Monday, April 14, 2014

It's already begun...

I've been walking for a week and this has been the first opportunity to update this blog, really.

The Annual Gathering of American Pilgrims on the Camino was a hoot and a half from April 3rd-6th at Our Lady of the Snows Shrine in Belleville, IL.  I began walking on the pilgrimage back to the Santuario de Chimayo on Monday morning along the Katy Trail, an old railbed on the north bank of the Missouri River.  Today, on Day 8 and 170 miles of the pilgrimage, I arrived at the beginning of the Santa Fe Trail in Boonville, Missouri.  The plan is to take it to the end and then another few days to Chimayo by the end of May.

To have a couple of hundred pilgrims send me off on the pilgrim trail was a fabulous start.  I've stayed a few nights with families, other nights in church halls - Catholic, Methodist, and United Church of Christ.  Yet again, my experiences clearly demonstrate that being a pilgrim here in the USA is as rewarding as in Europe.  The idea of walking to a pilgrim destination may not be as common here, but helping someone out by offering a dry, warm, safe place to sleep and a meal is an ingrained commonality of humanity.

The Katy Trail is a wonderful asset to Missourians - harmonious nature and wildlife... I've seen various chatty and colorful birds and waterfowl, sundry ground rodents, deer, turtles, plentiful young snakes some no bigger than a Number 2 pencil, and this morning a noisy skirmish between a large bobcat and redtail hawk.  Episodes of American history are thoroughly explained on information kiosks.

The ease of a well-marked gravel-packed footpath is over for me now; the Santa Fe Trail is a list of historic placenames with the original path paved over or plowed under.  There are markers along the highways stating that the Santa Fe Trail passed nearby, but not having an interest in walking on highways, I'll just find my way across farmfields, so is the plan.

Great shout-outs to all those who have helped me so far, to the ladies at Abigail's Cafe in Rocheport who fed me while the search was underway to find the guy with the key to the church where I slept; to the lovely family at the Hermann Hotel who offered delicious southern Inda-style food and a comfortable bed as an alternative to spending the night alone in a house with a priest; to everyone, of course - everyone who helps a pilgrim becomes part of the pilgrimage.  The world needs more pilgrims!


James Adams said...

Winter Pilgrim Ann:

Thanks for update on your Katy Trail pilgrim walk and the welcome you got from churches and the restaurant in Rocheport. I'm real curious about what you found to overnight in Mokane, which as I recall was just a crossroads near the River.

James Adams said...

Also, Ann, how did you make out the first night at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Cottleville, MO