Saturday, October 31, 2015

Winter is again nigh...

Tomorrow the winter pilgrimage begins for me.  The plan is to leave Denver with a worthy pilgrim send-off at an early Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe church - the official setting-out pilgrim blessing, albeit in the very fast Chihuahuan Spanish of Padre Benito, who walked with me on pilgrimage to the Santuario de Chimayo a few years back.

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.

So I'm off in the morning - the first stage will be to walk out the South Platte River to the confluence with the North Platte, thence through Lincoln (Thanksgiving) and across Iowa to Wisconsin.  Wisconsin now holds an interesting pilgrim route to be explored.  Fr. Andrew Kurz has been developing a route connecting four shrines in the central part of the state.  Called the 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.


Éric Laliberté, Boots'n bike - Pilgrim all the way said...

What a great project!
We will follow this winter and be waiting for you in Quebec. :)
Enjoy your Pilgrimage!
Peace and all goods!

Eric Laliberte
Bottes et Vélo
(Boots'n Bike - Pilgrim all the way)

Gabriela said...

Hi Ann! Glad to see you are okay and visit a lot of wonderful places.
I don't know if you remember me, but like three years ago, in Huentelauquén (Chile) you pass the nigh in a little church. Behind to that church, was the house of a old man, him wife and they grandaughter. Well, i'm that girl
I hope you be fine, and I pray for you safety and happiness
My english isn't really good, but I try xD

A big huge for you

Michèle Dextras said...

When you mentioned after your last pilgrimage that you would next come up to Canada, I had decided that I would be there to greet you in St. Anne de Beaupré. But alas, Easter is in March this year and we will be in your country in the state of Florida.

Don't forget that you need something to cover your face because in -35 celsius in Ontario and Québec, skin freezes in about 15 minutes!

Good luck, Bueno Camino and I will follow you along!


Michèle Dextras said...

Looking more closely at your map I just realized that you are passing by Ottawa where I live! I am so sorry to miss you!


pilgrimpoustinik said...

Good walking, Ann. I love your spirit of facing the challenge. You will be in my fervent prayers each day. I will be following you along on your map, and be eagerly checking for your postings when you are able to make them. May your Guardian Angel protect you each step of the way. In Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Pilgrim George

Unknown said...

Praying and been thinking of you. MILDRED & MARK