Camino and Hiking Events in November 2016

Here’s a roundup of Camino related and hiking events in the SF Bay Area for the month of November.  For those who live elsewhere, there are Camino hotspots all over the USA and the APOC website has a listing of local chapters where you can find Camino events. There are also many active Facebook groups to learn about events in your region.

Camino Welcome Home Potluck & Party
Oakland, CA

Saturday, November 12, 2016, 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Help us celebrate this year’s returning pilgrims at our annual Welcome Home Potluck & Party on Saturday, November 12. Well be gathering at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Oakland, near the border with Berkeley. Were excited to have fellow pilgrim, Stephanie Dodaro, give a special presentation on her California El Camino Real Walk from Sonoma to San Diego in 2012. As always, returnees will have an opportunity to introduce themselves and share a little about their experience. And lets continue our winning record by bringing along a super-delicious dish to share (main, side, salad, dessert). Extra points for something inspired by the Camino. Wine counts, too! Doors open at 10:30 AM and we plan to finish up by 3:30 PM. RSVP required (see below for instructions).

Program: A general schedule of activities.

  • 10:30 Doors open, check in, El Rastro
  • 11:00-11:30 Welcome, chapter announcements
  • 11:30-12:30 California El Camino Real presentation and Q&A
  • 12:30-1:30 Lunch, El Rastro (cont’d)
  • 1:30-1:45 Group photos
  • 1:45-2:45 Returnee intros
  • 2:45-3:00 Camino “re-entry” tips, closing

Volunteer Help: If you can help us with setting up, feel free to arrive at 9:45 AM. We can also use help with cleaning up afterwards.

Returnee Intros: If you’d like to share during the after-lunch hour, we welcome you to let us know when you walked, what route, and, if you wish, one (please, just one) takeaway, lesson or special experience from your Camino. To keep things moving along, well keep presentations to a few minutes per person.

El Rastro: El Rastro is a gigantic flea market in Madrid. Well hold our own version again. Bring your excess gear, memorabilia, guidebooks and other good junk you thought you needed, but don’t anymore. There will be an area to display your items. This will be a cash free zone. Bring it and forget it! See something you want? Take it.

RSVP: by Thursday, November 10.

Getting There: St. Augustine is located at 400 Alcatraz Ave. off of College Ave. in Oakland.  For more/other directions, use Google Maps:

Hikes with Scott Williams

Scott “Shroomer” Williams has a few hikes announced in his latest Hike Alerts email. Warning: these challenging hikes are great Camino training, but not for the faint-hearted. To subscribe to his Hike Alerts, email Scott.  Learn more about Scott and my experience on the Mount Diablo Hike. (He’s leading this same hike on Tues. 11/8/16)

Excerpt from Scott’s Hike Alerts below:

Mt. Diablo on Burma Road
Tuesday, November 8, 8am – 1pm
 I’ll be climbing Mt. Diablo on the Burma Road.  This trail has grades of 42 percent, sections that are very steep.  It’s a great hike but tough!  I’ll meet people at the Peet’s Coffee at 1835 Ygnacio Valley Road (near the corner of Bancroft) in Walnut Creek, at 8am so we can car pool into the State Park.  A map can be found at  Driving into the park is $10 if you want to bring your own car.

Briones Hike
Thursday, November 10, 8am – noon: 
Three to four hour hike in Briones Regional Park beginning at the Old Briones Rd. trailhead.  I’ll be meeting folks at the Briones Road Trailhead at the end of Briones Rd. at 8am for a 3 to 4 hour, ring hike of the park.  There are some steep climbs and most of the trail is up and down hills on the old dirt ranching roads that criss cross the area.  This is a moderately strenuous hike, at times on grassy hills and at others in dense forest, but bring a sun hat for those exposed ridges.  I’m hoping to be back to our cars by noon or  maybe sooner.  The beginning of this hike is suitable for beginners, however, as the elevation gains are gentle the first few miles.

Mt. Diablo Climb from Mitchell Canyon and Grand Loop
Sunday, November 13, 8:30 am
 I’ll meet people at the Peet’s Coffee at 1835 Ygnacio Valley Road (near the corner of Bancroft) in Walnut Creek, at 8:30am so we can car pool into the State Park.  A map can be found at  It is $5 to park at the Mitchell Canyon entrance in Clayton.  Or, you can simply meet me at 9am at the Mitchell Canyon trailhead in Clayton.   This will be a hike that includes the summiting of Mt. Diablo and a return via the Grand Loop Trail.  If it’s a clear day, the view from the summit of Mt. Diablo of the Sierra and Coastal Ranges out to the Farallon Islands is marvelous and one of the biggest views in the entire country.  For you PCTers, you’ll see 700 to 800 miles of your trail at a glance.  Spectacular!

This is a beautiful hike that begins quite gently and those first few miles are suitable for beginning hikers.  Simply turn back before you wear yourself out and enjoy the lovely, cool riparian canyon those first few miles present.  Eventually however we turn sharply uphill and the rest of the hike is moderately strenuous to very strenuous.  It is approximately 14 miles and 4,000 vertical feet, a gorgeous hike all day!  It’s great training for whatever your summer holds in store.

If you have a map of Diablo, our trail begins at the Mitchell Canyon parking lot and travels up the old Mitchell Canyon Rd. eventually branching right onto Deer Flat Rd to Juniper Camp where there are bathrooms, water, hot showers if you need one and picnic tables.  We turn left at the group camp near the North Gate Rd and begin our final climb to the summit on the Juniper Trail.  From the summit we’ll descend via the Summit Trail and quickly branch left onto the North Peak Trail.  At Prospector’s Gap go left onto the Bald Ridge Trail and we’ll follow this to Murchio Gap where we turn left and descend to a meeting with Old Mitchell Canyon Rd and return to our cars.

Bring a lunch, afternoon snack, lots of water, clothing for the weather, hiking poles and a flashlight in case your hike goes long.

San Francisco to Sausalito Hike

Sunday, November 27, 10:00 AM

Open to current American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC) members.
The 12-mile hike will be from San Francisco to Sausalito along the waterfront through Fisherman’s Wharf, across the Golden Gate Bridge and then into Sausalito. It will be a moderately paced hike, mostly on flat pavement with lots of wonderful view stops. However, be advised that there is a steep uphill segment to the bridge and a steep downhill. We will return to San Francisco on the 5:35 PM ferry (bring a Clipper Card). Because the hike is 12 miles, it is recommended for experienced hikers who have done at least three 8-10 mile hikes recently.


Golden Gate Bridge from Battery East Trail, San Francisco

Bring: sturdy walking shoes, water and a lunch.
Meet: in front of the main entrance to the Ferry Building at 10:00 AM. We leave at 10:15 AM sharp. Early birds can join us for coffee at Pete’s.
Take: BART (meet in the last car) and avoid the hassle of driving and parking. Catch the train which leaves from Walnut Creek (or other stations along the line) at 8:54 AM and arrives at Embarcadero at 9:32 AM. Walk across the street (Embarcadero) to the Ferry Building. People from Marin can take a Golden Gate bus to downtown SF.
Return: to the Ferry Building at 6:05 PM via ferry.
Leader: Dick Duker.
Level of Difficulty: 3A (10 to less than 15 miles, less than 1,000 ft elevation gain).
Open to current American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC) members. Cancelled by rain. We will go in drizzle, however.
Must be a member of Peregrinos NorCal Facebook Group

Pole Hiking Workshops

The East Bay Regional Parks District offers poles technique workshops and hikes.

POLE WALKING & POLE HIKING: Learning how to use poles helps walkers & hikers improve endurance, posture, balance, confidence, strength and enhances enjoyment of the outdoors. All levels focus on learning anatomically-optimal techniques to achieve greater skill while learning how to avoid joint stress or strain. Carefully select the class that best suits your physical ability. A variety of top quality poles are provided at all seminars. Hiking locations are based on the season/weather. Mobility class locations offer indoor training and lovely/easy pole walk for practice.
Instructor: Adventure Buddies

Poles: Basic Hiking Skills & Techniques – 14887
Saturday, December 3, 2016 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Location:  Kennedy Grove: Fern Cottage
KENNEDY GROVE – Morning session helps hikers learn poles, trail and body skills. Beginner to experienced hikers will learn techniques without the additional time or challenge of a practice hike. Uphill: Improve power, endurance, spine function. Downhill: Learn techniques for feeling safer and preserving joints – Save your knees!

$39.00 (Resident)  $43.00 (Non-resident)
Registration is required.

Poles For Mobility & Basic Walking – 14893
Saturday, December 3, 2016 from 1:15 – 4:30 PM
Location:  Kennedy Grove: Fern Cottage

KENNEDY GROVE – Easy-to-learn pole techniques and gentle exercises empower people with mobility challenges to maintain walking form, navigate everyday obstacles, reduce risk of falling, restore spine function, improve stamina and strengthen muscles that support weight-bearing joints. Optional lovely practice pole walk (1/3 mile). Special equipment provided.

$35.00 (Resident)  $39.00 (Non-resident)
Registration is required.

Poles: Skills & Techniques Plus Hike – 14891
12/17/2016 (Sat) from 9:00am to 3:30pm
Sunol: Wilderness Room

SUNOL – Experience everything in the Basic Skills & Techniques class plus a springtime practice hike (5 miles). Learn individualized strategies for improving your performance on varied uphill and downhill trails. “Test drive” different pole models; learn which fit best and will help you achieve your goals.

Registration required.

Save the date!

Monthly Lake Merritt Walk
Saturday, December 3, 2016, 10:30 AM

A walk around Lake Merritt in Oakland is held every first Saturday of the month, at 10:30 AM starting at the Pergola pictured below. Afterwards, there is an optional brunch in the area. Location TBD.

Lake Merritt Walk August 6, 2016

Lake Merritt Walk August 6, 2016

The next Lake Merritt walk will be on Saturday, December 3rd. If you are in the Bay Area, join the Northern California Facebook Group to get details on this and other events.

Lake Merritt Walk September 3, 2016

Lake Merritt Walk September 3, 2016

If you know of any Camino related events for the SF Bay Area that should be included in the monthly roundup, please use the comment form below, or email me.

If you are lucky enough to live near a REI store, there are many workshops and occasional discussions with Camino book authors and guides. Check for events in your area.

apoclogoVisit the Northern California Chapter page on the APOC website.

Join the Peregrinos Northern California Facebook group (closed group for Northern California residents only)

Buen Camino!

Digame, por favor.

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