Camino and Hiking Events: January 2020

Happy New Year!  And as we roll into a new decade, I’m hopeful that 2020 will bring more justice, peace, and compassion into this world. In the meantime, it’s Camino training season. Below are a selection of Camino events and hikes in Northern California. But first, a quick reminder to have your 12 lucky grapes ready for midnight so you can celebrate the way some 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 GrapesEating 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve is both a tradition and a superstition in Spain.


Cava wishes and Albariño dreams!

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.

If you prefer to drink your grapes in the form of sparkling wine, try Cava from Spain.

I found this Picasso-esque bottle of Cava at our local grocery store to ring in the new year. 

¡Feliz Año Nuevo

Lake Merritt Walk + Camino Presentation
Saturday, January 4th, 10:30 AM – 2 PM

Join our popular and easy walk that takes place on the first Saturday of the month, rain or shine. 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. Attend the Camino presentation at the Lakeview Library after the walk. Bring your questions, answers and pilgrim spirit! But leave the dogs at home (for insurance purposes.) If you’re on the NorCal Facebook group, join event.

As always, we encourage carpools, public transportation, and Lyft or Uber as parking is limited in the area on Saturdays. The Lake Merritt walk usually ends around noon, so you will have time to get a quick lunch from farmers market, move your car, or socialize with other pilgrims before the presentation begins.

Camino Presentation: Wellness on the Way
Saturday, January 4th, 1 – 2 PM

Guest Speaker: Laurie Ferris, Oakland, CA

Discover the wellness that is inherent on the Camino. Explore the reasons why it makes us pilgrims feel so good, and why we keep coming back. We know that being surrounded by kindred spirits and walking in nature have obvious benefits. What about unplugging, forest bathing, mindful walking, or doing something completely out of our comfort zone? In a world of French fries, bocadillos and churros, is it possible to eat healthy on the Camino?  From survival and sustenance to inexpensive luxuries and creative play—Laurie hopes to encourage pilgrims to become their own wellness ambassadors along the Way.

After Laurie’s talk, we welcome other pilgrims to share their own wellness tips learned on their Caminos. Whether you’re a first-timer or seasoned veteran, you’re sure to pick up invaluable info, tips and tricks for your next Camino!

Day 1 Camino Invierno

Speaker Bio:
Laurie Ferris  has walked the Camino Portugués, Inglés, Primitivo, and Invierno. On the Camino, she has led yoga sessions for pilgrims, and has also discovered some interesting ways to enhance wellbeing. As a chapter coordinator in Northern California, Laurie welcomes new pilgrims, organizes events, delivers presentations, and contributes articles for La Concha Newsletter.  Laurie is dedicated to keeping the spirit of the Camino alive through her work in the chapter and her blog.

At her communications job at UC Berkeley’s International House, Laurie serves as a wellness ambassador where she teaches yoga to UC Berkeley staff and leads lunchtime hikes around campus.  Always an advocate for self care, Laurie is excited to share some Camino tips in this informative and interactive pilgrim talk. 

Location: Lakeview Library at Lake Merritt, near the columns where we meet for our monthly walks.
550 El Embarcadero, Oakland, CA 94610

Doors open at 12:30 PM for socializing and setup
1 – 2 PM Presentation
Sorry, no food is allowed in the library.

Questions? Contact Laurie Ferris, Northern California Chapter Co-Coordinator

REI Camino 101 Series – First Steps
January 8,  6:30
8:30 PM

Camino 101:  First Steps
So, you have decided to walk the Camino de Santiago? Making the decision to walk the Camino oftentimes brings into focus many practical questions that need answers. Free event at the Sacramento Cal Expo REI, however, you must register to reserve a seat: Register Here

The Sacramento Chapter of the American Pilgrims on the Camino has organized a three-part series to help pilgrims prepare for journey. Register for the next two sessions below:
February 12, 6:30 pm8:30 pm
REI Camino 101: Gear & Packing Tips

March 4, 6:30 pm8:30 pm
REI Camino 101: Resources

Lands End Hike & Labyrinth Walk
San Francisco, California
Saturday, January 11, 9:30 AM

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

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

Welcome the New Year with a hike and labyrinth walk at the end of the world! This 13-mile loop route starts at the historic Beach Chalet building at Ocean Beach. We’ll walk through Golden Gate Park, on a short section through city streets, then through the forested Presidio, by Andy Goldsworthy’s “Spire.” At the Golden Gate Bridge, we’ll enjoy the fresh sea air and sweeping views of the ocean and Marin Headlands. Next, we’ll follow the rugged coast heading south and walk the Lands End Labyrinth. We’ll continue along the coastal Lands End Trail to the Cliff House and end back at the Beach Chalet building, where we’ll cool our heels and have a casual bite at the Park Chalet restaurant.

Meet 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, 13-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.

So that we reserve enough space at the Park Chalet restaurant, please email Stephanie at with the number in your party by Thursday, January 9. RSVP not required if you’re just doing the hike.

Preparing for the Camino de Santiago
Friday, January 17, 2020
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Saratoga REI

REI Presentation on the Camino

So you’ve decided to hike the Camino de Santiago, or maybe you’re still thinking about it. Join the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC) for an evening of Camino talk. Camino veterans will discuss the various routes, what to expect, how to prepare and how to pack. They will tell you about their equipment and clothing, including what worked, what didn’t work, and why. If you want to know more about the Camino de Santiago join us for an evening of information!

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

Camino de Sonoma, Day 1 Segment
Saturday, January 18th, 2020

A new trail is shaping up beyond the North Bay. The Camino de Sonoma begins at the Mission San Francisco Solano in the town of Sonoma and winds its way through Sonoma Valley, crossing Trione-Annadel State Park. It continues through the cities of Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Graton and into the hamlet of Occidental. It then stretches down the slope of the coastal mountains to meet the Pacific Ocean at Jenner. The final leg follows the coast north and crawls up the beach to Fort Ross. Total distance is ~72 miles.
On January 18, they will be walking the Sonoma to Kenwood segment of the Camino de Sonoma, beginning at historic Mission San Francisco Solano and ending at beautiful Kenwood Plaza Park.
Details: Date: Saturday, January 18

RSVP: Please respond to or 707 479-5863 by 12:00PM, Thursday Jan. 16 if you are planning to walk with us. An email will be sent to all who RSVP with further details.
Start time: 8:30AM, Meet at Kenwood Plaza Park, work out carpool shuttle to Sonoma, beginning the walk at ~9:00AM.
Distance: 11.5 miles, with little variation in elevation.
Food and water: Day pack your own lunch, snack and water and/or beverage.
Optional: They typically pause in Glen Ellen to have lunch, and there are several places there to purchase food, snack and beverage.
Safety: Walking surfaces are primarily sidewalk and pavement. You will want to carry your own personal first aid items. Restrooms at Depot Park, several businesses along Hwy 12, Glen Ellen and Kenwood.
Heavy Rain cancels the walk.

Mission Statement:
The Camino de Sonoma welcomes pilgrims, seekers and all people longing for the transforming power experienced through being “on the way” in creation.
Spiritually Significant, Culturally Compelling, Breathtakingly Beautiful
Future One Day Segment Walk Dates:
  • January 18th, Saturday, Day 1 segment, Sonoma to Kenwood, 11 miles
  • February 16th, Sunday, Day 2 segment, Kenwood to Santa Rosa, 12 miles
  • March 28th, Saturday, Day 3 segment, Santa Rosa to Sebastopol, 13 miles
Check the Northern California Facebook group for Lorie Florence’s post about this.

American Long Distance Hiking Association ALDHA-West’s Nor Cal Ruck
Saturday, January 25, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Camp Herms, in the Berkeley Hills

A Ruck is an event for the newcomer to long distance hiking, to learn about ultra light gear, trail strategy, and much more, and a time to meet some of the great distance hikers in America.  I attended the 2019 Ruck and it was a blast. Our friend Scott “Shroomer” Williams will be doing the food, smoked salmon for the bagels and cream cheese breakfast, and a sumptuous lunch.  The cost is $35 dollars for the day, for non members, or $25 for ALDHA-West members.  But NorCal pilgrims can use the code, #RuckYeah and the cost is $25.

Along with presentations, breakout groups for most U.S. long trails, the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and the Te Araroa in New Zealand if folks want it, personal time to go over your kit one on one with experienced long distance hikers, there’s always a raffle to die for.


Silicon Valley Chapter Meet and Greet
Sunday, January 26, 2020, 2:00-4:00 PM

Panera Bread in Sunnyvale
118 East El Camino Real
Sunnyvale, CA 94087

Come join us to talk about the Camino! If you’re planning to walk the Camino (or just thinking about it), this is a great opportunity to connect with Camino veterans to talk about routes, what to pack, etc! Hope you can join us!


Pilgrim Talk: Wellness on the Way with Laurie Ferris
Thursday, February 6th
West Branch Berkeley Library

Pilgrim Talk: Roxanne Morgan, Kumano Kodo
Thursday, February 20th
North Berkeley Library

Annual Gathering of Pilgrims
Honoring the Past… Welcoming the Future

Thursday, March 12 – Sunday, March 15, 2020
Zephyr Point Conference Center
Zephyr Cove (Lake Tahoe), NV
See details at

2020 Gathering of Pilgrims Flyer

The Gathering will run from late afternoon Thursday through noon on Sunday. We’re planning many interesting and helpful presentations on different routes, pilgrim first aid, history, a shell ceremony and singing of “Ultreia” for pilgrims walking their first Camino this year, movies and entertainment and of course, our popular silent auction and raffle.

Registration will open in January and details emailed to all members of American Pilgrims on the Camino. Hope to see you there!

Northern California Chapter Shell Blessing  and Potluck
Saturday, March 21, 2020
Oakland, CA

Details will be announced soon and added to this website.  Stay tuned!

Happy New Year, and Buen Camino!


The 2020 Camino patch is here! This time with 2020 date in yellow, with a black twill background. The 2019 and original design patches are still available. Mix and match. Free shipping for US orders of $35 or more at

The Camino Provides 2020 Patch

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 hot spots 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.

Northern California Chapter - American Pilgrims on the CaminoSubscribe to our NorCal Chapter email list.

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

Visit the Northern California Chapter page on the American Pilgrims on the Camino website.

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