This one week backpacking trip in the wilderness surrounding Deer Park Monastery will entail approximately 3-6 miles of walking with a fully-loaded backpack per day. Participants are required to bring their own backpacking gear, including a shelter, sleeping system, and personal cooking stove and meals for backpacking. In addition to daily mindful walking in nature, we will follow a full schedule including sitting meditation, short Dharma talks, Dharma sharing, and deep relaxation.
Temperatures average in the 70s during the day and 40s at night, but can dip as low as the 30s, so please ensure you have a warm enough sleep system. Helpful suggestions for gear can be found here. Please note that hammock camping is not possible in the chaparral landscape, and bring ample sun protection (sun layers, umbrella, sunscreen, hat).
You should be prepared to carry enough water to last a full day in the heat (minimum 2.5 liters), along with all of your camping and cooking gear. Water will be supplied by a support vehicle, and available at camp each evening/morning.
You will also need to bring your own vegan/vegetarian meals (here are some suggestions.) Sunday dinner (Day 1) and Monday breakfast (Day 2), and then Friday dinner (Day 6) and Saturday breakfast and lunch (Day 7) will be provided at the monastery; Monday lunch through Friday lunch (Days 2-6) you will need to bring.
subject to change based on weather conditions, etc.
We will begin and end the retreat at Deer Park Monastery. The first hiking day, Monday, we plan to leave Deer Park on foot and hike into nearby Dixon Lake, which we will be exploring for the five days of backpacking.
Registration is via application and the number of participants is limited. Priority will be given on this trip to applicants with previous multi-day point-to-point backpacking experience. A short telephone interview may be conducted to assure that you have the necessary level of backpacking experience. The registration fee for this retreat is $300.
UPDATE: THIS RETREAT IS CURRENTLY FULL. YOU MAY SIGN UP FOR THE WAITING LIST BELOW.
Note that REI provides regular backpacking training courses, which meet our basic requirements for backpacking experience.Lay Dharma Teacher and long-distance hiker Bruce Nichols, who helped us with the Path of Happiness hikes on the Appalachian trail in 2018, put together this helpful video describing how to pack for a backpacking trip.