Cammini Francigeni di Sicilia

Camino For Alzheimer's Awareness - A Journey

SPECIAL NOTICE: On September 21st, World Alzheimer's Day we will begin our Camino For Alzheimer's Awareness - A Journey. For the past 5 months we have been researching this project and working in conjunction with the Alzheimers Society of British Columbia to help improve awareness and to raise money for this progressive and incurable disease. We have a new blog for this Camino journey with links to our fund raising pages on the Alzheimer Society's website which can be accessed via;

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Two Weeks!!

Almost There!! 

Here we are on the cusp of departure! Wow! Just two weeks from now and we will be taking our first actual steps on our Camino For Alzheimer’s Awareness! Over the past 10 months it often seemed as though we would never arrive at this point. There have been so many things to do with more planning than either of us initially expected. Isn’t that always the way? 

We will depart from Vancouver on September 17, destination Montpellier, France. 

We’ve enjoyed some wonderful support from family and our many friends who have warmly embraced our project and asked endless questions. They’ve patiently put up with our ongoing progress updates as we moved through the processes of establishing our purpose, sorted out gear and more recently picked up our training pace. We’ve managed to leverage social media to help broadcast our intentions, and of course there is the time proven word of mouth process. So far we’ve received some very generous support and we haven’t even started walking yet! 

Now as we near the final stages of our preparations the time seems to rush towards us like a strong Pacific storm surging ashore. There are still a few things left to do before we depart, but now we can almost see the airplane waiting for us in Vancouver. 

We will see Kathy tomorrow to find out how her “walking, walking, walking” preparations have evolved, but mostly we are gathering the family to celebrate her 65th birthday! And celebrate it we will. 

Be ready, be prepared
Our journey ahead beckons 
Familiar - yet not

Beginning on September 21st, the first day of fall, you can follow our 1,500 km journey across the Chemin d'Arlés and the Camino Frances on our new blog:

Geoff & Annemarie

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Carmacks, Yukon Territory

Land Of the Little Sticks

Midnight on the banks of the Yukon River. The land of the midnight sun...sun all night long! I'm still finding this very cool, and have long wanted to experience the sensation of not being tired at night because of the continuous daylight. Fortunately I remembered to bring my eye covers!

We are again up in the Yukon having been honoured with an invitation to our niece's wedding held in a small community. What an interesting experience! Very informal, and it's one of those events which just sort of goes with the flow. Lots of the town attended and there were many laughs, reminiscences and of course lots of good food. But that's not what I'm posting about.

Today after all the guests were gone (except us) the four of us went for a walk down to the head of the Dalton Trail which use to run from the BC-Yukon border to Carmacks at the Five Fingers Rapids. It was linked to the stage coaches in the late 1800's subsequently to the movement of cattle northwards to feed the gold rush prospectors. We walked down to the junction of the Trail with the Yukon River at the Rapids where the paddle wheeler boats use to ply the river to 40 Mile, Selkirk Fork and ultimately Dawson City. This of course is how I've managed to justify this post in the walking blog:) 

This area is wide open, has been heavily glaciated and is pretty untamed. 

This was the stable from the RCMP detachment in the area.

As we hiked along the rapids began to come into sight. 

The paddle wheelers kept to the near channel as boats today continue to do, but each year there were ongoing accidents because of the waves generated by the submerged rocks. Eventually the rocks were blasted out which made for a better experience all round. My buddy Rob has told me that he has these rapids on his kayaking wish list. Looks like fun on the far channel Rob!

I took leave of the reception dinner for a while yesterday feeling the need for a walk to settle things a bit. So I headed off along the headland above the river to see what I could see. Of course there were a few flowers along the river. After all, I t's just barely spring here.

It was late evening when I took these photos, and we haven't even reached the summer solstice yet!

So today was a really nice hike and we walked through the smallest pine trees on the planet...I think:) Hence the name of this post...a saying they have for the size of the trees here.

We fly home tomorrow, but this short visit has been wonderful, and hopefully there will be more. Next weekend, Santa Barbara, California to attend Erin's PhD grad. Looking forward to that...can't blame everyone down there for the actions of a certain unpleasant guest:)  From the far north to the almost tropics!!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Buncrana, Ireland: Heavy Cloud, high winds, 15


Today we were invited to walk with the Ramblers, a rare honour for these Canucks. This all came about with WestJet having cancelled our flight just before we left home and this provided and extra day and led to our lovely invite to join Joe and Geraldine's walking group. The group walk year round every two weeks and each person takes a turn selecting and organizing a walk. Today the walk was actually a climb up Mount Errigal "to an elevation of 751 metres which is rated hard with rough ground and steep sections". This from the official walking route guide. We all gathered in town, about 20 walkers today. We reduced the cars and then started the 45 minute drive to the national park.

Our car procession with Errigal on the right shrouded in thick cloud.

We began the walk walking on soft peat! So cool!! A first for this walker and what a nice spongy surface to coast across in the early going. Apparently we were very lucky as everyone told me that the recent dry weather has given us relief from sinking into it. Even with that we still sank into it from time to time.

This was a group walk meaning that we stopped regularly to make sure everyone was caught up and ok. A real range of walking skills in the group. 

Great views as we climbed towards the clouds. 

Did I say that this mountain is the 7th highest in Ireland and the highest in this part of the country?

Annemarie walked a bit better yesterday, but that was on the flat. Today she decided to come along, but early on realized that this would be more than her leg could handle. So she very wisely turned around and headed back down. I was really impressed with such a mature decision, though I'd probably have continued as I'm not quite so bright:). The decision point.

Looking ahead at the lower scree slopes, it proved to be a very good decision.

We soon found ourselves in the clouds.

We had some great conversations on the way up.

So now I have to take a break and finish this after dinner. We are off to the pub and there will be food, beers and music!!

Back from dinner and the pub. Lovely evening. The last few photos then I have to pack and get a few hours sleep as we will catch the early morning bus to Dublin where we will spend the day.

We walked a narrow ridge to the top with the wind just a howling! It was hard to tell if it was a 50' drop or a 300' cliff!

After the summit we backed down just a little way and had lunch, tea and a birthday cake and bubbly for one of the group. I carried one of the bottles up and it was a first for me! The cake was amazing as well. 

Then we started down through the clouds and the wind. Pretty brisk! Again I wondered what was below on either side of me. I'd only been told that we'd cross a very narrow ridge higher up. Love it:(

But then we broke through and found that the weather had deteriorated since we climbed up some hours earlier. 

But we just managed to beat the rain.

Once down it was off to have tea and biscuits, the end to a very nice day. Wonderful to walk in a new place and to meet so many nice folks who welcomed us with great friendliness. A good memory. 

The only wildlife on the mountain:)

We are close to heading for the door...and home!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Buncrana, Ireland: Sun & wind, 22

Walking The Inch!

Yes, that's correct. We walked the Inch, as in the Inch Wildlife Sanctuary. A lovely flat walk around a bird sanctuary that kept us busy for quite a while. 

It was a lovely walk on a rare sunny day in these parts. They keep you well under control and make it was difficult to get lost. 

A nice view out to an ancient castle across the salt marshes. 

It was a very quiet walk, and everyone we saw was extremely polit with their hellos and such. It is Ireland:)
From the reserve we drove up the hill to a 9thC round fort with an amazing view in all directions!

We walk over there in the hills permitting!

From there we drove into Derry where so much of the troubles took place. Lots of murals to capture the moments.

Feelings run deep, and I find myself wondering how long this will persist. Many years I'm afraid. Best to put into the past as soon as possible, but I appreciate that feelings still run deep, and experiences here were life changing.

But the real fun began when we found the first pub which was hosting the FA Cup Final in London between Manu and Chelsea. 

We had a beer...
and watched as Chelsea scored on a penalty and then parked the bus for the rest of the game. At half time we moved on to a new pub where traditional music filled the air and the pub was a classic! 

We set with some young fellows and shared some banter about the game. Felt right at home!

A great day out seeing some of this beautiful land. A good climb planned tomorrow, but the weather forecasts is a concern! Will wait to see!