Camino and Hiking Events in July 2019

Dear Friends,

July is a special month for the Camino de Santiago. The Apostle James, the reason for the Camino pilgrimage, is celebrated throughout the world on July 25th, his designated saint’s day. In Santiago de Compostela, Saint James is honored in a spectacular way on July 24th, with fireworks and a multimedia show in the Praza do Obradoiro. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, our chapter offers unique events to celebrate St. James.  See below for the lineup of Camino-related events and hikes in July.

Lake Merritt Walk in Oakland – Every First Saturday
Saturday, July 6, 10:30 AM

Lake Merritt Walk June 2019

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. Bring your questions, answers and pilgrim spirit! But leave the dogs at home (for insurance purposes.) Stay for lunch after the walk at a local restaurant, location TBD. If you’re on the NorCal Facebook group, join event.

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Camino and Hiking Events in June 2019

Hola amigos. I just returned from Spain after walking the Camino Invierno.  It was an amazing experience, which I will write about later. Alas, there’s a lot of great Camino events and hikes happening this month in Northern California. If you happen to be visiting the area, feel free to join any of these events! For wellness events, visit my other website at lferris.com.

Huddart Park Hike with Silicon Valley Chapter
Saturday, June 1, 9 AM
Woodside, CA

Join the awesome pilgrims of the Silicon Valley chapter for this hike. Meet at the Woodside Elementary School at the corner of Woodside and Ablion. Parking available at the school. We’ll walk from the school to Huddart Park. Options of 2 miles, 4 miles, 5 miles and 9 miles round trip. Lunch afterwards at Buck’s. For trail maps and more info go to parks.smcgov.org/huddart-park. Bring the usual-water, snacks, good hiking shoes and sunscreen.
3195 Woodside Rd, Woodside, California 94062

Event for American Pilgrims on the Camino – Silicon Valley 


Lake Merritt Walk in Oakland – Every First Saturday
Saturday, June 1, 10:30 AM

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. Bring your questions, answers and pilgrim spirit! But leave the dogs at home (for insurance purposes.) Stay for lunch after the walk at a local restaurant, location TBD. If you’re on the NorCal Facebook group, join event.

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Camino and Hiking Events in May 2019

May is already here, which means I’ll be walking another Camino in just a few weeks! Needless to say, I’m a little nervous because I have a lot to do before I leave, but I am super excited to be walking Camino #4!

Below are hiking and Camino events in Northern California – some of which are hosted by our friends in the Sacramento and Silicon Valley chapters. Also, my latest wellness newsletter features a few events that pilgrims might like, such as Llamapalooza, hot stone therapy, yoga for every body, and an article about why nature is so good for our mental health.  If you dig it,  subscribe to the free monthly newsletter.

Lake Merritt Walk April 6, 2019

Lake Merritt Walk in Oakland – Every First Saturday
Saturday, May 4, 10:30 AM

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. Bring your questions, answers and pilgrim spirit! But leave the dogs at home (for insurance purposes.) Stay for lunch after the walk at a local restaurant, location TBD. If you’re on the NorCal Facebook group, join event.

Attention members attending this walk: Be the first to check out items from our revamped NorCal Chapter Library! It’s as easy as 1-2-3:
1. Request up to 3 items using the new form: https://forms.gle/SJiVuMYxkzkuJNKL8
2. Pick up your items at the Lake Merritt walk from a library volunteer and write your name on the item’s pocket card. You may keep them for up to 4 weeks.
3. Return items to a library volunteer at the next Lake Merritt walk or NorCal chapter event (per request form)

I’ll be there at the beginning of the June walk to answer questions and deliver items to the members who submitted a request through the form.


Long Walks – Peru and Japan with Sacramento Chapter
Tuesday, May 7th, 7 – 9 PM
Arden Dimick Library, Community Room

Join the Sacramento Pilgrims for presentations about long walks in Peru and Japan!

In January, 2019 Rella and Roger Remedios hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. They hiked five days and four nights along Camino Inca, reaching 14,000 feet, before descending through the Sun Gate and entering the extraordinary Machu Picchu. The slideshow will capture the beauty and hazards of the Inca Valley, trail and the stunning ruins of Machu Picchu.

The Kumano Kodo, an UNESCO World Heritage route, twinned with the Camino de Santiago, is an other-worldly and spiritual pilgrimage through the Kii peninsula, south of Osaka, Japan. Traversed by monks, emperors, kings and pilgrims, it follows temples and shrines and offers the most spectacular rural landscapes one can imagine. Roxanne has walked this twice and will talk about ryokans, onsens and the art of bowing and being a pilgrim. Come find out what you need to do to pick up your staff and earn your Dual Pilgrim Compostela!
Sacramento Library

Location: Arden Dimick Library – 891 Watt Ave (Watt at Northrop) View Map

See Facebook Event Sacramento Pilgrims.
Follow Sacramento Pilgrims Chapter.

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Camino and Hiking Events in April 2019

Happy spring! Below is a selection of upcoming events for the SF Bay Area including: Camino Brewing’s one year anniversary; a Camino Portugués Coastal presentation; a 2-day Mini Camino; a Flamenco show in Oakland; and a Marin Headlands hike. Alas, it’s high season for Camino planning, training, and gear fitting, so let’s hop right to it!

Preparing for the Camino de Santiago
Tuesday, April 2, 7-8:30 pm
Saratoga REI (San Jose)

So you’ve decided to hike the Camino de Santiago, or maybe you’re still thinking about it. You know how to pack for a vacation in Hawaii, but how do you pack for a hike in Spain? Join the Silicon Valley Chapter of the 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 talk about Camino routes and what to expect when you are walking.

Location: Saratoga REI
400 El Paseo de Saratoga, San Jose, CA 95130

Register online or in person.

Camino and Hiking Events in March 2019

There’s a lot going on this month with shell blessings in three local  chapters, a Camino film, Flamenco shows, and an urban trek. First, I want to give shout-outs to a few pilgrims who donated to my birthday fundraiser. These friends received the Camino de Santiago book for their donations: Veronica Alvarez, Frank Barrett, Andy Cohn, Mike Miller, and Jane Tishkoff.  So far I raised $311 towards my goal of $500 and there’s still time to support my good cause.  Cal Big Give for I-House fundraiser ends at 9pm on March 14th. Click for details and giving instructions. Special thanks to the author James Portelli for providing the books! 🙏 I have only a few left for gifts of $30 or more.

Below is a selection of upcoming events for the SF Bay Area. Continue reading

Camino and Hiking Events in February 2019

Hola amigos. As usual, our chapter kicks off each month with the Lake Merritt walk on the first Saturday, rain or shine. For the first time since I’ve been on this Camino kick, the walk falls on my birthday! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate: walking and talking with pilgrims, then having a few beers over lunchjust like a typical day on the Camino. 🙂

I wanted to help a charitable organization for people to make donations in lieu of gifts, and I found a cause that is very close to my heart. I work at a non-profit called International House at UC Berkeley, which houses nearly 600 students from 70 different countries. Our mission is to promote peace, friendship and cultural understanding through programs, leadership training, and the simple act of living together under one roof.  I have taken pilgrims here for lunch and hikes, and they marvel at the Spanish architecture, especially a few Camino shells carved into the decor! Each year, we have an online fundraising blitz called The Big Give, and this year it takes place on 3.14 (yes, on Pi day!).  This year, there is a special VIP access to donate early to International House.  If you are looking for a great organization to support, consider making a donation of $10 or more at biggive.berkeley.edu/VIP. Gifts of all sizes are greatly appreciated.

Easy steps:
Go to: biggive.berkeley.edu/VIP
Enter $ amount, click Continue.
Click Browse List. Make sure you click the Programs button!
Choose a Program, scroll to > International House
Choose a Giving Opportunity, scroll to > The Fund for I-House, as pictured below:

Big Give 2019

Click to donate: biggive.berkeley.edu/VIP

Friends, this is a very worthy cause.  And you would be doing me, the residents, and a historic institution a great service. The donations go where the need is greatest, including scholarships for deserving students in developing countries.  The world the I-House experience now more than ever. Thanks for your consideration.

Click the link below for upcoming hikes and Camino events.

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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: aleteia.org/)

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

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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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Returning Home: The Journey Continues

On November 10, 2018, the Northern California chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino held its annual Pilgrim Welcome Home Event in Oakland. We had a great turnout of 84 people, and everyone enjoyed celebrating our returning pilgrims, hospitaleros, and volunteers.

Our chapter committee likes to have a Camino presentation at these events, which also includes a potluck and sharing of Camino stories. This year, we wanted to present something different. Everyone talks about preparing for the Camino, but what is said about returning home? Re-entry can be a challenge, but nobody prepares for it.  What happens if you have a strong case of the PCBs (Post-Camino Blues)? Our Board liaison, Emilio Escudero to the rescue!

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Camino and Hiking Events in November 2018

Greetings from sunny Oakland, and happy November! Below is lineup of upcoming Camino-related events and hikes in the San Francisco Bay Area. You will also find a sneak preview of NorCal Chapter T-shirts that I’ve been working on. And for those who might enjoy some different ways to alleviate stress, check out my November Yoga & Wellness Tribe Newsletter. 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, October 6, 2018

Lake Merritt Walk
Saturday, November 3, 2018 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.

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