Walking the Entire California Mission Trail.
After several hikes with my wife on different trails that led to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, it seemed like there should be a worthwhile hike on this side of the pond. To be a contender for an urban type hike, it would need to have:
- A clear starting and ending point.
- Points of interest that would make the hike unique.
- Places to stay (campgrounds, hostels, motels) within a reasonable day's hike of each other, and
- Places to eat or buy food along the way to avoid an excessively heavy backpack.Mission San Diego De Alcala (Photo credit: mikol_ice)
The only real alternative seemed to be California's 21 old Spanish missions along the El Camino Real. Although I thought it would be as easy as finding someone's blog and retracing their steps, it soon appeared that no one had done this hike in recent history. After three or four months of Googling, reading, quizzing people, driving, bicycling and walking, I finally plotted a walking route that seemed do-able from San Diego to Sonoma, a total of about 800 miles.
My wife, Sandy, and I had met an Italian pilgrim, Beppe Sala, while hiking in Spain. He thought it sounded like a worthwhile adventure also, so he flew to L.A. to join us. Finally, in early March of 2011, Beppe, my wife and I headed north from San Diego to rediscover life on El Camino Real.