After an unusually warm and sunny October, we are into November, and I am on the long stretches of the meseta where there are endless fields with little shade in the summer. These days are heavily overcast, very windy (headwinds, of course) and threatening to rain, so I had a good test of my more wintery gear.
One nice thing about walking alone is that I can stop as often and as long as I like, to adjust whatever needs adjusting. And I did! I am pleased to report that my stuff did well.
A few observations…
1. I have several carabiners and, of course, diaper pins, scattered over equipment ready for use. They are useful for hanging socks to dry, attaching loops from jacket hood so it doesn’t constantly blow off my head, relieving weight of neck pouch, and much more. I can fold my walking sticks and attach them to my pack straps without removing it.
2. My merino wool buff is fabulous. I have a complex engineering routine wherein the buff is raised and lowered over my head and neck, to regulate body temperature. The exertion changes as I go up and down hills, and my more fixed items of apparel (fleece, rain jacket, pack) are harder to change. So the buff is key to comfort. (I should mention, though, that camino-buff-head is much worse that regular bed-head or hat head. If you care, you’ll need to figure out another solution! )
3. Lightweight MEC jacket in a size too large is perfect. Sleeves are too long but fold up for normal use and down to protect hands. Jacket is roomy enough to cover many layers for warmth and still accommodate my guide book/camera/misc. bag tucked inside the front like a kangaroo pouch.
4. Boots are great now that my baby-toe-blister has turned into a formidable callous. The challenge in weeks to come will be to deal with wet boots, something I haven’t had yet.)
5. Walking poles help entertain me on long stretches. They are like drumsticks and I practice different rythyms and patterns as I walk, even without music.