BendBend man takes on 1,000-mile European pilgrimage at age 76

Bend man takes on 1,000-mile European pilgrimage at age 76

Bend man takes on 1,000-mile European pilgrimage at age 76

Bend man takes on 1,000-mile European pilgrimage at age 76

A Bend man who completed the Pacific Crest Trail at age 75 is at it again, this time trekking in Europe.

Jim Elliott is hiking the Camino de Santiago— The Way of Saint James — it’s a historic thousand-mile pilgrimage from France to Spain.

It took Jim Elliott six years to hike the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada.

He took a few months off before deciding on his next adventure: The Camino de Santiago.

It began during the Middle Ages as a religious pilgrimage. Over the centuries, it has evolved into a unique experience, with various routes attracting thousands of people from all over the world.

“I think he felt that if he was going to do this one, he needed to do it this year because of his age. He’ll be 77 in October,” said Marilyn Elliott.

The Camino de Santiago or the Way of St. James, is a pilgrimage of Medieval origin to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, in the North West of Spain.

Legend has it that the remains of the Apostle Saint James the Great were buried there. 

“A lot of people have different reasons for going. For him, I believe it’s just another challenge. For a lot of people it’s religious. Partially, it’s religious for him as well.” 

Jim Elliott is taking the Camino Frances, the most famous Camino de Santiago trail about 1,000 miles through the south of France and northern Spain.  

It’s been featured in movies and books such as The Way with Martin Sheen and The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho.

“On the PCT, he didn’t have to worry about where he was going to stay. He could stop any time he wanted. He had all his food, water. He had everything he needed. Now if he’s between towns or can’t get a place to stay for the night…he just feels its going to be a little more challenging that way.”

Like she did during her husband’s Pacific Crest Trail adventure, Marilyn Elliott is keeping family and friends informed of his progress via email updates.

“The first four nights he has reservations. After that, you make them as you go along.”

If all goes according to plan, a few days after completing the Camino de Santiago, Jim Elliott will hop on a plane and meet his sister in Johannesburg for a two-week African safari.

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