One of the best ways to tap into Camino camaraderie and train for long distance walking is to join one of the many pilgrim events or hikes and workshops available. Each month I post a roundup of pilgrim related and hiking events in the San Francisco Bay Area, and there are plenty for the month of September. For those who live elsewhere, there are Camino hotspots nationwide and the American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC) website has a listing of local chapters where you can find pilgrim events. There are also many active Facebook groups to learn about events in your region.
Lake Merritt Walk
Saturday, September 5, 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 promptly at 10:45 am. It’s a level walk 3.3 miles around the lake and takes about an hour. If you decide to join one of these walks, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to find parking as there are many activities on Saturday morning in the Lake Merritt area. Join the Oct. 3 Lake Merritt walk.
Mission Walk from Sonoma to Carmel
September 5 – 23, 2015
Did you know that there’s a Camino in California? I didn’t until just recently, but it makes perfect sense! The 800-mile Mission Trail connects the 21 California Missions and basically follows the original El Camino Real. There’s even an official Pilgrim Credential, a passport that has space for stamps from all the missions.
Alas, there are no cheap albergues in California, but that doesn’t stop the California Mission Walkers, a group of people who have walked or plan to walk El Camino Real. In fact, the group has planned an epic Mission-to-Mission journey this month. The trek—spanning 18 days—starts in Sonoma and concludes at the Carmel Mission on Sept. 23rd, the day that Father Junipero Serra will be canonized as a saint by the Pope. This “Camino Serra” walk is organized by Butch Briery of the California Mission Walkers Group. He writes: