Camino and Hiking Events in January 2019

I hope this finds you well and ringing in the new year in the best possible ways, enjoying it with the people you love, wherever you may be. I’m publishing this early because for those in the Bay Area, there’s a great hike you can take on New Year’s Day in Oakland. I couldn’t think of a better way to start a new year, and get some Camino training in! Also, just a quick reminder to have your 12 lucky grapes ready for midnight so you can celebrate the way Spaniards do on New Year’s Eve.  For each strike of the bell, eating a green grape is said bring good luck every month of the coming year.

12 Grapes

12 Grapes for good luck (credit:

The tradition of “la uva de la suerte” dates back to 1909 when the prolific harvest of grapes in the Alicante region of Spain let some vineyard owners widely distribute the fruit to fellow townsmen. Are you feeling lucky?

Free Hiking Tour on New Year’s Day
Tuesday, January 1, 2019, 9 am
Dimond District in Oakland, CA

Free Hiking Tour led by Stan Dodson

Free Hiking Tour led by Stan Dodson

Join a great hike from Oakland’s Dimond District up to Joaquin Miller Park. Primarily an uphill route, this beautiful hike will go through Oakland’s Dimond Canyon and Joaquin Miller Park, and will finish at the top of the ridge at the Chabot Space & Science Center. Hikers may choose to catch an earlier bus at mile 4, though the hiking tour leaders will complete the 6-mile hike.
New Year’s Day at 9:00 am Details

As always, our chapter kicks off each month with the Lake Merritt walk on the first Saturday. Experienced and virgin pilgrims are always welcome.

Lake Merritt Walk, October 6, 2018

Lake Merritt Walk
Saturday, January 5, 2019 10:30 AM

Join our walk that takes place on the first Saturday of the month, rain or shine. We meet at the Pergola (aka “The Columns”) on the east side of Oakland’s Lake Merritt at 10:30 AM and start walking by 10:45 AM. It’s a level, 3.3-mile walk around the lake that takes about an hour. Whether you’re a newbie or Camino veteran, everyone is welcome. Bring your questions, answers and pilgrim spirit!

Directions: Take BART to the Lake Merritt or 19th Street Oakland station 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. FYI: There is a small fee lot at the corner of Euclid and Grand Avenues that is close to the Pergola.

RSVP not required, but if you’re on the NorCal Facebook group, join event.

The World Before Your Feet Film Screenings

Q&A with film subject Matt Green:
Saturday, January 5 Rialto Cinemas Elmwood Oakland– 7:30 pm
Sunday, January 6 Smith Rafael Film Center –  4:15 pm

This new documentary might be of interest to pilgrims. 

The World Before Your FeetThere are 8,000 miles of roads and paths in New York City and for the past six years Matt Green has been walking them all – every street, park, cemetery, beach, and bridge.  It’s a five-borough journey that stretches from the barbershops of the Bronx to the forests of Staten Island, from the Statue of Liberty to Times Square, with Matt amassing a surprisingly detailed knowledge of New York’s history and people along the way.

Watch the Official Trailer HERE.

Fitness for the Trail & For Life
Saturday, January 19th 8:30 am -3:30 pm

Location: Temescal Beach House, Oakland, CA
Not a poles class, but taught by a poles instructor, Jayah Faye Paley

Fitness for the Trail & for LIFE is a full day fitness training session designed to enhance your ability to maintain physical health, quality of life, and experience happy 2019 adventures. Individualized movements and programming focus on improving your foundation, longevity, joint health, spine function, balance, posture, endurance, strength, and flexibility.
All levels welcome.

This is a small group class geared to the issues and concerns of the participants that will holistically help you maintain your ability to be outside, enjoy your adventures and maintain your quality of life.

This class (which Jayah considers to be the most important one she teaches and it’s not a poles class) meets in a stunningly beautiful location that gives us wonderful opportunities for learning or practice – rain or shine.

$135.00 (Oakland resident)
$149.00 (Non-resident)
Registration is required at East Bay Parks and Recreation.

National Parks Fee Free Day for the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Monday,  January 21, 2019

National parks across the country are waiving entrance fees on five days in 2019 as a way to encourage people to get outdoors and spend time with their friends and family in their national parks this year. See details.

The National Park Service will offer the following fee-free days in 2019:

  • Monday, January 21 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Saturday, April 20 – Start of National Park Week / National Junior Ranger Day
  • Sunday, August 25 – National Park Service Anniversary
  • Saturday, September 28 – National Public Lands Day
  • Monday, November 11 – Veterans Day

This fee-free opportunity applies to entrance fees only and does not affect fees for camping, backcountry reservations, tours, or other special uses.  Learn more.

Old Survivor Film Screening at REI Berkeley
Thursday, January 24, 7:00 pm–8:30 pm

Screening + Q&A after the film
Free event – Register here for Berkeley Screening on 1/24

See more Bay Area screenings at:

Cafe Flamenco at the Terrace Room
Lake Merritt Hotel
Friday, January 25, 7:30 – 9:30 pm

Please note: this is not an organized Camino chapter event.  Rather, it seems like a fun thing to do on a Friday night, so if you love Flamenco, check it out.

Cafe Flamenco

Caminos Flamencos presents an intimate performance at The Terrace Room Restaurant.  Caminos Flamencos, created and directed by, Emmy Award-winning dancer and artistic director, Yaelisa. Caminos Flamencos invites the community to celebrate this rich cultural performance. Yaelisa creates and presents contemporary, traditional and theatrical dance programs showcasing artists from Spain and the U.S., which reflect the changing face of flamenco in the 21st century while preserving the history and culture of this traditional art form.

Enjoy Spanish Tapas & Sangria at The Terrace Room. Other cocktails and full bar available for purchases. Doors open at 5 pm for dinner. Performance begins at 7:30 pm

Details at:

Lands End Hike & Labyrinth Walk
San Francisco, California
Saturday, January 26, 9:30 AM

Welcome the New Year with a hike and labyrinth walk at the end of the world! This 12-mile loop route starts at the historic Beach Chalet building at Ocean Beach and continues along the coastal Lands End Trail and ends back at the Park Chalet restaurant for an optional post-walk dinner.

Lands End Labyrinth, San Francisco. Photo by Stephanie Dodaro.

Lands End Labyrinth, San Francisco. Photo by Stephanie Dodaro.

Meet us at 9:30 AM for sign-in and briefing at the Beach Chalet building, just inside the doors next to the gift shop, located at 1000 Great Highway by Fulton St. 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.

For more details, see the event, Lands End Hike & Labyrinth Walk, on our NorCal Facebook group.

For insurance purposes, we are unable to welcome dogs, except service animals, at our events.

Presentation on the Via Francigena
Wednesday, January 30, 6 – 7:30 pm
Berkeley Public Library, West Branch

Andy Cohn and Kate Stewart enjoying a pilgrim meal with great wine

Andy Cohn and Kate Stewart enjoy a pilgrim meal in Tuscany

In December 2018, Andy Cohn and Kate Stewart walked the last 100 kilometers of the Via Francigena (VF), one of the three great medieval Camino routes that runs from Canterbury, England to Rome, Italy. They will talk about their particular experience, and about the Italian section (almost 1000 kilometers) in general, focusing particularly on the “How to?” logistics — lodging, transportation, the difficulties of the terrain, etc.

Andy and Kate have made five trips to Spain since 2012, walking the Camino Francés (SJPDP to Finisterre and Muxia), the Portugués from Porto, the Primitivo, the whole of the Norte, and most of the Inglés (as dessert after finishing the Norte).

Andy fell in love with Italy in 2008, when he and Kate did a week-long walking trip through Tuscany, passing through much of the countryside traversed by the Francigena. Since 2008, Andy has made nine trips to Italy, spending almost a year there, has learned Italian (more or less), and on his own or with Italian hiking clubs has tramped through the Dolomites, the Apennines, and chunks of Tuscany, Sicily, Campania, and Sardinia.

This is a Camino to die for — mixing the Alps, the intense green Apennines, the golden light of the Tuscan hills, one stunning medieval town after another, and Rome at the end. What’s not to love?

We encourage veterans of the Via Francigena to share their experiences.

RSVP: Click here to sign up by 12 pm on Tues. January 29th.

6:00 pm – Community room doors open for setup, sign-in, and socializing
6:30 pm – Presentation begins, Q & A follows
7:30 pm – Out of the community room (library closes at 8 pm)

Berkeley Public Library West Branch
1125 University Ave. (at San Pablo)
Berkeley, CA 94702

Getting There:
By BART: The North Berkeley BART station is .7 miles away. From the station, walk down (west on) Delaware, turn left on Curtis, and then right on University.
AC Transit Buses: 51B, 52, 72, 72M, 72R, FS, G, & Z
Driving: For directions, use Google Maps
Carpool: If you want a ride or can give one, post a message to this event listed on our Facebook Group page (Peregrinos – Northern California).
Parking: The West Berkeley branch of the library is on the north side of University about 100 yards east of (above) the intersection with San Pablo. Free and plentiful street parking after 6 PM. Also, there’s a large and free parking lot which can be accessed either on San Pablo Avenue (by Dollar Tree), or on University just below the library.
Electric vehicles parked in front of the West Branch Berkeley Library can use a publicly-available curbside charging station, powered in part by solar panels on the rooftop of the library.

Optional Happy Hour
For those who enjoy Spanish food, stop by La Marcha Tapas Bar, for a pre-event Happy Hour, located around the corner at 2026 San Pablo Ave.
This is also a good option for dinner after the presentation. And because La Marcha is a Spanish restaurant, there’s another Happy Hour from 10 pm to midnight!

Questions? For questions about the Via Francigena, email Andy.

PS – Annual Chapter Survey Reminder
If you haven’t taken the NorCal chapter survey yet, please take a moment to share your feedback.

Save the Dates!

NorCal Pilgrim Blessing & Shell Ceremony Potluck
Oakland, California
Saturday, March 16, 2019

Help us celebrate our pilgrims heading out to the Camino this year at the NorCal chapter’s annual Blessing & Shell Ceremony Potluck. Once again, we’ll gather at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Oakland, located at 400 Alcatraz Ave. off of College Ave.

I wish you all a splendid 2019! For those who might enjoy some different ways to alleviate stress, check out my new Yoga & Wellness website at

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.

Visit 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!

Feliz Ano Nuevo

The Camino Provides patch

The 2019 patches have arrived!
Purchase for $4 each at

The Camino Provides 2019 Patch

The Camino Provides 2019 Patch $4 on Etsy

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!

2 thoughts on “Camino and Hiking Events in January 2019

  1. Pingback: Yoga & Wellness Newsletter January 2019 – Laurie Ferris Yoga & Wellness

Digame, por favor.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s