Friday, February 1, 2013

Your Turn to Hike the Camino!

You might be asking what I've been up to since I finished hiking the Camino. It's been about three and a half months since I ended my hike and headed home. At first, most of my time was spent catching up with work on Atlas Quest and writing blog entries. The blog entries became a morning ritual for me, writing until lunch each morning. I don't really much like writing and never really got into it--sorry about all the spelling and grammatical errors in my posts. I just didn't have the heart to ever go back and read what I wrote. I just wanted them DONE so I could get on with "better things." In the afternoons, I typically worked on Atlas Quest, catching up with all sorts of tasks and chores that piled up while I was gone.

I finished the blog entries the first week of December, though, which finally gave me time to work on a new project--a walking website--and nearly all of my free time has been going into this new project ever since. It's an idea I wanted to run with for years but never seemed to have the time or drive to make it happen, but it was finally time to turn it into a reality.

While I was walking the Camino, I made a point of taking at least one photo for every kilometer of the trail. By the end of the trail, I had about 7,000 photos--averaing about seven photos per mile. Not all of the photos are useable--many were essentially duplicates with different exposure levels while others were blurry--but I had a heck of a lot of photos, and I could turn them into a virtual hike.

It works like this. You walk around during the day, then you can log into http://www.Walking4Fun.com and enter how much you walked during the day. The website will show where you would be on the trail if you took all your steps on the Camino, including a nice little map with your position plotted onto it and photos of the section of trail you would have virtually hiked that day.

Here's a screenshot I took of http://www.walking4fun.com -- I started my virtual walk
of the Camino Frances on December 1st of last year and I'm already 75% done by January 20th!
I'm marketing it as a health/fitness/weight-loss type of website, because it's true--walking is healthy! I lost 20 pounds during my two months on the trail, and I could (and did!) eat absolutely anything I wanted to, as much as I wanted to, whenever I wanted to. In fact, I deliberately avoided anything labeled "low fat" or "diet" because I needed to consume more calories. It's like that on all of my thru-hikes. However, I'm well aware that walking around in circles around your neighborhood might grow monotonous, but I figured it might make walking a bit more fun to see your miles add up day after day and how far such miles could carry you.

It's more-or-less coincidence that my new website is ready at about the same time this blog is coming to an end, but if you'd like to see more Camino photos--I used about 4,000 of the 7,000 photos I took on this hike--there are, quite literally, thousands of photos on it that I never used on this blog! But to see them all, there is a catch: You have to virtually hike the Camino on my new website. So sign up now (it's free!) and get walking!

For those of you who'd like to virtually hike a trail somewhat closer to home, I'm also working on adding a route for the Pacific Crest Trail. I tried to take at least one photo for every mile when I hiked that trail as well (I've had this idea for a website incubating for a few years now, and I averaged about 2 photos per mile on the PCT). It's *almost* completely entered, but you can start hiking out from the Mexican border right now. The maps for the PCT are done and all of the photos for the entire trail are uploaded. The photos are only captioned through California, but I should have the rest of them done long before anyone manages to virtually walk that far. =)

Unfortunately, I didn't think to take so many photos during my thru-hikes of the Florida Trail, Alabama Trail, or the Appalachian Trail, so those routes won't be added to this website. But you can bet any future hikes I do will be added!

So what should my next hike be? My short list of candidates includes the Long Trail, the Tahoe Rim Trail, the Colorado Trail, the Arizona Trail, the New England Trail, and the Finger Lakes Trail. =)

You can also add friends to your account and see where they are on the trail in relation
to you. (Don't let the fact that I'm so far ahead of all of my testers reflect
badly on them--I started my virtual hike on December 1st, but my testers
didn't come on board until nearly a month later!)


When I first wrote this blog entry (Jan 21), I added the PCT only as far as Lake Tahoe.
I've since finished mapping the rest of the PCT, though, and the PCT is
open and ready for hikers! =)


I divide the Camino route I followed into two separate sections since the two trails
were so different. They really did feel more like two separate trails, one
right after the other, rather than a single long trail. Both Camino routes have been
completely entered into the database, though.

5 comments:

Little Louie said...

I like your idea Ryan and it was fun to read your adventures!

Aiphid said...

I bet there are a ton of boxes on the New England trail :)

lou p otter said...

I just got the pedometer recommended by, was it you Aphid?
I walk to work everyday.
Now I have something to do with all of my miles I accumulate.

Anonymous said...

Very cool!
Ona Journey

Anonymous said...

Good future hike choices. I love the FLT! Have you ever considered the Bruce Trail? or the International Appalachian Trail into Atlantic Canada?