Camino and Hiking Events: March 2020

Hola peregrinos! There’s a lot of great events this month including our annual shell ceremony with breakouts on different Camino routes (CANCELLED), a Pilgrim Talk on Le Puy route (CANCELLED), and a hike to Mt. Tam (CANCELLED).

Update: as of March 16, 2020, the SF Bay Area is locked down under the shelter-in-place order to help stop the spread of Coronavirus.

Learn how to score a pair of yoga pants with an “EZPee” zipper. Plus, support International House and I’ll add your name to my Peregrino Donativo Wall of Gratitude list below. Thanks for your support!

Lake Merritt Walk
Saturday, March 7th, 10:30 AM – 12 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.  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: Lake Merritt Walk.  As always, we encourage carpools, public transportation, and Lyft or Uber as parking is limited in the area on Saturdays.

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Camino and Hiking Events: February 2020

Hello all.  I’m sending this a few days early as we have our monthly walk on Sat. Feb. 1st. Other highlights this month:  TWO Pilgrim talks at Berkeley libraries (wellness and Kumano Kodo), Camino 101 packing at Sacramento REI, and Basic Spanish for the Camino. Skip to these events.

It’s an exciting time in the Bay Area as many of us will be watching the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.  We’ll also be celebrating my birthday, which falls on Super Bowl Sunday.  For my birthday wish, I am asking friends and family to support a  fundraiser for the non-profit I work at.  International House at UC Berkeley is home to nearly 600 students from over 75 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 worked at International House for 15 years now and see how gifts to I-House make a big difference in the lives of deserving students.  You can help kick start our annual Big Give fundraiser by making a donation of $10 or more at biggive.berkeley.edu/VIP. 

Optional patches: I have a personal goal to exceed what I raised last year, so I’ll give a Camino Provides patch to any pilgrim who donates $20 or more in honor of my birthday for the month of February. Just follow the steps below, email me your donation confirmation, and I’ll send you a patch! Want a few patches? For every increment of $20, I’ll send an additional patch to thank you for your support. Yes, patches can be purchased for $4 each on Etsy, but for my birthday month, I’m offering them to the VIPs who donate via the steps below. So, consider being part of something BIG and helping me raise some money for a great cause!

1. Go to: biggive.berkeley.edu/VIP
2. Enter $ amount, click Continue.
3. Click Browse List. Make sure you click the Programs button!
4. Choose a Program, scroll to > International House
5. Choose a Giving Opportunity, scroll to > The Fund for I-House
6. Follow the prompts
to make your secure gift.
7. If you want a patch, email me your donation confirmation and let me know what style (Original, 2019, or 2020) See patch options.

Donors of $100 or more will be listed in the I-House Times newsletter, but gifts of all sizes are greatly appreciated! This donativo opportunity can help deserving students at UC Berkeley.  More reasons and ways to give are listed at IHouse.berkeley.edu/support

Thanks for your support!  And now, back to our regular programming. 🙂

Below is the Camino and Hiking events roundup for February.


Lake Merritt Jan 2020

Lake Merritt walk – January 2020

Lake Merritt Walk + Optional Lunch
Saturday, February 1st, 10:30 AM – 12 PM

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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.

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Camino and Hiking Events in December 2019

Winter is a time to slow down and enjoy the holidays with family, but it is also a great time to train for the Camino. I have found that the climate in Galicia in springtime is similar to that in Northern California—a wild mix of rain, wind, fog, and sunshineso you can test your own endurance along with your rain gear.  This month, Bay Area pilgrims can join chapter socials, presentations, trekking poles workshop, a winter solstice hike, and a Flamenco show. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays & Buen Camino

Sacramento Social: Stocking Stuffers, Pilgrim Office, and 10×10s, Oh My!
Thursday, December 5th, 7 –  9 PM

Join the Sacramento Chapter at the Arden Dimick Library’s Community Room for a full evening of Camino camaraderie! Continue reading

Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving

Every fall, our chapter hosts a gathering of pilgrims as a “welcome home” celebration, complete with a potluck, special presentation, and pilgrims’ story hour. It’s a nice way for pilgrims to mingle and share stories among those who can relate. Let’s face it, some of our friends and family won’t ever understand the appeal of the Camino. That’s okay, because we have our own special Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving, minus the turkey and the drama!

Jamon Slicing We Americans like turkey on Thanksgiving, but pilgrims love jamón serrano on potluck day! Bryan Winter brought us right back to Spain with this jamón, sliced to perfection! Bravo! Continue reading

Camino and Hiking Events in November 2019

Hola, peregrinos.  Below is the roundup of Camino events and hikes in the SF Bay Area.

Packing for your pilgrimage walk on the Camino de Santiago
7:00 PM  –  8:30 PM
Berkeley REI

Packing for walking the Camino may seem overwhelming, but in this informative presentation by experienced Camino hikers Laurie Ferris and Susan Alcorn, you can put your concerns to rest. On their own Caminos, both have learned much about what to bring and what not to bring. They’ll discuss backpacks, clothing, shoes, sleeping gear, hiking poles, toiletries, and more. They’ll also talk about how to pack a backpack so that it’s most comfortable. Laurie and Susan are not in total agreement on what items are best to bring–and hope that new hikers will find it reassuring that there is no ONE right way–there are many right ways. They are in agreement about keeping the weight of your pack low and not packing based on fears. Laurie Ferris is co-coordinator of the Northern CA chapter of American Pilgrims and has hiked the Camino Ingles, Portuguese, Primitivo, and Invierno routes. Susan Alcorn, author of two Camino books, has hiked the Frances, Norte, Primitivo, Portuguese and more.

Register for Berkeley event on Nov. 6, 2019

It’s an honor to be co-presenting with Susan Alcorn. She wrote the first book I read about the Camino, Camino Chronicle, and has a great website and monthly newsletter.  A few years ago, Susan wrote a guest post, Love and Life on the Camino, which is featured on my Love, Camino Style page.


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Cultivating Camino Community

For us pilgrims, the Camino community at home is often a necessity to keep the spirit alive throughout the year. Our chapter’s 2nd annual St. James Day Celebration in Piedmont, California, was a great example of how pilgrims come together to cultivate community. As a chapter coordinator, I find this annual event is my favorite to organize, not just because it takes place in my neighborhood parish. Rather, it has become a meaningful way to honor the reason for the pilgrimage, celebrate with friends, provide a blessing to departing pilgrims, and to introduce St. James to those who are curious.

It was a joy to bring both of my communities—parish and pilgrims—together for this special evening. The first part of the event was tailored for our pilgrim community with a potluck dinner and chapter announcements. I swear, our potlucks keep getting better each time!

There were Camino-inspired dishes, wine, tapas, paellas, caldo de Galicia, and of course, the superstar of the occasion, Tarta de Santiago. There were a few, actually! Continue reading

Camino and Hiking Events in October 2019

Happy Fall! I am excited to share some upcoming Camino events in the Bay Area.

Lake Merritt Walk + Camino Packing Presentation
Saturday, October 5th
Oakland, CA

Lake Merritt Walk
10:30 AM – 12 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. 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. Stay for the presentation at the Lakeview Library (details below).

Presentation: Camino 101: Packing
1 – 2 PM

Join the Northern California Chapter for a presentation led by Camino veteran Rob Nickerson at the Lakeview Branch of the Oakland Public Library. We’ll continue our educational series with a presentation on packing that includes a gear panel of experienced pilgrims. Whether you’re a first-timer or seasoned veteran, you’re sure to pick up invaluable info, tips and tricks for your next Camino!

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Camino and Hiking Events in September 2019

See below for the lineup of Camino-related events and hikes in September.

Lake Merritt Walk + Camino Presentation
Saturday, September 7th
Oakland, CA

Lake Merritt Walk
10:30 AM – 12 PM

As usual, first Saturday of the month, rain or shine. Meet at the Lake Merritt Pergola.

Presentation: Camino Basics: Everything you need to know to start planning a walk on the Camino de Santiago
1 – 2 PM

Join the Northern California Chapter for a presentation by Camino veteran Rob Nickerson at the Lakeview Branch of the Oakland Public Library.

New to the Camino de Santiago and don’t know where to start? Been around a while but still have questions? Just curious about the Camino? Then this presentation is for you. In one hour we will cover all the basics about the Camino.

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Camino and Hiking Events July – August

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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