american pilgrims  

Portlandia (Portland, Oregon) Chapter

The regional chapter of American PIlgrims for the western Oregon area is centered on Portland. 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 plan to accomplish this in a number of ways, such as social events, walks, mentoring future pilgrims and serving as a venue for hospitalero training through American Pilgrims.

  • To offer opportunities for local pilgrims to gather and hold events related to the Camino.
  • To mentor future pilgrims, promote the pilgrimage and American Pilgrims through social gatherings.
  • To serve as a venue for hospitalero training in the Pacific Northwest.                                  

The chapter will be scheduling walks, talks, potlucks and much more! These will be listed here but you may also want to check the Local and Regional Events page for other events that may be of interest. Contact chapter coordinator John Pigott at for more information or to be added to the chapter e-mail list.


We offer a shell ceremony that includes a pilgrim blessing, with your own personalized copy, and a scallop shell, to all pilgrims departing in any given month who request it. Please e-mail your shell ceremony requests to our chapter e-mail ( early enough so we can have everything ready by the following Third Sunday Stroll.


Scheduled Events

April Sunday Stroll and Shell Ceremony
Sunday, April 27, 2014, 2:00 pm (Pease note the date change due to Easter)

We will be doing our regular third Sunday stroll on fourth Sunday, April 27th, in West Linn, at the Mary S. Young State Park. Start time will be at 2:00 pm as usual. We will gather and leave from the main parking lot (the paved one, not the gravel one which is the first one you come to as you enter the park). This will be a 2.3–mile hike over forested paths. The terrain is variable with some moderate climbs and descents. The path is narrow and will not accommodate more than two abreast over most of its length. However, on the plus side, it is well shaded and is a very beautiful walk. There is plenty of parking available in the paved lot at the end of the park entrance road. Trail map.

After the walk we will gather for our Q&A session at the West Linn Pub (19389 Willamette Dr.,West Linn, OR 97068) If you are planning to leave for the Camino prior to our next gathering in May and you would like to receive the pilgrim blessing and scallop shell, please e-mail the chapter ( with your name so we can prepare everything for presentation on April 27th. We look forward to seeing everyone there!

This is a rain or shine event with no RSVP required - just show up and join the fun!

Recent Events

Fort Vancouver Sunday Stroll
Fort Vancouver Historic Reserve

• Sunday, March 16, 2014: Third Sunday Stroll, Fort Vancouver Historic Reserve: Well you did it again! Our merry band of Portlandia pilgrims continues to set new records for turnout at our monthly Sunday strolls. Yesterday was another record as 52 smiling faces gathered with backs turned to a blustery SE'ly wind, laced with the threat of rain. We met at McMenamin's on the Columbia, a local restaurant situated right on the north bank of the Columbia River, and set out for a four mile walk along the river and up through the Fort Vancouver Historic Reserve (think Hudson Bay Company), then circled back to McMenamins. The rain held off for most of our walk, but eventually caught up with us as we neared the finish. The really serious rain set in later that night so we were spared the worst of it. As our group gathered at the restaurant for our usual social hour, it became evident that the restaurant was not going to be able to handle a crowd of our size. We wanted to hold a Shell Ceremony for our six departing pilgrims so we improvised a bit and offered our blessing and presented them with their shells in a makeshift lee in front of the building. It wasn't perfect, but we managed to send them all off with blessings and shells. The socializing piece suffered as we were not able to gather as a group. Simply no room at the inn. I apologize for that as it has become a great way to end our walks and strengthen our fledgling pilgrim community. We will have to give this part of our walks some more thought. My thanks again to all who attended yesterday's walk, and who continue to support our growing group of hearty souls who are called to the camino. A tip of the hat to all.


• Saturday, March 1, 2014: Screening of the film Wayfaring - A Jaunt along the Camino de Santiago

A wet Mount Tabor Park Sunday
A wet Third Sunday Stroll in Mount Tabor Park

Sunday February 16, 2014: Third Sunday Stroll, Mount Tabor Park
Strong winds and continuous rain were in the forecast, but, despite the forecasted gloom, 37 fellow pilgrims, and pilgrims to be, gathered at Portland's Mt. Tabor Park for our regularly scheduled Sunday stroll. We expected lesser numbers due to the weather forecast, but were pleasantly surprised at the turnout. This is now the second month in a row where attendance has been significantly larger than expected. This is very encouraging for our chapter, which is only two years old, and yet shows great and growing, enthusiasm for our pilgrim community. As it turned out, the weather was not that bad. Yes, it did rain a bit, but the winds held off until later in the day. Everyone enjoyed each other's company, the park's pleasant surroundings, and the varied terrain. After our walk we gathered, nearby, at the Tabor Tavern. It was a great wrap up as people had plenty of time to have more fun, ask questions, get advice and share in the Shell Ceremony. As our group was fairly large, we opted to wait until the group was ready to leave, and then moved outside to some picnic tables to hold our Shell Ceremony. We had six departing pilgrims receive a blessing and shell. They were beaming! Several chapter members shared reading the blessing which, judging by the looks on many faces, was greatly appreciated. All in all it was a wonderful afternoon shared with friends committed to our surprisingly energetic pilgrim community. We look forward to seeing many of our group next month at our next Sunday Stroll.

Safe passage, and buen camino, to all our departing pilgrims.

• Sunday, January 19, 2014: Third Sunday Stroll and Shell Ceremony


Café con Leche y Más
Last Tuesday of every month starting January 28, 2014, 10:00 am
Location (TBD) will be given to those who RSVP.

Starting January 28th, we will be meeting at 10:00 am, on the last Tuesday of each month, (at a location to be determined) for coffee, and camino related discussions. Working on your packing list? Bring it and get feedback! Trying to figure out the best way to book your flights? Bring your laptop and we will look at some of the most common websites for finding the best fares. Trying to decide which route to walk, and how to train for it? Let's discuss. Please RSVP (in January) as most coffee shops are small with limited seating. The number of people attending will help us determine a suitable location. Heather Knight has kindly agreed to lead these informal coffee sessions. Please RSVP to our chapter e-mail (, and CC Heather at, if you are interested. This is a new activity for our chapter so let's see how this goes for a few months. We will still be holding our monthly Third Sunday Strolls. This new activity will be in addition to those. Our goal is to provide a variety of opportunities for our members to gather, enjoy each other's company, and help one another with camino related issues. Thank you in advance for your support.

Third Sunday Strolls
Third Sunday of every month excluding November and December
Location to be determined each month

Join us on the third Sunday of each month (excluding November and December) at 2: 00 pm at a Portland/Vancouver area park for a 2 to 4 mile stroll with fellow pilgrims. This is an excellent opportunity to meet your fellow pilkgrims, try out new gear, talk with camino veterans, get a bit of fresh air, strech those muscles and get answers to all your camino related questions. We typically gather after the stroll at a nearby bar/restaurant for refreshments and socializing. An e-mail notice goes out early each month to everyone on our chapter contact list giving the details of that month's walk and the location of the meeting place. This is a rain or shine event. You do not need to RSVP. Just show up ready for some fun. To have your e-mail address addded to our list, simply contact us at We also offer a shell ceremony that includes a pilgrim blessing, with your own personalized copy, and a scallop shell, to all pilgrims departing in any given month who request it. Please e-mail your shell ceremony request to our chapter e-mail early enough so we can have everything ready by the following Third Sunday Stroll.


Local Resources
For Training and Preparation, we are working at compiling a list of local Portland-area (really, anywhere in Western Oregon north of Eugene) resources for pilgrims preparing for walking the Camino. Places to buy gear, favorite trails or walking routes, etc. If you have a recommendation, please send us an email and we'll add it to the list. This information will be put into a Google Doc that everyone can access when it is completed.

Camino mentoring
Some of you may have questions about planning your Camino and some of you may be interested in sharing your Camino knowledge with others. If you are interested in serving as a mentor to a future pilgrim, please send us an email ( with your contact information (email, phone and what route/when you walked). If you are a future pilgrim would like to be mentored, please send us an email with your contact information (email, phone and what route you are thinking about walking). If we have some matches, we'll put you in contact with one another. As always, Kathy and I are always willing and able to get together with anyone planning their Camino walk to answer questions and give advice.

Rev 04/08/14

American Pilgrims on the Camino
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