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Path of Happiness Backpacking Retreat
September 5 – September 11 PDT
Mindful Walking in Nature Retreat
This one week backpacking and hiking trip in Southern California will entail approximately 4-7 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. You will also need to bring your own vegan/vegetarian meals (here are some suggestions.) Sunday dinner, Monday breakfast, and Saturday breakfast and lunch will be provided at the monastery; Monday lunch through Friday dinner you will need to bring. 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.
Proposed Daily Schedule (subject to change based on weather conditions, etc.):
- 6am Wake up
- 6:30am Sitting Meditation (30mins)
- 7:30am Breakfast
- 8am Break Camp
- 9am Short Dharma Talk (20-30mins) and reading from Touching the Earth
- 9:30am-1pm Mindful Hiking
- 1pm Lunch
- 1:30pm Deep Relaxation/Rest
- 2:00pm-5:00pm Mindful Hiking (impromptu Dharma sharing if there is an appropriate spot)
- 5pm Set Up Camp and Cook Dinner
- 6:00pm Dinner
- 7:30pm Dharma Sharing/Tea Meditation (Formal/Informal) (2-3 groups)
- 9pm Sitting Meditation (15 mins)
We will begin and end the retreat at Deer Park Monastery. The first hiking day, Monday, we plan to leave Deer Park on foot to go to nearby Dixon Lake for camping. Tuesday we plan to shuttle, in a vehicle arranged by the monastery, to the hiking area for the next four days, currently planned to be on/near Mt. San Jacinto. Hiking locations and days are subject to change. Water will be supplied by a support vehicle via caching as well as filtering existing sources, and we will arrange for the necessary wilderness permits. You should be prepared to carry enough water to last two days in the heat, along with all of your camping and cooking gear.
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. All participants must have received full vaccination against Covid-19, and a certificate of vaccination will be required. The registration fee for this retreat is $300.
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. Helpful suggestions for gear can be found here.