April 20-23, 2023: Pilgrimage to El Santuario de Chimayó
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About this Trip
Enjoy prayer and recreation time, unparalleled natural beauty, and fun with your fellow “peregrinos” (pilgrims) as you make the trek to El Santuario de Chimayó.
Creatio’s experienced guides will lead you on this pilgrimage both in nature and in spirit. Our guides have been on this route many times; in fact, we helped create it!
This pilgrimage is physically demanding. The terrain is rugged, weather conditions can vary wildly, and if you are not physically active you should start putting some miles underfoot now to prepare.
Participants should plan to depart from Denver on April 19th, in the early evening/after work. The group will then drive to Taos, in Northern New Mexico. We will begin walking towards Chimayó on the morning of April 20th. If you are not from Denver, you should plan to fly into Denver before the evening of April 19th.
You’ll spend most of your time walking in the Carson National Forest or on roads adjacent to it. Wheeler Peak, New Mexico’s highest point, is located in the forest, as well as a number of ski resorts and trails taking advantage of the forest’s beautiful setting.
Daily distances range from 11 to 17.5 miles for a total of nearly 45 miles on foot.
- All lodging
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner every day
- Ground transportation from final destination
- Opportunities for spiritual talks, reflection and silence
- Creatio guides
- Personal Gear
- Transportation to Denver
During a walking pilgrimage, each step makes us conscious of the direction of our lives, of where we are going. As we walk we see how our lives are like a voyage filled with joy, effort, beauty, suffering, surprises, goals, adventure, love and expectation. But our life is not only “like” a pilgrimage, it is in fact a pilgrimage from birth to death; in this world we are only “strangers and sojourners” (1 Pe. 2:11). “For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it.” (1 Tim 6:7) We are all pilgrims, and this life, this passage, is the time we are given to reach the eternal goal.
Pilgrimages have enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, perhaps as a counterbalance to modern-day culture. They offer a mindful escape from the frenetic pace of modern life and promise a space for silence and reflection that a standard “vacation” does not typically have. One of these pilgrimages is the “camino” to El Santuario de Chimayó.
CHIMAYO, NEW MEXICO
El Santuario de Chimayó is a sacred location in Northern New Mexico. People have made pilgrimages to the site for more than 200 years, even since Bernardo Abeyeta, a local resident, miraculously discovered a holy cross in the hillside of the Chimayó Valley. In time, a chapel was built on the area where the cross was found, and the cross was placed in the sanctuary. Today, thousands of people make pilgrimages to the Santuario de Chimayó every year.
Day 1: Depart Denver for Taos, NM in the evening
Day 2: Walk from Taos to Peñasco, through the Carson National Forest. Approximately 17.5 miles.*
Day 3: Walk from Peñasco through the sleepy New Mexican village of Las Trampas and arrive in Truchas for the night. Approximately 14 miles.*
Day 4: Depart Truchas for Chimayó, walking with breathtaking desert views as we approach the ancient village of Chimayó! Approximately 11 miles. Sunday Mass will be offered at Chimayó. Visit Saint Joseph’s staircase at the Loretto Chapel in Sante Fe. Return to Denver.
*Distances are approximate and subject to revision
*This itinerary is subject to change
Creatio’s spirituality is focused on strengthening the four relationships: relationship with self, with one another, with nature and with God. We encourage all of our pilgrims to be open to experience a deepening of these relationships while on our experiences. We go out into nature and beauty and hope that along the journey, we encounter the depth of ourselves and those around us.
On this Creatio Pilgrimage, there are many opportunities for Spiritual growth and reflection. Pilgrims have the opportunity for daily moments of prayer and reflection led by Creatio guides. Along the way, see some of the oldest churches in the USA and authentic art that expresses the richness of the catholic culture in this area.
Friendship and Community
“Community,” “deep conversation,” “friendship.” Many pilgrims chose these words when asked to describe their Creatio Pilgrimage experiences in one phrase. Others affectionately remember their experience by calling their fellow pilgrims their “Pilgrim Family.” Of course, the pilgrim experience is a great opportunity for silence, personal reflection, and soul-searching. But we are made for community, made for an encounter, and much of that soul-searching happens in communion with others. Those conversations that happen while stretching, meeting dogs along the route, or helping someone with their blisters (yes, they’re real) may be the ones that help change our lives. Come prepared to live out the beauty of Community!
One of the best parts of pilgrimage is living a simple life for a week. That being said, you will stay with some of the most hospitable people in all of New Mexico! Our hosts show us how good it is to be received as a pilgrim.
Because this is a pilgrimage, conditions may not exactly be 5 star, but there will always be a safe shelter to rest your head for the night. Typically, we stay on church floors and big parish halls so make sure to bring your own sleeping pad and bag – see Packing List below!
Health & Safety Information
We highly advise training as much as you can before this pilgrimage! Also advised is training in the same shoes you will wear while walking to Chimayo, this allows your feet to become accustomed to your shoes and not get blisters.
All Creatio Guides are trained Wilderness First Responders.
More information will be shared prior to the trip in the participant handbook.
For COVID updates in the area check : https://cv.nmhealth.org/
*PLEASE TRAVEL LIGHT – 20 LBS MAX. IN THE SPIRIT OF A PILGRIMAGE, BRING ONLY WHAT YOU NEED.*
- Sleeping Bag We will be sleeping indoors in churches/parish halls.
- Sleeping Pad (Type: Designed for backpacking)
- Good hiking shoes
- Medication you may need. be sure you have written any and any medications you need on the registration form so the group leaders know.
- Small flashlight/headlamp
- Basic first aid needs e.g. bandaids, blister care, Ibuprofen, etc. (the leaders will have this, but it’s nice to have your own)
- Clothes (AVOID COTTON). Pack light.
- Hiking Pants. Please don’t wear jeans. Great pants are ones that can be zipped to become shorts.
- Leggings (for beneath hiking pants)
- Socks (three pairs minimum – synthetic/wool). Recommended are smartwool socks.
- Shirt (wicking)
- Long sleeve shirt (wicking)
- Outer Layer (i.e. Light jacket) (will often be cold in mornings)
- Light rain jacket
- 1 set of comfortable evening/sleeping clothes
- Down/puff jacket
- Warm hat that covers ears
- Warm gloves
- Use layering system, do not bring one large winter coat. Check out REI’s layering tips.
- Water Capacity (2-3 liters)
- Water Bladder or water bottles
- A relaxing pair of shoes for when we are not walking (sandals)
- Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, etc. – travel size stuff – keep it light)
- Sunscreen / hat
- Toilet paper (small quantity)
- Prayer Materials
- Book. Keep in mind that there won’t be a lot of time to sit and read. A small book with daily reflections is ideal. Low weight, high mental “calorie” content.
- Bible – be prudent with weight or prepared for penance. Travel version or phone app will also do.
- Phone + Charger (used for iBreviary prayers and emergencies)
- Towel (microfiber or raw linen preferred over big cotton bath/beach towels)
- Cash (there may be a few places to buy gifts and snacks on the way)
- Picture of person you are intentionally praying for – Generally, it’s someone you are asking healing for. You can leave it at the Santuario and they will hang it on the wall.
- Earplugs – there’s a good chance another pilgrim snores