Camino and Hiking Events in February 2018

There’s a lot going on in February, so let’s get right to it! Below is a roundup of Camino-related events and hikes in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Packing for the Camino

Join the Silicon Valley Chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC) for an evening of Camino talk. Camino veterans will discuss their equipment and clothing, including what worked, what didn’t work and why. They will also answer your questions and talk about what to expect when on the Camino.

REI, MOUNTAIN VIEW. 2450 Charleston Road, Mountain View, CA
February 1, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Register online or call the store at 650-969-1938.

REI, MARINA. 145 General Stilwell Drive, Marina, CA
TuesdayFebruary 6, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Register online or call the store at 831-883-8048.

REI, SAN CARLOS, 1119 Industrial Road, San Carlos, CA
WednesdayFebruary 7, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Register online or call 650-508-2330.

Lake Merritt Walk + Optional Brunch
Saturday, February 3, 10:30 a.m.

Lake Merritt Walk on Jan 6, 2018

Lake Merritt Walk on Jan 6, 2018

This is an informal gathering that takes place on the first Saturday of the month, rain or shine. The group meets at the pergola on the east side of Oakland’s Lake Merritt at 10:30 a.m. and starts walking at 10:45 a.m. in a clockwise direction around the lake. It is a paved and level 3.3 mile walk and takes about an hour. Afterward, there is an optional gathering for lunch at a restaurant in the neighborhood. Whether you’re a newbie or Camino veteran, everyone is welcome at these monthly walks.

Directions to the walk: Take BART to the 19th Street Oakland station (Lake Merritt station will be closed this weekend) and navigate your way to the Pergola. If you drive, make sure to give yourself enough time to find parking, as there are many activities on Saturday mornings in the Lake Merritt area.

If you are in the Bay Area, join the Peregrinos Northern California Facebook Group to get details on this and other events.

Claremont Canyon to Sibley: North Oakland’s Hidden Trails
Sunday, February 4, 10 a.m.

Join Berkeley Path Wanderers Association on a 7.6-mile hike, starting on busy Claremont Ave. and continuing toward the tranquility of Claremont Canyon. We’ll start up leaf-padded Willow Trail, climbing through a small redwood grove to Grizzly Peak. After we crest the ridge, we’ll descend on the Skyline Trail into Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve and then climb to Skyline Blvd, crossing bridges and a creek and passing an old wrecked car and a variety of trees.  Read more.
Start: Signpost 29 on Claremont Ave. (1½ miles past Claremont and Ashby; .6 mile below Grizzly Peak)
Leaders: Jacob Lehmann Duke and Zeke Gerwein

Tiburon Hike
Saturday, February 17, 10:30 a.m.

Join a walk along Richardson’s Bay to Tiburon with wonderful views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate. Total walk is 9 miles. No trekking poles needed, as most of the hike will be on flat pavement, and no worries about mud. Bring lunch and water.

Please refer to the American Pilgrims – Northern California Chapter page for more information, event updates or cancellations.

Looking across to Richardson’s Bay and Tiburon (right) from above Marin City.

Looking across to Richardson’s Bay and Tiburon (right) from above Marin City.

Free Oakland Hiking Tour on President’s Day
Monday, February 19, 8:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.

Start the new year with a hike from Oakland’s Dimond District up to Joaquin Miller Park. This beautiful 7.5 mile hike will go through Oakland’s Dimond Canyon and Joaquin Miller Park, and will finish with a spectacular view of San Francisco Bay. President’s Day: Monday, February 19 at 8:30 a.m. (leave promptly at 8:40 a.m.)
Where: Meet at La Farine Bakery: 3411 Fruitvale Ave, Oakland, CA 94602 – free parking in back
Details: Steady, 7.5-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 ($2.25).
Register at:

Watch new 30-second PSA:

“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

I went on the hike twice and highly recommend it for Camino training.  I observed that most people on these hikes don’t bring trekking poles. Pilgrims, there are some steep parts at the end, so if you have poles, bring them. Here’s a highlight video I made. As you can see, it is a dog-friendly hike, as long as your dog is friendly and can handle hills.

Spanish Language Basics for the Camino
Berkeley, California
Sundays, Feb 25, Mar 4 & 11, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Leaving soon on your Camino and need to learn some Spanish basics? Or perhaps you already know some Spanish and just need a refresher and some practice? In any case, here is an opportunity to increase your awareness of the Spanish language and to help make your Camino and the transition into Spanish culture a more familiar and comfortable one.

The universal pilgrim greeting (in Spanish) on a sign outside of Santo Domingo on the Camino Francés. Photo courtesy of Guy Joaquin.

The universal pilgrim greeting (in Spanish) on a sign outside of Santo Domingo on the Camino Francés. Photo courtesy of Guy Joaquin.

Please refer to the American Pilgrims – Northern California Chapter page for more information, event updates or cancellations.

Camino Happy Hour
Wed. February 28th 5-7 p.m.
Paulista Brazilian Kitchen and Taproom

Our chapter has been thinking about doing Happy Hours for quite some time now. In January, we had the first such gathering at a Spanish restaurant in Berkeley. We’d like to keep the party going! It’s a good opportunity for Bay Area pilgrims to gather in an informal setting, over good food and drinks.  Because the Bay Area has so many great restaurants, we like the idea of trying a different one each month.  Paulista is a new restaurant and craft beer taproom in the Glenview district of Oakland. It was recommended by NorCal Chapter coordinator Guy Joaquin, who says, “I give the vinho verde they serve two thumbs up.  So crisp and clean.” 

Check out the menu. Technically, their Happy Hour is 4-6 p.m., but just show up when you can. And for those who don’t imbibe, there are non-alcoholic beverages, so everyone is welcome to enjoy the pilgrim camaraderie. At this particular restaurant, you order and pay at the counter, then servers bring the orders to the table.  Look for the event on our Peregrinos Northern California Facebook group to RSVP online, or just show up.

Location: Paulista: 4239 Park Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94602
Click for directions.

If you have a restaurant to recommend for a future Happy Hour, let me know!

For the month of February, I’ll feature Camino love stories on the Love, Camino Style page.  I certainly respect the premise of what happens on the Camino stays on the Camino.  However, love is a splendid thing that should be celebrated. Has the Camino provided you with more than just a long walk? If you have a Camino love story to share,  email me or use the form below. Photos and video links welcome.


Camino Norte and Primitivo Presentation by Susan and Ralph Alcorn
March 3: Barlago restaurant, after the Lake Merritt walk
Join us after next month’s Lake Merritt walk for a narrated slide program with Camino veterans Susan and Ralph Alcorn. View images of these beautiful, historic, and exciting trails and learn more about the similarities and differences between the Francés, Norte and Primitivo routes. The Alcorns completed their 700-mile Camino Norte and Primitivo walks during 2015-2016. From their experiences came Susan‘s new book, Healing Miles: Gifts from the Camino Norte and Primitivo, which is now available in paperback and Kindle versions.

This presentation is open to those who attend the lunch at Barlago Italian Kitchen. RSVP required as space is limited. Look for the event on our Peregrinos Northern California Facebook group to RSVP online,  or email

You might remember Susan and Ralph’s Camino love story, Love and Life on the Camino. They were also recently featured in the Montclarion, our local newspaper.

NorCal Chapter’s Annual Shell Blessing Ceremony and Potluck
March 17, 2018
St. Augustine’s Catholic Church in Oakland
More details coming soon.

Annual National Gathering of American Pilgrims on the Camino
April 12 – 15, 2018
Vallombrosa Center, Menlo Park
Complete information and registration for all events are available on this page:

Camino Inglés 2017 Route Report

Well, I finally made it to Santiago. In my retrospective travelogue, that is! Here are the latest posts in the series:

You can find all posts linked from this page: Camino Inglés 2017 Stages.

My motivation to complete this series was to include it in a presentation that I gave at my church on January 17th. I shared some of the Camino’s background, history, pilgrim lifestyle, after-effects, as well as tips I learned about short Caminos.  By introducing the Camino to some newbies, I was able to educate people who have been curious about it, and inspire a few women who have been afraid to walk alone. I found that writing and presenting about the Camino over the last few months extended the joy of walking it! I still have stories to share about my three days in Santiago and an impromptu trip to Finisterre, so stay tuned for new posts.

The Camino Provides 2018 patch

The rainbow shell design was inspired by the concept of chakras, which was an important part of my journey with yoga and healing over the last year.  I am continuing with the chakras theme for 2018 by highlighting the root chakra color at the base of the shell. Learn more.

Purchase for $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.  Purchases help to defray the costs of hosting and managing this blog so that I can keep sharing the Camino love!

There are always opportunities to train for or learn about the Camino. 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!

Digame, por favor.

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