Camino and Hiking Events in January 2017

Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and is having a great start to 2017.  Rain or shine, there are always opportunities to train for the Camino, so let’s get right to it! Below is the roundup of Camino related and hiking events in the SF Bay Area for the month of January 2017.

Monthly Lake Merritt Walk
Saturday, January 7, 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. Afterwards, there is an optional brunch in the area. Details and RSVP on NorCal Facebook Group.


December 3, 2016 Lake Merritt walk

The next Lake Merritt walk will be on Saturday, February 4, 2017. If you are in the Bay Area, join the Northern California Facebook Group to get details on this and other events.

Lands End Hike & Labyrinth Walk
Saturday, January 14, 9:30 am


Beach Chalet Building
1000 Great Highway, San Francisco, CA 94121
9:30 AM – 5:00 PM
RSVP required. See below for sign-up instructions.

Welcome the New Year with a hike and labyrinth walk at the end of the world! Lands End is California’s version of Finisterre. This 12-mile loop route starts at the historic Beach Chalet building at Ocean Beach and hugs the rugged coast going north. Enjoy fresh sea air and sweeping views of the ocean and Marin Headlands. We’ll walk the Lands End Labyrinth before continuing on to the Golden Gate Bridge. Next, we’ll wind back through the forested Presidio and Golden Gate Park. We’ll end back at the Beach Chalet building, where we’ll cool our heels and have a bite at the Park Chalet restaurant (Menu:

About Labyrinths: For thousands of years, people have walked labyrinths as a way to get answers to their questions, practice slowing down, grieve, or meditate. They’ve also served as “substitute pilgrimages” for those who couldn’t undertake long journeys. When our group arrives at the Lands End Labyrinth, we’ll provide a short history of labyrinths and some instructions, and then you’re free to walk the path. Read more about labyrinths at Veriditas ( and the Labyrinthos ( websites.

Meet us at 9:30 AM for sign-in and briefing at the Beach Chalet building (Google Maps:, just inside the doors next to the gift shop, located at 1000 Great Highway by Fulton St. We’ll leave at 10:00 AM sharp and we expect to arrive back around 5:00 PM. This is a moderately difficult, 12-mile loop with 1,240 feet total elevation gain. Mostly dirt trails with about 2.5 miles along city streets. This is a great opportunity to do some Camino training, but it’s best if you’ve done at least a 6-mile hike before. Open to all (members and non-members). Rain or shine. Led by chapter members, Sue López and Stephanie Dodaro.

I will be there with DVDs from our CaminoFlix library available for NorCal APOC members to check out. I will also have a pocket full of Camino Provides patches and a few t-shirts and hats for sale. Get a free original design patch with $20 purchase, in-person or through my Etsy shop.

RSVP: by Wednesday, January 11.

FREE Hiking Tour on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Joaquin Miller Park, Oakland
Monday, January 16, 9 am

Stan Dodson, director of Trailhead documentary, leads hikes on national holidays in Joaquin Miller park. He’s also the manager of La Farine bakery on 3411 Fruitvale Ave., the meeting point for the hike. How deliciously convenient! Sign up while there are still spaces available.

Join us on a MLK Day hike from the Dimond District up to Joaquin Miller Park, where we’ll catch AC Transit 339 for a ten-minute ride back down to Dimond. This beautiful hike will go through Oakland’s Dimond Canyon, the redwoods of Joaquin Miller Park, and will finish with a spectacular view of San Francisco Bay. Hikers may split off at any time if they wish to make this hike shorter.

When: Monday, January 16 at 9:00am (the group will leave promptly at 9:10am)

Where: Meet at La Farine Bakery: 3411 Fruitvale Ave, Oakland, CA 94602

Details: Steady, 6-mile hike in Oakland’s largest wildland trail system, with some steep uphills and downhills, and narrow trails through the canyons. Bring water, sturdy shoes, and bus fare ($2.10).


Extreme wet weather will cancel.

“From right here in the heart of urban Oakland, we’re connected to a trail system that spans the entire East Bay. You could hike for days and days.”..—Stan Dodson, Tour Leader

Free Entrance Day in the National Parks
Monday, January 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Four women jumping up on a sand dune

Fee-free days make national parks accessible to more people. NPS photo

Woo-hoo! The National Park Service  is offering free entrance to celebrate the start of their second century in 2017. During ten days of the year, all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone.
Mark your calendar for these entrance fee–free dates in 2017:

  • January 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • February 20: Presidents’ Day
  • April 15-16 and 22-23: Weekends of National Park Week
  • August 25: National Park Service Birthday
  • September 30: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11-12: Veterans Day Weekend

Packing for the Camino: Saratoga REI
Thursday, January 19, 2017 7:00 PM  –  8:30 PM

So you’ve decided to hike the Camino de Santiago, or maybe you’re still thinking about it. You know how to pack for a Hawaiian vacation, but how do you pack for a hike in Spain? Join the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC) for an evening of talking about the Camino. Learn equipment and packing tips that will help make your hike a success. Camino veterans will discuss their equipment and clothing, including what worked, what didn’t work and why. REI specialists will show you how to choose and fit the two most important pieces of camino equipment: backpacks and footwear.

Registration required at:

Saratoga REI 400 El Paseo de Saratoga, San Jose, CA  95130 Get directions

Class on History of Northern Spain
January 24 – February – 28, 2017

Lafayette Library and Learning Center
Examine the history and culture of the northern Spanish provinces of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Navarra, and the Pais Vasco (Basque country). We will delve into the long arc of the Spanish past, as well as the post-Franco period, and look at the challenges posed by urbanization, generational change, immigration, and tourism. This class will use historical texts, film, music, and literary works, and is perfect for those who enjoy wine and cheese.

The class is on Tuesday mornings from 10-12 at the Lafayette Library for 6 weeks starting January 24.   $145 plus $50 -100 for membership in OLLI, depending on what type of membership you get. It seems really great for those who are interested in the Camino or have walked it.
Alex Saragoza is a professor of history in the Department of Comparative Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. He has taught numerous courses with OLLI Berkeley and led several travel study trips to Spain and Cuba.

Save the dates!

Mt. Tam Hike on February 19, 2017: Announcement will be sent out next week to  NorCal chapter email subscribers.
Blessing and Shell Ceremony on March 18, 2017:  St. Augustine Church in Oakland.

2017patchIf you are planning to walk a Camino this year, check out the new Camino Provides 2017 patch. The theme this year is LOVE. The rainbow design was inspired by chakras, love, peace, and pride.  Just $4 each at

Last month I featured Camino-inspired gift ideas. We pilgrims are not selling our creations to make a profit. Rather, it brings us joy to share a little bit of the Camino with the world. We offer our gifts to support our missions, and any proceeds go right back into our creations. My mission is to celebrate the Camino de Santiago and the pilgrim’s journey, from the Calling to Compostela and beyond. I do this by sharing informative tips on training, gear, and routes; by promoting Camino related events in the Bay Area; by interviewing pilgrims and sharing inspiring stories; and by curating content relevant to the Camino. Sales of my designs help to defray the costs of hosting and managing this blog so that I can keep sharing the Camino love!

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.

For those who live elsewhere, there are Camino hotspots all over the USA and the American Pilgrims on the Camino (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. Check your local REI store for workshops and presentations about the Camino. 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!

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