Today was our last long day of walking. We had to go about 30k today. Tomorrow, we will arrive in Santiago early in the day after finishing our 10k walk. Many dads were spending a lot of alone time with their sons today.

I got off to a slower start today while visiting with another person from our group.  My boys decided they wanted to go on up ahead. Eventually, I said goodbye to the slower dads and told them that I was off to catch my sons. I put my headphones in, started my workout music playlist, and got to work. I wasn’t sure how far ahead they had made it, but they had about an hour head start of faster walking.

When you see people from 1,000 feet a lot of details vanish. You might be able to see a little color, but beyond that they are too far away. As I looked at the tiny dots far away, I was trying to determine if my boys were in a crowd of people far off or even further ahead. At that distance, movement is most notable. It was then that I spotted Gus. His arched back and long legs gives him a particular gate that I couldn’t miss. It was unmistakable. A few hundred feet further and I spotted Gabe. One of his feet turns more to one side than the other and that gives his pack a specific bounce when he walks.

That’s when the tears started. The BNL song that was playing on my headphones didn’t help. I realized that I know these boys pretty well. Between this walk, the last Camino, a Father Kapaun Pilgrimage and countless practice walks, I have walked side by side with them for well over 1,000 miles. I know them. I love them. I have had the privilege of spending an enormous amount of time getting to these two fine young men.

As a father, I know that they will soon be their own men. I am going to lose a lot of the detail in their lives, but I will see their movement. I will see how they will affect the world. I will be able to see the footprint they leave. It gets me excited for their future and makes me very proud to know them so well.

It took me about 45 minutes to catch them, but there was no way I was giving up.