at REI (The Most Fashionable Pilgrim)


I know the Camino de Santiago Frances is 800 km and takes about five weeks to walk, but I feel like our walk started last Tuesday, March 18, when Jackie and I made our first pilgrimage…to the REI store in Troy. (Oh…..and we didn’t walk….we drove)

At that store, we bought our hiking boots and did some backpack fittings.

I’m sure the Camino will result in culture shock, but so did the REI store, which is “Hiker’s Heaven.” The store sells all forms of hiking equipment, clothing, etc.

We know nothing about any of it.

But we are going to.

And with that attitude, we found boots that fit with thick wool socks, and I managed to pick up a backpack that had a lot of features that sounded important.

Jackie, on the other hand, couldn’t find a pack to fit properly…..and she tried. She is, how do you say,  “Chest-Challenged.”

Actually, the sales associate thought he had found the one she needed, fit it to her, and proceeded to fill it with nearly 40 pounds of bean bags. This was so she could “really get a feel of how it fit.” What she found was that it fit terrible, in fact, and that she would rather not be “fitted” by a leering salesman. She sprinted out the store sans backpack.

But, we are now REI members (it’s a cooperative buying company). We have boots—though Jackie thought her boots made her feet “look big.” We’ll eventually make a return trip for sleeping bags and pads and other stuff—as soon as we know what we “need.”

And a couple of days later, Jackie found a pack that did indeed fit at a Dunham’s store. (It obviously fit her better, but I know the deciding point was that she liked the color. She probably wouldn’t admit to that, though.)
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I do very little in moderation. If I am buying takeout food for the two of us, I buy enough so that we will have a backup if our original choices aren’t pleasing. I don’t buy one magazine. I buy any magazine that someday I may open. I don’t buy one kind of ice cream, I buy two or three or four.

The same occurs regarding books on the Camino. I bought my first ones last week on Amazon. It is now eight days later—I’ve bought 22.

Jackie suggests I may be over thinking it a little.

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