Camino de Crestone
“The planet’s first inter-faith pilgrimage”
“The planet’s first inter-faith pilgrimage”
Unforgettable Days
Amid some of the best of Colorado, at the foot of the sacred Sangre de Cristos, a village unique in all the world beckons you to experience ashrams, zendos, stupas, retreats, labyrinths, temples, sweat  lodges, sanctuaries and much more…
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FAQs: Photo of Shumei 3-window interior

--How long is the pilgrimage? 
About 40 kilometers (25 miles) over 7 days.

--What is the distance?
You will be walking from 1 to 5 miles a day.  And yet there is no distance, since the pilgrimage is also about the quest for one’s true self.

--Do I have to have hiking experience?
No.  Since the longest daily walk is less  than 5 miles and the Camino de Crestone involves no climbing, there is no requirement for previous hiking experience.

--Will I be walking alone or in a group? 
The Camino de Crestone, existing to offer the very best experience, is geared for  groups  of 7-14 persons.  Since there will be events and presentations, a group context  is necessary…yet loosely  organized.  There will be a buddy system and two group leaders on the Camino de Crestone, which is designed to be a week of mini-immersions. 
If you wish to walk this inter-faith Camino alone, that option is definitely available (See ‘Personal Pilgrimage’), but the presentations/events cannot be included for single travelers.

--What if I’m an agnostic or atheist?
The Camino de Crestone is understood to be primarily educational and far more experiential than religious, which is not to deny in the least its spiritual potential.
Everyone is invited, for the Camino de Crestone will certainly bear gifts for anyone who is interested in such an adventure.

--Will any of the spiritual centers try to convert me? 
Not at all.  The presentations and participative events are both informational and spiritually deepening, the focus being on experience. 

--What if I have special dietary needs? 
Fine.  Just be clear on your registration and specific as to your requirements.

--Can I do this pilgrimage by myself and not with a group, and, if so, how
long will it take? 
Yes.  You can do it over two or three or more days. (See ‘Personal Pilgrimage’)

--Is this pilgrimage outer or inner?
The Camino de Crestone definitely has both its horizontal and vertical dimensions, which is to say that it is a fine amalgam of both an outer journey and an inner pilgrimage.  It is designed for you to find out more about the possibilities that exist as regard to your deeper personal interests and longings. 

--What should I bring?
Here a recommended list of WHAT TO BRING:
Hat with wide brim
Water bottle (until you wish to use bottled water)
Excellent ear plugs (30+NRR) & eyemask
Sleeping bag (a summer bag to 40 degrees)
Hiking shoes (neither heavy nor too solid--hiking boots not required)
Good socks (best are wool socks, 2 pairs)
Mosquito repelent (June through August)
Sunscreen (w. titanium dioxide) ???
Walking sticks, if you wish, though the distances are not great
Toilet paper
And, of course, a change of clothes (comfy and with short dry time)

For Tenters:
Sleeping pad

--Can I bring a pet?
Yes, but only if you choose a personal Camino status
(See ‘Personal Camino’)

--Will I be walking alone or with a group?
Walking in a Group:
Except for recluses, religio-spiritual mores involve the human family, meaning that relationship is a definite aspect of the spiritual arena.  Spiritual adeptness happens through relationship, not in spite of it.  Relationships, however, are mysterious, demanding and rewarding...which is why the field of relationship is so grounding and integrating.
As relationship is part of the spiritual dimension of life—and we can't get away from it—you will find it at work in the Camino de Crestone, which is orchestrated for groups of 7-14.  Groups always have dynamics, and those dynamics will be part of the lesson that your Camino de Crestone will offer.
Spiritual growth does not happen 'out there'...but 'in here' (within).  The group experience holds great potential—for bonding, for depth, for spontaneous sharing.  Your walking mates will be there essentially for the same reasons as yourself.  Respect is one of the bylaws of the Camino.
Yet, there may be a challenge or two.  You can always say to someone that you wish for quiet.  And you can choose to walk by yourself, and in silence (wear an “In Silence” badge).

Walking in Silence:
Every spiritual tradition appreciates silence, and makes use of silence in one or more of its practices.  The entire Creation was 'spoken out', like a poem, or a song or symphony.  Speech is the method of manifestation.  Yet wordly affairs of the workaday realm rarely support conscious speech or recognize the power of the spoken word. 
Moreover, as every great musician and orator knows, silence backs all sound.  Indeed, silence is the all-intelligent field out of which sound arises.  To know silence is, by that understanding and wisdom, to know all of Creation.  There is a theorem in Quantum Physics that asserts that the Vacuum State (the field surrounding an atom at rest) contains in a virtual fashion everything that exists...and that to know everything one need not have even an atom or perform an experiment—one need know only the Vacuum State.  Silence is analagous to the Vacuum State, and it most certainly “is golden.”
If you wish to walk in silence, There will be a badge, In Silence, available at the Camino de Crestone starting point (The White Eagle Lodge).  You can wear it whenever you wish.
Silent periods are recommended, and you will find them listed on your map-schedule.
There are ____ silent periods that are requested, and they also are on you map-schedule.
One or more centers might have a segment of silence, or ask that, after an evening presentation, there be silence until the morning.

Walking Alone: 
The opportunity to experience the Camino de Crestone entirely on your own is certainly possible.  (See Personal Pilgrimage)

What can I expect in the way of the Accommodations?
The Camino de Crestone is offered at a noticeably low cost, so that those wishing to experience this inter-faith pilgrimage will take advantage of the opportunity.  One perameter of diminishing fees is the dormitory-style overnight accommodations. 
However, those couples wishing to share a room or those individuals preferring a single room can usually do so.  Please indicate in your reservation that you will be, wherever available, wishing to have accommodations other than the standard dormitory style.  Such rooms will be by availability on a first-contacted, first-served basis, and you will be paying to each provider the difference in their room price and the Camino de Crestone online fee (which provides for $15/night).  The providers and their phone numbers are listed below and, once your pilgrimage is confirmed, you are invited to call each and make your own arrangements.

Should I be concerned about walking in the wild?
Be respectful.  Crestone is rich in wildlife: Deer that will not be disturbed by your presence, though will not eat out of your hand; bears, mountain lions, a rare lynx, elk, antelope, coyotes and the like.  There are snakes...but not poisonous ones.
The four-footed are not to be feared, but respected.
No one has ever been injured by a wild animal here, and walking in a group insures such safety.

What about possible illness on the Camino de Crestone?
We have several doctors open to receiving any caminante requiring medical attention.  (Please note that fees for physicians are not included in your payment for the Camino de Crestone.)
Please bring your necessary prescribed medications.
If you cannot walk due to injury, the group leader will phone our fine EMT services and help will come to you quickly.

--What about the weather in Crestone?
Be prepared for nights in the 40s and days in the 70s-80s.  But at 8000', the sun
feels hotter than at sea level or even at 5000'.
June can be more like a spring month or more like a summer month.
July and August will be cool at night and warm to hot in the day. 
September is a lovely month, moving from hot to warm, still with cool nights.
October is like a cooler September.
Rainfall:  Crestone sits above the San Luis Valley, the world's largest agricultural
high desert.  It gets less than 10” of rainfall a year, so that precipitation is
not a significant weather factor for which one can plan.  However, Colorado weather (“If you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes.”) is changeable.  Layering is the key, and being prepared is always wise.

--Will I have to acclimate to the altitude?
Yes, Crestone is at 8000’ above sea level.  It is a dry climate.and you are advised to come 1-3 days early in order to adjust. 
Guidelines:  If you live in lowlands, plan to arrive three days early before you
start walking.
        If you live in altitudes from 2000'-4000', come two days early.
        If you live in altitudes from 4000'-6000', come at least a day early.
You can spend a night in Denver or Albuquerque, if you fly in (Day 1).  Each has hotsprings on the drive to Crestone, which could make for a delightful Day 2.  And, since you will overnight in Crestone before beginning your walk, this will count as Day 3.
We, looking out for your best interests, ask you to take this advice seriously.
  (See  ‘Acclimation’ advice below:)

           by Debby Miller Photo:  of Sangres

Anyone who travels from lower altitudes to above 6,000–8,000 feet (2830–2440 m) could experience altitude sickness, according to the Centers for Disease Control….  Altitude sickness is caused from lack of oxygen in the thin mountain air. It can be serious, and even life threatening.
The symptoms usually begin about six hours after your arrival at high elevation, but they can even show up 36 hours after arrival.  Symptoms usually go away by the fourth day at high altitude.  They may include nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite, dizziness, shortness of breath, generalized weakness, rapid heartbeat and insomnia.
To decrease your risk of altitude sickness plan to:
*Ascend slowly.…if you’re going to the Colorado Rocky Mountains, stay in Denver a day or two before ascending into the high country.  [And perhaps plan a stayover at Joyful Journey (hotsprings), which is on the way.]
*Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
*Descend to a lower elevation if mild symptoms occur. Give your body time to acclimate before heading back into higher country.
*Talk with your doctor about taking acetazolamide (Diamox) or nifedipine to prevent altitude sickness (although there is no guarantee it will help). Avoid alcohol or depressant drugs, such as tranquilizers and sleeping pills, as this can make things worse.
*Allow your body a day or two of rest before strenuous exercise.
*Eat a high-calorie diet while at high altitude. (This is a great excuse to eat!)
*A homeopathic remedy...mentioned in Rough Guide to Travel Health is coca (30c), taken once a day. If symptoms are severe, descend immediately; ...take coca 3 or 4x/ day.
*According to the Centers for Disease Control, gingko biloba, if taken before ascent, has been shown to reduce symptoms of altitude sickness.
*Seek medical attention if symptoms become severe.
If you have a medical condition (such as sickle cell anemia, congestive heart failure, angina or any pulmonary disorders), contact your doctor before traveling.


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Point 1:  Registration Schedule
Dates available for groups are ongoing, in terms of availability.
A given group walk requires at least 7 registrants, with a maximum of 14, plus tenters.
Closing dates for participation in a group is Day 1 of any given Camino walk, though
a given group walk will cancel if, at two weeks prior to the start date, the number
of registrants for that walk is fewer than 7 persons.  Registrants will be so
notified by the Camino administrator.
Point 2:  Refunds
Should a group walk cancel due to fewer than 7 registrants, those registered for that
walk will receive full refund.
A registrant withdrawing within 30 days of the group start date will receive a full refund.
A registrant withdrawing within 15 days of the group start date will receive a 75%—if 
if there are at least 7 other registrants by the time of the group walk starting date;
if not, then there will be a 50% refund.
A registrant withdrawing within 7 days of the group start date will receive a 50% refund
—if there are at least 7 other registrants by the time of the group walk starting
date; if not, then there will be a 25% refund.
A no-show will receive a 25% refund.
All refunds will be mailed within 30 days of request or group walk cancellation.

6c] CONTACT:  Camino Administrator: RODNEY VOLKMAR

photo:  Lindisfarne Chapel