Elaine Snider, 66, began training earlier this year with the Spokane Chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino .
She plans to start a journey on the ancient path Sept. 11.
Snider expects to walk roughly 500 miles, and she hopes to support regional causes in covering that distance.
For more than 1,000 years, people have walked the Camino De Santiago pilgrimage across Spain. The walk started in the ninth century as penance or spiritual purification for pilgrims traveling to the cathedral in the city of Santiago de Compostela, where the remains of St. James the Greater are thought to be buried.
“It’s going to take me until the 12th to get into France because of time changes,” she said. “I’m starting in France. There are several routes, some starting in Portugal, some in Germany, some in Italy.”
Snider decided to make the trip first for spiritual reasons, but later thought she could help inspire people to set goals, perhaps with local hikes, or follow her journey and offer pledges of pennies per mile toward three causes.
She wants to support Spokane Women’s Hockey, the American Cancer Society’s voucher program for families’ hotel stays near treatment and the monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, Idaho, which plans to build a bridge.
Snider said the local hockey group is supportive as a sport for women, and 20 to 80 play games without intentional contact to avoid injuries. She played for half a season September through January in 2022.
The American Cancer Society cause is a nod to the support she received when her late husband had cancer. “They have a voucher system that they make known to local hospitals that when people come for treatments, you can get low or no-cost accommodations,” she said.
That’s how they got by when her husband had to go to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona for treatment.
The St. Gertrude’s monastery has a group involving lay people as friends of the monastery. She wants to raise money to repair a deteriorating bridge connecting a bed-and-breakfast facility with the monastery’s activity center.
Snider won’t collect any funds ahead. Once she completes the mileage, she would accept donations made out to the organizations’ names. She plans to provide donors with verification of her completed walk, then donors would mail her contributions that she’ll deliver to the organizations.
She said people who are interested in contributing to one of those causes can send her an email with contact information to email@example.com. She is willing to call people back to confirm pledge details.
People also can watch her regular updates during the journey on her YouTube channel called “The Whimsical Byzantine.”