This pilgrimage will more than likely end with the traditional arriving pilgrim blessing in the French language when I arrive - insha'allah - at the Basilique Sainte-Anne de Beaupré a day's walk beyond Québec City by Easter, so goes the plan.
Having demonstrated that blogging is not my strength, I promise to strive for fortnightly updates if not more frequent. The challenge I've experienced in these recent years is that when people ask - 'how can I help you, pilgrim' I answer that I could use a computer to update my blog and check my emails. They more and more have been offering me hand-held devices, which I find a tad awkward to use to update my blog or to reply to emails. I'll endeavor to do my best.
Wisconsin Way, I'll walk it from west to east starting in La Crosse, where there is a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe and continue to the shrine Our Lady of Good Help, near to Green Bay, which is where I'm targeting for Christmas.
Continuing eastward, I plan to cross into Canada at Sault Ste Marie, and then play around the area where the early Jesuit missionaries did their thing. There seems to be a lot of history in the area, and I can anticipate an equal amount of snow, so the path I take may be a circuitous one. I'm looking forward to all of it...but then, don't I always?
Before firing off a comment letting me know it will be cold... I am aware. I experienced exhilarating cold last winter in the Transcarpathians, and part of my off-season's efforts have been in developing new and improved winter pilgrim clothing...there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad preparation. This season on the pilgrim runway, we've got a heat-reflective petticoat made from a Columbia OmniHeat shirt from last season, to be worn beneath my regular walking skirt. For the lower legs, I'll be wearing tailored leggings made from boiled wool and lined with the OmniHeat fabric (the sleeves of the shirt) that will come over my boots to protect them from being infilled with snow - a lesson learned in snowy Montenegro. Of course, I have an intact OmniHeat shirt to complete the heat barrier. For the outer layer, I'm now outfitted with an easy-to-don rainskirt that will fashionably and functionally defy any amount of wind, snow, and beating rain. Bring it on. A new raincape, this season in a sporting teal (the only color in the green family available from Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics seconds bin when the order was placed). Finally, my steadfast wool hat from Paris that has been with me from the beginning has been pimped-up with a disc of the OmniHeat fabric, to hold in any remnant of body heat with thoughts of escape. The snowshoes are attached to the pack awaiting the first big snow.
New also this year is an official Society of Servant Pilgrims front page on my pilgrim credential - already stamped and signed by the Archbishop of Denver... in the ancient pilgrim tradition, I'm a declared pilgrim on pilgrimage and can prove it.