I learned something on my first two days on the Camino del Norte that would be a common theme for most of my days  — once you descend to sea level, there is usually a climb right ahead. So I had just completed over a 350 meter climb from San Sebastián to the farming community of Munioetazar and began my descent to the town of Orio. This day was also typical of most by the sea for each climb had a series of descents where you made up the lost elevation. Each descent usually had climbs soon followed by a loss of that elevation and more. It was no wonder that I was exhausted by the end of each day!

I found my walking companions on a patio of a café in one of the small communities before Munioetazar, and after a short break of my own, we were on our way. I left my last post, On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, San Sebastián to Munioetazar, overlooking this beautiful scene with the Basque farmhouse and the Bay of Biscay. A nearby sign stated that we have nine kilometers to Orio. Let’s continue…

Basque house Sea Munioetazar Camino Del Norte Spain On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Munioetazar to Orio Continue Reading…

Every once in a while, I feel the need to do something out of my comfort range. While for some, staying overnight on top of a mountain without a tent or sleeping bag is no big deal, for me, it was something I had experienced only one other time in my life. That was an unplanned, and rather uncomfortable incident, but I survived. However, this time, I was prepared and ready for an amazing night on Panorama Ridge.

I sat on the large rock overlooking Garibaldi Lake well into the morning. I had a group of four campers bundled in their sleeping bags nearby so I no longer felt nervous that I’d be disturbed in the middle of the night by a hiking Grizzly Bear, a giant flesh-eating Marmot, or aliens from a planet without beautiful mountains. I observed the peaceful night until tiredness and a chill set in. Although I thought I had been prepared, the cool breeze persisted through the night and reminded me that I was one layer short of clothing.

I left my last post Under A Supermoon, Garibaldi Park at Sunset, after an unforgettable sunset in Garibaldi Provincial Park, between Squamish and Whistler, Canada. I was excited as the full moon rose over the ridge between Mount Carr and The Sphinx.

full moon Garibaldi Park Panorama Ridge Under A Supermoon, Garibaldi Park at Sunrise

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An early start! That is my advice for those walking the Camino del Norte from San Sebastián during the busy summer. As opposed to the Camino Francés, the albergues are not as frequent or often don’t have many beds. If you enjoy walking into the evening, like I do, you just may find yourself out of luck, or sleeping under a tree.

At 20 kilometers away, the large town of Zarautz is a popular spot to spend your second night (or first) on the Camino del Norte. However, awaiting you is over 300 meters of elevation gain with numerous ups and downs, and a steep descent to Zarautz. It’s certainly a different track compared to the relatively easy walk that those on the Camino Francés experience on their second day from Roncesvalles to Larrasoaña or Pamplona. As for me, I would continue past Zarautz, and learn a lesson on how different the del Norte is from the Camino Francés in terms of difficulty and accommodation availability.

I left my last post, An Evening in San Sebastian, Spain, On and off the Camino del Norte, facing Monte Igueldo from Playa de Ondarreta. I stayed near this spot at the municipal albergue which was fine but a little overcrowded. I didn’t sleep well and had trouble getting my tired body moving in the morning. My walking companions who I had met the previous day waited, but I told them to go ahead and I’ll catch up.

sunset Monte Igueldo San Sebastian spain On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, San Sebastián to Munioetazar

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There is a large, flat rock on the first bump of Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Provincial Park, north of Vancouver, Canada. It provides a seat to rest and enjoy one of the best panoramic vistas that I have ever seen — mountains including Mount Garibaldi, Mount Price, and Black Tusk, glaciers including Sphinx and Sentinel, and, of course, the turquoise waters of Garibaldi Lake.

I had always thought about watching the sunset from this very rock. Years went by and it was still one of my top hiking experiences to fulfill. Then again, to watch the sunrise over Garibaldi Lake from the same spot must also be an amazing experience. But wait! When I saw the harvest moon rise over Panorama Ridge while I was hiking late in the Black Tusk meadows two years previously, I was awestruck and decided one day, I would watch the full moon rise over Garibaldi Lake. As this past Spring turned into Summer, and with the then approaching July full moon, I had an idea to experience all three on one visit.

With hot weather and clear skies forecasted, my mind was made up and I looked forward to a brand new adventure. My plan was not to pitch a tent or bring a sleeping bag, but to sit on that very rock for the night and watch the sunset over the Tantalus mountains to the West, the full moon rise and slowly make it’s way over Garibaldi Lake, and then the sunrise to the East. It would also be an experience that I wasn’t accustomed to. It could be a little eerie on the ridge alone and I was concerned about the night temperature that high up. On a beautiful Summer afternoon, I packed the best I saw fit and set off for the Black Tusk parking area, just south of Whistler.

After about five hours of hiking, I arrived in late evening to this beautiful vista from Panorama Ridge.

Garibaldi Lake Park Panorama Ridge evening Under A Supermoon, Garibaldi Park at Sunset

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Planning one evening in San Sebastian can be a little difficult if you haven’t visited before. Do you stroll through the historic city or walk along its magnificent three kilometers of beaches. I must admit that Zurriola Beach, Playa de la Concha, and Playa de Ondarreta sure looked enticing when I viewed over the city earlier that afternoon. But I also wanted to walk along the historic city streets and visit the cathedral! Well, I tried to do it all including going out for dinner, which resulted in a very long first day on the Camino del Norte, and, for a few minutes, being locked out of my alberque.

I left my last post, On and off the Camino del Norte in San Sebastian, Spain, here, at Playa de Ondarreta facing Monte Igueldo. Now lets continue an evening walk in San Sebastian, Euskadi / Basque Country.

Zurriola Beach San Sebastian Spain An Evening in San Sebastian, Spain, On and off the Camino del Norte

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On this guest post, New York Times bestselling novelist, Eileen Goudge, shows us where she goes for inspiration, and takes us on a little journey around Santa Cruz, California, the setting for her new book, Bones and Roses.

Where do I go for inspiration? Where else but the beach? It’s where I get my best ideas. My writing career began here, in Santa Cruz, California, where I lived from the early 1970’s to 1983, when I moved to New York City to seek my fortune. I go back there for a month each year to write at my sister’s beach house. It was during a recent visit, while strolling along the shore, that I got the idea for my new Cypress Bay mystery series. The first book in the series, Bones and Roses, came out on August 5th, roughly a year since inspiration struck. My fictional town of Cypress Bay, California, is modeled after Santa Cruz, in fact.

What a year it’s been! I’ve been back to my hometown twice, both times with my trusty laptop to get in some serious writing time. Five of my author pals came for a long weekend in January of this year, and I confess I didn’t get any writing done those four days. Most of the time we sat around, drinking wine and gossiping, when we weren’t taking long walks on the beach or sightseeing. But mainly what I do when I’m at the beach is write, and when I’m not at my computer, woolgather to the sound of the surf.

The beach at Manresa State Park where I take my daily strolls.

Manresa State Park Beach Santa Cruz California A Journey to Santa Cruz, California With Eileen Goudge

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