Frequently Asked Questions and Packing List


Frequently Asked Questions

Who can participate?

  • The NWI Camino is open to any young adult (out of high school, 18 years or older). Families are welcome to walk together. The Erie Lackawanna trail is great for strollers.


Do I need to bring anything?

  • Pilgrims are invited to bring water bottles and any other items for their personal health such as snacks or blister care.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes.
  • Wear sunscreen!
  • A full packing list can be found below.


What can I do to prepare for the pilgrimage?

  • Start by taking mini-walks to condition yourself. The trail is mostly flat and paved.
  • Spiritually prepare yourself by thinking of a prayer intention to pray along the way. You can also find reflections in our "Walk and Reflect Guides."


Where will we be staying Saturday night?

  • Thanks to their generosity, pilgrims will be able to stay at Our Lady of Grace parish, Highland. 
  • Assuming a beautiful weather night, we will set up camp outside of OLG School.
  • Indoor Bathrooms: Bathrooms are available inside OLG School, but please note that showers are not available. Pilgrims should adopt a spirit of simplicity, taking a simple “washcloth” bath with personal toiletry items. 
  • In the event of rain: In the event of rain, OLG will remain open, with classroom space made available. Please monitor weather forecasts, and if you think you might wish to sleep indoors, please be sure to bring a sleeping pad or inflatable mattress (there are carpeted rooms). If you wish to stay overnight but cannot obtain a tent, you should plan on sleeping inside OLG School. 
  • The evening hours at OLG will provide young adults the best part of the Camino experience: friends, fellowship, and faith! If “simplicity” is not appealing to you, pilgrims may certainly choose to commute to and from the pilgrim walk. Stay at OLG for as long you wish! Consult the schedule elsewhere in this Pilgrim Guide to reconnect with the walk. 

How do I get back to my car?

  • Cars can be parked at St. Mary Parish in Crown point (starting point) or Our Lady of Grace in Highland.
  • The NWI Camino is a one way trip, so all pilgrims will have to make arrangements to get themselves— and their gear—from Crown Point, Highland, and/or Hammond during the weekend. The most ideal and fastest option is to have a friend or loved one drop you off in Crown Point and pick you up in Hammond. If this is not an option, we will make shuttle rides available back to Highland and Crown Point Sunday afternoon. Pilgrims should note that because of a very limited number of volunteer drivers, the wait time in Hammond may be prolonged. Pilgrims may also choose to utilize smartphone rideshare services Uber and Lyft, both of which operate in NW Indiana. 
  • Once you sign up, you will be invited to a private Facebook group where you can network with other pilgrims about rides.
  • More information can be found in the NWI Camino Guide Book.


Guide to Packing

One of the most important but often overlooked part of the pilgrimage is packing. Often when we travel, we overpack. We think about what we might need for “just in case” scenarios. On the pilgrim road, we recommend packing for what you really need. It may be bare bones, but your back will thank you. We’re providing you a suggested packing list. Add to it if you want, leave others out if you wish. Just remember, that anything you bring, you will be responsible for carrying (aside from tents and camping gear, which can be shuttled).

 

Packing List

 

  • Backpack: Your backpack is your most important piece of gear (aside from your shoes). Make sure the backpack is comfortable. If you already have a backpack that you think you want to use, pack it, and then take a walk. See if it fits well on your back. We suggest bringing a back with hip strips, to help distribute the weight of the bag.

  • Shoes to hike with: Train wearing the same shoes you are going to wear. The NWI Camino is mostly flat and paved. Training in your shoes will help break them in and will lessen your chances of getting blisters. Don’t wear a new pair of shoes. You will get blisters.

  • Shoes to relax in: bring a change of shoes to wear when you get to Our Lady of Grace. Sandals will help air your feet and give your shoes a rest, but wear whatever you feel comfortable in.
     
  • Two shirts: The one that you are going to wear on Saturday and one that you can wear at night and Sunday. Please note that Mass is available on Saturday at 4:30 pm. Do not feel obligated to dress up (it will just make your pack heavier). In fact, your simple, modest dress will allow others to see you as a pilgrim.
     
  • Shorts or pants: Like with shirts, one pair to hike in and one to relax/sleep in. Make sure that you are comfortable walking long distance in your choice of shorts or pants.
     
  • Hiking socks: Love your feet! Wear socks made for long distance hiking. Most sporting goods stores stock hiking socks. Merino wool socks are recommended by experienced hikers. Usually, merino wool socks that are aired out overnight are ready to be worn the next day, but it is recommended that you have a spare pair in case your first pair of shoes gets wet.

  • A change of underwear.

  • Basic toiletries: Unless you are staying off site, we won’t have access to a shower. Toothbrush, toothpaste, face products, deodorant, a little bit of soap to freshen up in the bathroom, and a washcloth. You do you. To pack light, use smaller containers. You can get a lot of product into small containers.

  • Flashlight/head light: to see at night.
     
  • Tent/sleeping bag: Whatever your personal preference. Please note, we will be providing transportation for tents and sleeping bags. Unless you want to carry them, your tent and sleeping bags will be transported to the campsite for you.
     
  • Basic first aid kit/blister bandages:  If you are not used to walking long distances in one day, you might need blister bandages. At the first signs of irritation, stop what you are doing and tend to your feet. Also, you might not end up using them, but your fellow pilgrim may need one.

  • Weather-related items: Bring a hat and/or wear sunglasses. There is one long stretch of the path that has no shady areas. If you see that it might rain, bring a poncho (that’s big enough to go over your pack to keep it dry too).

  • Water Bottle

  • Extra food:  if you would like it. There are also restaurants off of the path along the way.

  • Sunscreen: even on cloudy days, you can still get a sun burn.

  • Phone, charger, external battery.

  • Walking Sticks: optional. It depends on if you want to use them.


 

Learn how to pack efficiently.  When you pack, think of your bag as having zones:

  • Light gear (coats, sleeping bags, less frequently accessed supplies) should go on the bottom.
  • Heavy gear should be packed in the middle of bag, closest to your back.
  • Lighter gear (light weight clothing) should go in the middle of the bag, farthest from your back. 
  • Medium gear, or things that you might use more frequently, should go on top so you have easy access to it.