The regional chapter for Northern California, centered on the San Francisco Bay Area, was established in January 2011.
Broadly stated, the purpose of this local chapter is to keep members connected to the Camino and to introduce new people to the phenomenon. We accomplish this in a number of ways, such as social events, walks, mentoring future pilgrims and serving as a local host for hospitalero training through American Pilgrims.
Upcoming chapter events are listed below and in our Facebook group. If you live in the area, request to join the group. We also send event announcements by email. If you would like to receive our messages, sign up on our subscription page.
We can pair you with an experienced pilgrim who can answer your questions on how to prepare and what to expect. Contact chapter coordinators Laurie Ferris and Guy Joaquin at NorCal@americanpilgrims.org to be connected with a mentor.
You can always email us to find out what we're up to!
Lake Merritt Walks
First Saturday of the month, 10:30 AM - 12:00 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 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 (~1.5 mile walk). 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.
There is usually an optional brunch and, sometimes, a special presentation after the walk for those interested in gathering with other pilgrims to talk about the Camino. Bring along cash for brunch. To RSVP, join our Facebook group and go to the "Events" section. Look for "Lake Merritt Walk."
For insurance purposes, we are unable to welcome dogs, except service animals, at our events.
The program at our 2018 Welcome Home Potluck included a presentation by Emilio Escudero on "Returning Home: The Journey Continues." Emilio provided the materials to help you “unpack your Camino.”
The program at our 2017 Welcome Home Potluck included short "10x10" presentations on Camino routes “beyond the Francés."
Laurie Ferris: Camino Inglés
Mike Miller: Camino Primitivo
Leo Halim: Camino Portugués (Coastal)
Farah Priela: Le Puy, France
Brien Crothers: Via de la Plata
Richard Duker: Camino Aragonés
Jason & Susi Jensen: Caminos Norte & Primitivo
2017 Blessing & Shell Ceremony Potluck
Getting Started on the Camino de Santiago
Introduction to The Ways of "The Way"
Camino Packing Guide
Injury Prevention Tips for the Camino
Helpful Camino Websites
Leave No Trace: Ethics for the Camino
Emilio Escudero: Returning Home: The Journey Continues
Scott Williams: Injury Prevention Tips for the Camino: Part 1
Scott Williams: Injury Prevention Tips for the Camino: Part 2
Scott Williams: Injury Prevention Tips for the Camino: Part 3
CaminoFlix Lending Library (an exclusive program for American Pilgrim members):
Among the many benefits of American Pilgrims membership, chapter members are eligible to borrow DVDs and other items from our CaminoFlix Library for free.
Member Camino Blogs and Websites:
Laurie Ferris maintains a blog dedicated to planning for the Camino and sharing stories about the pilgrim's journey. She has included her Camino Portugués, Inglés, Primitivo and Finisterre travelogues.
San Franciscan Mike Miller has written a blog about his Camino experiences on the Portugués, Francés, Primitivo and Finisterre.
To stay connected with us, join our chapter Facebook group.
Consider joining the American Pilgrims on the Camino Facebook group for great dialogue, Q&A, photos and a running commentary about the Camino from like-minded pilgrims around the country.