Support Camino Cleanup

I am happy to share a special guest post by Camino angel and bestselling author Karin Kiser.

Support Camino Cleanup

During my first Camino in 2011, I was disheartened by the amount of trash I saw along the route. I was determined to play a part in leaving the Camino in better condition than when I found it. Unfortunately, for all my good intentions, the last thing I wanted to do while walking all day fully loaded with a backpack and trekking poles was stop and collect some rubbish. Bending down with a full pack seemed a Herculean task. So my cleanup efforts were limited to areas where I was already resting without the load of backpack.

Last year when I was volunteering in Galicia, I was finally free of the backpack and could begin to pick up trash in earnest. During those two-weeks I took responsibility for the 3 km stretch on either side of the albergue and rounded up a dozen bags of waste.

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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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Meet Karin, a Camino Angel

Every once in a while, you hear about an angel on the Camino. Perhaps you’ve met one while walking, or have been the recipient of first aid, a ride, or shelter when you desperately needed it.  It’s true, peregrinos look out for one another, and a few look after the environment of the Camino itself. Imagine seeing a pilgrim who walks all day picking up trash along a Camino. Karin Kiser has taken on the arduous duty of Camino cleanup, one disposable pillowcase full of trash at a time! 

Read her story below from a recent interview Karin had with the good folks at Galiwonders.  

When Karin is not on the Camino, she writes incredibly useful books, such as Lighten Your Load and Free and Clear, with the mission of helping people reduce the physical, mental, and emotional toxins blocking their path. Yes, please! Karin recently published two mini guidebooks, Your Inner Camino and After the Camino. As of writing this, I am just days away from walking my fourth Camino, and will be bringing the Your Inner Camino with me.

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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.

Sharing the Camino Light through Service

Note: This article was published in the March 2019 La Concha newsletter for American Pilgrims on the Camino. (See page 8).

The notion of walking the Camino first came at a time in my life when I was looking for a more meaningful way to travel and feeling the desire to serve. I became consumed with researching, training, packing, repacking, blogging, and chatting with pilgrims. This happened a few years before I turned 50—and to some of my friends and family, it appeared I was going through a midlife crisis! Perhaps I was, but I couldn’t have picked a healthier addiction, because the Camino ultimately led to a variety of ways that I can serve.

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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.

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Canadian Wanderers on the Camino

On Valentine’s Day, we add another Camino Love story to the collection. Rob and his wife walked the Camino Francés in 2015. I knew him first as “Canadian Wander” on the Camino de Santiago UK forum, and like every Canadian I’ve met, his interactions are positive and friendly. He recalls his reluctance to the idea of walking, but, with the help of his adventure-seeking wife, Rob eventually became a Camino convert.  Enjoy!

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Love: Chemistry and Commitment in Equal Measure

A Camino Love Story by James Portelli

James is a guest contributor to The Camino Provides, and also the author of  the new book Camino de Santiago: Microcosm of Life.  I walked the Camino Primitivo in 2018 with James and his wife Rituccia after visiting them in Malta. Their love for walking predates their encounter with the Camino de Santiago. But embarking on their first Camino signaled a new phase in the journey together, and resulted in the birth of XirCammini, a voluntary organization focusing on ancient Caminos in Europe. It is an honor to add their unique love storywhich  spans continents and decadesto the collection of Camino love stories featured on this blog.

Love: Chemistry and Commitment in Equal Measure
By James Portelli

Love is essentially woven into the route of the journey called life.

It is life’s greatest adventure. It is often at the root of our uphill struggles and is one’s walking sticks on a steep downhill or slippery slope. It is our support when we falter. Love guides one through the quagmire. It casts certainty at a crossroad, and yet, imbues hesitation and introspection where fools rush in.

Love is a waymark by the side of one’s road guiding us on the journey.

Love is in the youthful exhilaration when peaks are conquered and rewarded with panoramas of what lay behind and what lies ahead.

Some pilgrims on this journey are truly blessed and I count myself among them.  Love is embodied in our companion on this journey called life; a companion that walks sometimes with us and beside us, sometimes ahead, and at other times behind. Whether walking physically together or journeying apart, we are never absent in mind and heart.

Through love joy multiplies.

May 2016 Finisterre at the "0" km Waymark

May 2016 Finisterre at the “0” km Waymark

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