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

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 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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Back Home From 4th Camino


I just returned home from another relatively short Camino. Two travel days, one night in Rabanal, one night in Ponferrada, ten days of walking, and two days in Santiago.

Winter Way guidebookI was craving a less crowded walk, so decided to do the Camino Invierno, aka Winter Way,  from Ponferrada.  This is definitely a less-trodden Camino, but little did I know that I wouldn’t see a pilgrim until the third day! This was by far the most challenging Camino for me because some of the stages were very long, and a few days there were no places to stop. But, I walked through incredibly beautiful landscapes, connected with some locals, and survived some unforeseen challenges.  In short, it was a Camino of solitude at the beginning, a test of my fortitude in the middle, but throughout it all, left me with a feeling of extreme gratitude. I will write more about it later.  I did some posts on Instagram and Facebook if you want a sneak preview of my adventures and a few pilgrim hacks, see:

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Giving Back on Camino

Hola from Ponferrada, España.

I just started walking the Camino Invierno! I will write a detailed route report upon my return. For now, I am excited to share a cause that I am supporting and ask for your help pitching in. During my Camino, between May 17-28, $2 from every patch sale will be donated to Egeria House in Santiago to support the work of Sybille Yates and the volunteers who help pilgrims in need. My patches can be ordered for $4 each at:

I met Sybille in Santiago after my last two Caminos and witnessed how she has helped many pilgrims. Sybille is a busy woman! After seeing her at the 10 am mass, handing out hymn sheets and helping pilgrims to find a seat, I saw her again at the hospital visiting a friend of mine from the Bay Area who became critically ill while walking the Camino. Because I have seen her kindness in action, I want to show support for what she is doing in Santiago with Egeria House. She is one of those Camino angels I will write about when I get back home.

Learn more at: Egeria.House

My patches can be ordered at:

I will give Egeria House the patch sale contributions when I get to Santiago on May 27th or 28th.

Thank you for sharing the Camino love!

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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:
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

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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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 Gifts of all sizes are greatly appreciated.

Easy steps:
Go to:
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:

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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