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El Camino de Santiago

Running and Outdoor enthusiasts often have ambitious goals whether it’s an initial 5k, a first half marathon, or completing a full-length hike of the Appalachian Trail. For some, these activities are primarily a physical challenge yet for others, there is an emotional or spiritual connection to the completion.

One such adventure is the “El Camino de Santiago” or “The Way of Saint James”. The Camino is a medieval Christian pilgrim’s way that traces its path across Spain to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostella, where legend has it that the Apostle Saint James the Elder is buried.

Throughout the medieval period, this was one of the three great pilgrimages one could undertake and so there grew an infrastructure to provide direction, food, and lodging to the pilgrims. This infrastructure has continued and expanded into the present day.

For the medieval Christian, the goal was the forgiveness of sins or spiritual assistance from the Saint. For the modern pilgrim, reasons may range from historical to psychological to spiritual to the physical challenge of walking a minimum of 100k or cycling 200k. 

For those interested in the Camino, we have here an organization dedicated to providing information, gathering pilgrims, and supporting the Camino. The Central Pennsylvania Chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino, one of 55 chapters in the U.S.

I came across the organization at an event held at Kings Gap by Camille Baughman, who had trekked the Camino in 2012. Her fascinating presentation intrigued me and gave me a bucket list idea.

For those with even a vague interest in the Camino, the Central Pa chapter holds events and hikes throughout the year. One does not need to be a member of the chapter or the national organization to attend. The group shares stories and experiences of the trail as well as fellowship. 

For more information about the local chapter, contact Camille Baughman at or For more information about the national organization, head to the website

About the author: Joe is a store associate at AppRunCo Carlisle. He loves running the city streets and hiking the great outdoors. In addition to being outside, Joe is a DJ and art columnist. He is a dad of two and has been married for 30 years.