Camino and Hiking Events in March 2017

There are always opportunities to train for or learn about the Camino. Below is the roundup of Camino related and hiking events in the SF Bay Area for the month of March 2017.

Lake Merritt Walk

Monthly Lake Merritt Walk in Oakland
Saturday, March 4, 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.  Bring cash. Details and RSVP on NorCal Facebook Group. I’ll be there with a pocket full of Camino patches and free stickers for anyone who asks.

The next Lake Merritt walk will be on Saturday, April 1, 2017. If you are in the Bay Area, join the Peregrinos Northern California Facebook Group to get details on this and other events.

Blessing & Shell Ceremony Potluck in Oakland
Saturday, March 18, 9:30 am

Help us celebrate our pilgrims heading out to the Camino this year at our annual Blessing & Shell Ceremony Potluck. We’ll be gathering at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Oakland, near the border with Berkeley. Back by popular demand will be Scott “Shroomer” Williams, to give an encore presentation on injury prevention. Susan Alcorn and Laurie Ferris will talk about packing light for the Camino. After lunch, Rev. Michael Arase-Barham will perform the blessing and confer a scallop shell (symbol of the pilgrimage) to those outbound pilgrims, and we’ll also recognize departing volunteer hospitaleros before ending with a Camino Q&A session.

Doors open at 9:30 AM and we plan to finish up by 3:00 PM. If you can help with setting up, meet us at 9:00 AM. We can also use help with cleaning up afterwards. Open to all (members and non-members). RSVP required (see instructions below).

Getting There

St. Augustine is located at 400 Alcatraz Ave. off of College Ave. in Oakland. Meet us on the bottom floor of the gym/multi-use building across the courtyard from the church (follow our yellow arrows).

By Car: From eastbound 24, take the Claremont Ave. exit and turn left onto Claremont Ave. Turn left onto Colby St. then left again onto Alcatraz Ave. From westbound 24, take the College Ave. exit. Turn right onto College Ave. and then left onto Alcatraz Ave. The church is on the right side between Dana and Colby Streets. The parking lot is located on the west side off Alcatraz Ave.

By BART/Bus/Foot: From the Rockridge BART station, take AC Transit bus 51B towards the Berkeley campus and offboard at College/Alcatraz (15 min). Walk west on Alcatraz Ave. to St. Augustine (0.3 mi). To walk from the station, head north along College Ave. towards campus and turn left on Alcatraz Ave. (0.7 mi). From Downtown Berkeley BART, take 51B from Allston/Shattuck towards Rockridge BART and offboard at College/Alcatraz (25 min). Walk west on Alcatraz Ave. to St. Augustine (0.3 mi).

For more/other directions, use Google Maps.

What to Bring

Your favorite dish or drink to share. Extra points for something from the Camino. Wine counts, too! Here’s a request to cover our bases: If your last name begins with A-P, bring a food dish (main, side, salad, with serving utensils, if needed). If it begins with Q-Z, bring a dessert or beverage (coffee will be provided). We’ll have 3×5 index cards on hand to make a label for your dish, but feel free to make one ahead of time. Also, a pen and paper if you’d like to take notes during the presentations.

El Rastro

El Rastro is a gigantic flea market in Madrid. We’ll 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.

Chapter T-Shirts

We’ll have a small number of shirts available for purchase at the party. Two styles (basic crew and fitted) in dark blue printed with a yellow shell and “Solvitur Ambulando” (It is solved by walking) from St. Augustine. Limited sizes. Price (at cost) is $20. Cash only. Please note that this is a local offer and not organized, endorsed or sponsored by American Pilgrims on the Camino.

RSVP Required
RSVP online by Thursday, March 16. Please, online responses only.

Marching along the Coastal Trail, Mt. Tamalpais

Marching along the Coastal Trail, Mt. Tamalpais. I took this photo last year on this hike. It was a buen Camino!

Mt. Tam Hike, Marin County
Saturday, March 25, 10:15 am

Enjoy all the different shades of green seen this time of year as we hike around Mt. Tamalpais, plus wonderful views of the ocean. The distance is 9 miles with an elevation gain of 1,200 feet. Expect the pace to be at a moderate speed. Hiking poles may be useful on the uphill stretches. Possible post-hike stop at the Marin Brewing Company in Larkspur.

Meet at 10:15 AM for sign-in and briefing at the Rock Spring Trailhead on Mt. Tamalpais ( Led by chapter steering committee member, Dick Duker. Cancelled by rain. If lost getting to the hike, call Dick’s cell phone at (510) 705-2447. Open to all (members and non-members). No RSVP required (just show up). NorCal Facebook group members can check details and carpooling at:

GETTING THERE: By Car: From San Francisco and the south, take Hwy 101 North and from the north and east, take Hwy 101 South to Mill Valley (from the East Bay, cross the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge). Take the Hwy 1 exit and continue on Hwy 1. Turn right onto Panoramic Highway, drive around the mountain and turn right onto Pantoll Road. Drive 1.2 miles to the Rock Spring Trailhead parking lot (free parking, restrooms available, For more/other directions, use Google Maps.

Carpooling: If you want a ride or can give one, post a comment below. Suggested meetings points are the Park & Ride lot at the Hwy1/Hwy 101 intersection in Mill Valley by 9:40 AM ( and the Orinda BART station parking lot by 9:15 AM (

WHAT TO BRING: Water and a lunch, sturdy walking shoes, hiking poles (optional), plastic bag to sit on. Also, some cash for the post-hike stop or to help out your carpool driver.

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: 2B (6 to less than 10 miles, less than 2,000 ft elevation gain)

Camino Presentation in Burlingame with Susan and Ralph Alcorn
Wednesday, March 29, 7 pm

Susan and Ralph Alcorn will give a digital presentation “Walking across Spain on the Camino de Santiago,” at the Burlingame Main Library on Wednesday, March 29, at 7 p.m. The library is located at 480 Primrose Road in Burlingame, CA. The event will be in the Lane Community Room and is free and open to the public.

The Alcorn’s have walked more than 2,500 miles on ancient pilgrimage trails in Spain, France, Switzerland and Portugal. Come enjoy photos and a talk that will transport you to another world, and learn how you can make your own long-distance walk that will take you back in time. Susan is the author of Camino Chronicle: Walking to Santiago, and her newest book, on the most northerly Spanish Camino trails, will be published this year.

Save the date!

Sunday, April 23 Hike along the California Coastal Trail in Half Moon Bay

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

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!

One thought on “Camino and Hiking Events in March 2017

  1. Very nice roundup of what is happening, Laurie. I think the idea of asking people to bring food based on the letter of their last name is a good one: “Here’s a request to cover our bases: If your last name begins with A-P, bring a food dish (main, side, salad, with serving utensils, if needed). If it begins with Q-Z, bring a dessert or beverage (coffee will be provided).” That way we won’t have all desserts, and food choices would be nicely balanced. I’m looking forward to participating in several of the upcoming events!


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