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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Camino and Hiking Events in October 2018

Happy autumn! 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 October Yoga & Wellness Tribe Newsletter.

World Premiere Screening of Old Survivor
Tuesday, October 9th
Chabot Space & Science Center

One of my favorite Bay Area non-profits, Oakland Trails, has just completed their second documentary, Old Survivor, about the wonder and resilience of Oakland’s redwoods. In the 1850’s, fueled by the California Gold Rush, an ancient redwood forest was drastically logged to help build San Francisco. Yet one old tree was left behind.

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Camino and Hiking Events in September 2018

Below is lineup of upcoming Camino-related events and hikes for September 2018 in the San Francisco Bay Area.  But first, I would like to announce my new Wellness Tribe Newsletter, launched in September.  See first issue here. There are so many amazing events and resources to share, so this newsletter will feature wellness-focused topics, including:

  • workshops and retreats led by my favorite yoga teachers
  • free online courses, summits, and meditations
  • mindful practices for stress relief
  • yoga stretches for pilgrims
  • interesting tidbits I learn about in my continuing education
  • books that I recommend
  • fun events in the Bay Area
  • my upcoming classes (also listed at thecaminoprovides.com/yoga/)

The newsletter frequency will be no more than once per month. I take your privacy seriously, and never sell or share email addresses. You can opt out at any time by following the link at the bottom of each newsletter email. Subscribe now. 

Okay, here’s the lineup for September!

Lake Merritt Walk
Saturday, September 1, 10:30 AM to 12 PM

Join us on this 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 and start walking by 10:45. 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! Below is a video of our last walk on August 4th.

Directions: Take BART to the Lake Merritt or 19th Street Oakland station and navigate your way to the Pergola.
Service Modification for Labor Day Weekend 9/1 – 9/3: For those coming from SF on BART, train service will stop at West Oakland with free AC Transit bus bridge to 19th Street. See the BART alert for details.

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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Camino and Hiking Events in August 2018

Buen día, amigos. Local Camino events provide some great training hikes and learning opportunities, plus the camaraderie of being on the Camino, right here at home. Below is lineup of Camino-related events and hikes for August 2018 in the San Francisco Bay Area and slightly beyond.

Lake Merritt Walk
Saturday, August 4, 10:30 am

Join us on this 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!

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Celebrating Saint James Day

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. Below are some photos of this year’s show, courtesy of Robert Anderson, pilgrim from South Africa.

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Check out this mesmerizing video:

Robert and Darren Combrink are currently walking to Finisterre to complete their epic Camino and fundraiser for Walking For Life.  Bravo guys! Buen Camino!

Meanwhile, closer to home

All over America, pilgrims celebrate St. James Day in different ways. Bay Area pilgrims started on Saturday, July 21st with an urban Camino in San Francisco. The 12-mile trek began near Ocean Beach and continued through the Sunset neighborhood on Santiago Street, up to Mt. Davidson (SF’s highest peak), through the Mission district to St. James church for a mass and pilgrim blessing. We ended the day with tapas, paella, and sangria at at Spanish restaurant. Here’s the video created with MapMyHike and Relive Apps:

For those who missed it, you can follow our footsteps and do this walk any time. And this coming weekend is when he church is actually celebrating Saint James Day!
July 28, noon – 3 pm meditation stations.
July 29, 10:30 mass, followed by BBQ.  Here’s a snapshot of the bulletin announcement.

Saint James Catholic Church is located at: Guerrero St & 23rd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Feast of Saint James Day Potluck & Blessing

On Wednesday, July 25th, our NorCal APOC chapter hosted a Feast of St. James Potluck at Corpus Christi church in Piedmont, with a presentation about Saint James and a blessing for departing pilgrims. I wanted to have a special event in the East Bay, and my parish was the perfect place to have it. The church is located on Saint James Drive, after all!

Double click on photos below to see larger version and read captions.

The Camino Provides Patch Special: 7 for $25

I decided to extend a special deal on patches through July 31.
St. James Day flash sale: Buy 7 patches for just $25 and get free shipping!

It is fun to give patches to friends and pilgrims on the Camino or back at home as a way to commemorate their Caminos. See all patches at Etsy.com/shop/caminoprovides. 
UPDATE: If you missed out on this special, it will be offered again next July for St. James Day. The best deal now is the Buy 12, get 3 free, mix and match, free stickers.

Message from American Pilgrims on the Camino

Below you will find a message from the APOC Board of Directors:

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Camino and Hiking Events in July 2018

Happy summer! Below is lineup of Camino-related events and hikes for July 2018 in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am excited about these events because as a recent returnee of the Camino, local events provide some of the pilgrim camaraderie and experience of being on the Camino, right here at home. Plus, there are three unique ways to celebrate St. James Day in Northern California. He’s the reason for the pilgrimage, after all!

Lake Merritt Walk
Saturday, July 7, 10:30 am

Join us on this 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!

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