Saturday, May 31, 2014

Pilgrims’ Progress #4: The Genesis of My Camino

For this entry, I interviewed Brent to find out how the idea of the Camino became a reality.  In his words...

For years I have been fascinated by long distance hikes.  In the past several years, the family had completed several shorter backpacking adventures, traveling to places like Minnesota (Superior Hiking Trail), Colorado (Colorado Hiking Trail, Continental Divide Trail), Alaska (Denali), Arizona (Superstition Mountains), Michigan (Isle Royale), Texas (Big Bend), and Tennessee (Appalachian Trail) to do parts of those trails, but I always wondered how far I could push myself physically and mentally.  So, a couple of years ago, I became interested in the John Muir trail in California, and as I was sitting in Jethro’s BBQ in Ankeny explaining my plans to hike it in the fall of 2013 (I did it! My first mega-hike!  We covered 200 miles in less than two weeks –finishing our hike by climbing to the top of Mount Whitney!), my friend Todd asked me if I had ever heard of the Camino de Santiago.  I told him that I hadn’t heard of this 500 mile long “ancient pilgrimage” but that I thought it sounded exciting. 

As my friend elaborated, I became fascinated with this romantic-sounding hike and its appealing location in rural Northern Spain.  Seeing my interest, Todd suggested I watch the movie, The Way, which is a film directed, produced and written by Emilio Estevez, starring his father Martin Sheen, that tells the story of a son who attempts the Camino de Santiago and a father who finishes it for him.  That night, I went home and did numerous Internet searches on the Camino de Santiago and was instantly intrigued with the challenge and the uniqueness of such a hike.  Then, I gathered the family together in front of the large screen TV and we watched the movie. I was hooked.  The family was hooked.  That is the whole family, minus Luke.

Later that weekend, as we were eating supper on the screened porch, Luke’s friend, Greg, stopped over to join us.  We filled him in our new fascination with the Camino, and I told him, half in jest, that we were planning to take a month next summer to spend it in Europe on a big adventure.  In general, the idea was gaining momentum with most of the family.  Luke wasn’t quite sure he wanted to go, thinking he might rather lead a mission trip to China next summer instead.  When Greg heard this, he was appalled and said, “If Luke’s crazy enough not to go, take me instead!”  As it ended up, the rest of the family eventually embraced the Camino idea, and Luke still decided NOT to go, much to his mother’s dismay.  He is in China now as I speak.  And we aren’t taking a replacement.  Sorry Greg!

And though Luke’s heart was captured by China and God’s work there (and really, what parent can chide their child for that?), the rest of the Haverkamps have chosen to fall in love with the Camino de Santiago in this the summer of 2014.

And that’s where it all began.

Buen Camino!

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