Emily grew up on a dairy farm near Matamata, has a passion for the outdoors, and has enjoyed hiking from an early age.
She is currently an instructor and assistant manager at the Aongatete Outdoor Education Centre.
In 2016 her parents decided to undertake the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James).
Last year Emily followed suit and took on one of the popular routes called The French Way.
Emily gave us a fascinating description of her experiences on this epic 30-day walk covering a distance of some 840 kilometres.
Beginning on the French side of the border in the Pyrenees mountains the route passes through the major cities of Pamplona, Burgos, and Leon. It “finishes” at the cathedral in Santiago where St James is reputedly buried. Some continue on to the Atlantic coast. Emily told us about her planning, packing (as little as possible), descending from the Pyrenees onto the flatter country where, between Burgos and Leon, walkers typically encounter major mental challenges to keep going.
She liked to start walking before daybreak and even walked at night, navigating by the stars! Cafes closed for the siesta (12 noon-2pm) and a great variety of terrain and accommodation was encountered. She often preferred to walk alone, but sometimes found friendly companions. Nearer Santiago the Camino becomes increasingly busy, if not crowded. Emily felt bound to attend a service in the cathedral at Santiago.