Pilgrimage in California, USA

California… I have recently visited Los Angeles (February 2019) and was amazed by the pleasant climate and beautiful nature there. Seems to be a paradise to walk! Here are some ideas on pilgrimage routes.

El Camino Real

El Camino Real (also known as the Royal Way and Missions Trail), started to be established in the 18th century as a way connecting colonial Spanish Missions, villages, and forts. It was named like that to honor the Spanish royalties who were sponsoring the Catholic missions of spreading Christianity among the Native Americans at that time. Nowadays, El Camino Real is 800 miles (~1300 km) long trail and it takes ~54 days to walk it all but it is also adaptable to a weekend or one-week pilgrimages. Originally, El Camino Real starts at Mission San Diego de Alcalá, in San Diego, and ends at San Francisco Solano, in Sonoma (or vice versa). It is okay to walk all year round, with the food and accommodation available every 15-30 miles along the way. (You can plan and reserve your accommodation through booking.com website – I always find it there). You’ll find most of the information about walking this pilgrimage on the “California Mission Walkers” website. They also have an informative further resources page. For more resources see one of the Camino de Santiago forums. You can find a full list of 21 Missions and short histories on each of them on the “California Parks and Recreation” website.

Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta is a 4322 m volcano (last erupted in 1786) that stands in the North of California state and is famous for its special atmosphere. This mountain is a sacred place to several Native American cultures (like the Karuk, Yurok, Shasta, Hupa, Yana, Pit River, Wiyot, and Wintu). According to their beliefs, Mount Shasta is a gate to the souls of the dead to leave the Earth and proceed to the Milky Way. For the Native American shamans Mount Shasta is not only a place of healing energy but also a variety of medicinal herbs are growing there. More stories and historical facts about Mount Shasta can be found in these websites Mount Shasta Spirit, Native American RootsThe official website for visiting Mount Shasta provides all necessary information about how to get there, accommodation and activities.

Mount Diablo and Mount Tamalpais, San Francisco Bay

Mount Diablo (1,173 m) and Mount Tamalpais (784 m) are located opposite to each other in the San Francisco Bay area and are renowned by native Miwok and Ohlone people as sacred places. According to the legends, these two peaks were places of creation, where the creator Coyote with the help of Eagleman created all Native Americans and the world they are living. Nowadays, both places are open to the public and are parts of national parks (find relevant visiting information in Mount Diablo State Park and Mount Tamalpais State Park websites).

Wisdom Tree in Griffith Park, Los Angeles

If you landed in Los Angeles and have little time, take a walk in Griffith Park. It has a variety of trails to everyone’s taste and fitness and you would be able to visit many of the iconic places of Los Angeles, like the Hollywood sign, the Griffith Observatory, and perhaps to walk to the Wisdom Tree – the only tree that survived the wildfires of 2007. In order to see all those objects, you can walk a loop from the Griffith Observatory (see the “Alltrails” map or the Griffith Park map). In case you decide to go straight to the Wisdom Tree, follow a story and directions in “Exsplore” blog.