Camino and Hiking Events in December 2018

Greetings amigos! I hope you are enjoying the holiday festivities.

In case you missed it, one of the challenges of walking the Camino is the re-entry into our everyday life at the conclusion of our pilgrimage. If you would like to see a presentation on the topic from our recent Welcome Home event, I filmed it and added the accompanying workbook to this post, Returning Home: The Journey Continues. 

Below are some upcoming hikes in the San Francisco Bay Area, and an announcement about PBS airings of the beloved documentary Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago.

Holiday Walk from Rockridge BART in Oakland
Saturday, December 8, 2 – 5:30 PM

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Ideas for Lent that don’t include giving up chocolate

For the first time in my life, I plan to practice Lent. I decided to attend Ash Wednesday service at UC Berkeley’s Newman Hall tonight on my way home from work.  I figured I wouldn’t get weird stares all day about the smudge on my forehead. Why would I do this? To make a long story short, the Camino brought me closer to God, and I decided to be confirmed as a Catholic. I am going through all the ceremonial rites and attending the adult confirmation classes at my parish. You may recall from a previous post, that I was a bad Catholic through my first Communion and a skeptic thereafter. But events in the last year encouraged a change of heart. This has all been part of my “inner Camino” which I will write about in due time. For now, let’s get to some ideas to consider for the 40 days of Lent.

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Camino and Hiking Events in December 2016

The air is crisp and the sun is shining here in Northern California. I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season so far. Here we go!

Below is a roundup of Camino related and hiking events in the SF Bay Area for the month of December.  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.

Monthly Lake Merritt Walk
Saturday, December 3, 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. RSVP on NorCal Facebook Group.

I will be there with DVDs from our CaminoFlix library available for NorCal APOC members to check out. I will also have Camino Provides patches and a few t-shirts in womens and unisex styles for sale. I love gifts with purchase, so I’m giving a free patch with $20 purchases, in-person or through my Etsy shop.

November 5, 2016 Lake Merritt Walk

November 5, 2016 Lake Merritt Walk

The next Lake Merritt walk will be on Saturday, January 7, 2017. If you are in the Bay Area, join the Northern California Facebook Group to get details on this and other events.

Phil’s Camino Screening and Conversation with Annie O’Neil and Phil Volker
December 4 & 5

Annie O’Neil is back in the Bay Area for screenings of her film Phil’s Camino. If anyone is interested in meeting the man himself, Phil will be there. Come one, come all!

Sunday, Dec. 4, 1 PM at the Chapel on Fort Ord in Monterey/Seaside.
Location: 4280 General Jim Moore Blvd, Seaside, CA

Monday, December 5, 3 PM at Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley.
Location: 1735 Le Roy Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709


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Camino and Hiking Events in June

Lake Merritt Camino Walk + Optional Brunch
Saturday, June 4, 10:30 am

LakeMerrittWalkThis is an informal gathering that takes place on the first Saturday of the month, rain or shine. The group meets at the Lake Merritt Pergola on the east side of Oakland’s Lake Merritt at 10:30 and starts walking at 10:45 in a clockwise direction around the lake.  RSVP on Facebook.
Optional no-host brunch. We will gather for a post-walk brunch around 12:15 pm at Shakewell located at 3407 Lakeshore Ave., 10 minute walk from the Lake Merritt Pergola. See map. See menu:

RSVP on Facebook for the next one! July 2 Lake Merritt Walk and Optional Brunch.
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Camino and Hiking Events in March

Lake Merritt Camino Walk

Saturday, March 5, 2016
10:30 AM – noon

This is an informal gathering that takes place on the first Saturday of the month, rain or shine. The group meets at the Lake Merritt Pergola on the east side of Oakland’s Lake Merritt at 10:30 AM and starts walking at 10:45 AM in a clockwise direction around the lake.
More details

NorCal Pilgrim Blessing Ceremony and Potluck

March 12, 10:30 am – 3:30 pm
Newman Hall, Berkeley

For those of you attending the Pilgrim’s Blessing and Potluck on March 12th, the  program schedule was emailed to NorCal list subscribers and shared on the Facebook event page.

Blessing of the Pilgrims Ceremony

We will take a Camino Class of 2016 group photo and a photo of all attendees.

RSVP required by Friday, March 11th so we know how many chairs to set up.
Email and let us know if you will walk the Camino in 2016 and need a scallop shell for the blessing.

See more details on the Facebook event page. Continue reading

Camino and Hiking Events in February

Lake Merritt Camino Walk

Saturday, February 6, 2016
10:30 AM

This is an informal gathering that takes place on the first Saturday of the month, rain or shine. The group meets at the Lake Merritt Pergola on the east side of Oakland’s Lake Merritt at 10:30 AM and starts walking at 10:45 AM in a clockwise direction around the lake.
More details

Super Hike on Wildcat Ridge

Sunday, February 7, 2016
9:30 AM to 2:30 PM
Inspiration Point
Wildcat Canyon Rd at Nimitz Wy, Berkeley, CA

A 7-8 mile hike and yoga practice in Tilden-Wildcat Canyon Park, organized by the East Bay Hiking & Yoga Club. We will meet at the Inspiration Point at 9:30 am and hike down Nimitz Way towards Wildcat Canyon Park. We will have a yoga practice on the ridge and then return back to Inspiration Point. You’ll be back in time for the Super Bowl kickoff @ 3:30 pm!
RSVP on required to get last minute updates.

Mt Tamalpais Presidents’ Day Hike

Monday, February 15,  10:30 AM
With Dick Duker and his ski/ bike clubs – pilgrims welcome!

Enjoy all the shades of green during the winter on a hike around Mt Tam while enjoying fantastic views from every direction. The distance will be 8 to 9 miles with a leisurely pace.  After the hike there will be an optional beverage stop at the Marin Brewing Company in Larkspur.

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Book Review: Everyday Camino with Annie

Everyday Camino with AnnieAnnie O’Neil, featured pilgrim in Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago, published a pocket-size book called Everyday Camino with Annie, that features 40 days of inspirational quotes and messages that one can read while on the Camino, or anywhere.

In the intro, she talks briefly about her experience walking the Camino in 2009 and how it was the most transformative experience of her life.  She wrote this book to keep the Camino experience alive and also “for those who have walked, will walk, for those who know someone walking the Camino de Santiago, and for those who may never walk in Spain, but feel called by the Camino.”

Everyday Camino with Annie, back coverI love this book because it isn’t based on a particular religion, yet it is very spiritual in nature. The 40 days of inspiration include Zen sayings, quotes from Thoreau, the Dalai Lama, Dr. Wayne Dyer, and even Dr. Suess.   Gratitude, intuition, love, simplicity and alignment with the Universe are themes woven throughout the book. Annie encourages us to sit quietly for 5 minutes each day to contemplate the ideas. This “quiet time” reminds us to be grateful, be still, and just be. 

Everyday Camino with Annie-SignedThis book will make an excellent gift for anyone who plans to walk the Camino, or for anyone interested in enhancing their daily spiritual  journey. It could even be an introduction to meditation for those who are curious about practicing but never have the time. Walking is a meditation, after all, and combined with Annie’s reflections and a big dose of Ultreia Y Suseia*, this may be just what the doctor ordered! Indeed, the Camino provides.  I purchased a copy of this book at the Berkeley screening of the Camino documentary and Annie signed it with the common phrase, “Buen Camino!” which makes it even more special.

Annie sells copies of this book and DVDs of Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago at screenings of her new film Phil’s Camino and online at


*Ultreia is a Spanish word, derived from the original Latin, meaning Onward! It was in common use by pilgrims to greet and to encourage one another along the Camino.
Suseia means Upward, more or less. Combine the words Ultreia y Suseia for the saying Onward and upward! There’s even a song about it on Annie’s accompanying CD that can be purchased for $10 at her film screenings.

Happy reading and buen Camino!

Do you have a book to recommend? I love to read and review Camino books to feature on this page. Dígame in the comments below, or email me.

DVD Review: Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago

Whether you are familiar with the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, or are just starting to hear its calling, this documentary should be at the top of your must-see list. Director Lydia B. Smith walked the 500-mile trail in 2008 and was so moved Camino’s magnetic power that she decided to walk it again, along with her friend Annie O’Neil. This time with an international film crew and a strong hunch that they would meet some interesting subjects along the way. The Camino provided.

Walking the Camino: Six Ways to SantiagoWalking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago follows six pilgrims on their journey from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago.  During the first days of filming, the crew fatefully encountered the pilgrims that would become the cast: Sam from Brazil/UK, Wayne from Canada, Misa from Denmark, Tomás from Portugal, Tatiana from France. These pilgrims and Annie from the USA all had different reasons for doing the Camino, and faced different challenges along the way. You get to see their real Camino experiences—from blisters and debilitating injury—to camaraderie and unexpected romance.   There are interviews with priests and hospitaleros who describe what the pilgrimage is about.  By the end of the film,  I really understood the camaraderie of people from all over the world converging on the same path.  The film has stunning cinematography that captures the beauty of nature— from  tiny dew drops on grass—to the majestic mountains of the Pyrenees.

Watch the trailer: Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago

I had the opportunity to see this film and meet featured pilgrim and co-producer Annie O’Neil  when it was screened in Berkeley earlier this year. I recently bought the DVD boxed set, which includes bonus material and two hours of unseen footage.

Walking The Camino Boxed Set

Fans of this film will appreciate the in-depth interviews with the cast. I particularly liked what Sam said about the Camino changing the chemistry of her body. She threw away all her medications, just started walking and all her symptoms went away. The boxed set is available for purchase and makes a beautiful gift for any Caminophile on your list. See more purchase options.

Clearly, I am a fan of this film and recommend it to anyone who is interested in walking the Camino. I am looking forward to Annie O’Neil’s new documentary Phil’s Camino. 

Camino and Hiking Events in November

One of the best ways to prepare for the Camino is to join one of the pilgrim events, hikes or workshops in your community. The Bay Area has a great variety of events this month, including a pilgrim welcome home party,  screenings of Phil’s Camino,  organized hikes and REI events.  So what are you waiting for? Get your Camino on!

Pilgrim Welcome Home Potluck and Party
Saturday, November 7, 10:30 am  to 3:30 pm
Church of the Resurrection
399 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill, CA

The NorCal Chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino invites you to their annual Welcome Home potluck and party for those who have returned from the Camino this calendar year.  There will be a large block of time dedicated to sharing Camino experiences. Those interior head and heart changes – what you learned about yourself and about life.  What would you tell others to prepare them for changes?  Did you have issues communicating yourself to friends or spouses?  Dig deep.  You need this.

El Rastro
El Rastro is a gigantic flea market in Madrid.  We will duplicate it!  Camino El Rastro will be a place to bring all your excess gear, memorabilia, guidebooks and other good junk you thought you wanted but really don’t any more.  Pins, books, extra pole tips, extra ponchos, ugly coffee cups, refrigerator magnets, post cards, you name it. Let’s face it.  Most of us return from a Camino with a desire to get rid of stuff.   This is your chance.  This is a CASH FREE zone.  Bring it and forget it!  See something you want?  Take it.  Should be fun. No fighting!!!

Bring food, stories, and attitude!  Wine is good too.  These have been great events in past years.  RSVP so we can be certain to have a chair for you.

Buen Camino
Lin, Cybele, Rennie
Chapter Coordinators

Phil’s Camino Film Screening
Sunday, November 22, 12:30pm – 2:30pm
The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th St, Oakland, California 94612

Phil's Camino logoJoin Annie O’Neil, co-producer and featured pilgrim in Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago  with her latest film project, Phil’s Camino on the big screen at the New Parkway theater.
This is a free screening, but donations of any size are welcome. Annie will have merchandise available to purchase: Her book, CD and DVDs of Walking the Camino. All proceeds go to Phil’s Camino.  See trailer at:

There will be mixing and mingling before the screening, and a Q&A with Annie after. You will also have the opportunity to provide feedback on this rough cut of the film.  RSVP on the Facebook event.

See screenings at REI San Francisco 11/23 and Saratoga 11/24 below.

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