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Wilderness Meditation Retreat: Sabrina Lakes Basin in John Muir Wilderness

This will be a 6-night trip to the Sabrina Lakes basin just east of Kings Canyon National Park. I'm structuring this as a basecamp trip rather than a straight-through hike. I have a permit for 9 people.

We'll meet at the overnight parking lot, at the intersection of Route 168 and North Lake Road, outside Bishop, CA. We'll pack that day to Dingleberry Lake (what a name!). This is a 4.6-mile walk with 1,500 feet of elevation gain that tops out at under 11,000 feet -- thus, it is more strenuous than it sounds, and will probably take 4-6 hours depending on our pace. If we're caught off-guard by the elevation, we can stop for the night at Blue Lake instead (3.3 miles, roughly 3 hours, from the trailhead), and choose whether to continue further the next day.

We'll make a basecamp at either Dingleberry or Blue Lake and stay there for a few nights. During the daytime, members can do their own personal retreats. For example, I will be seeking solitude and silence, probably mixing solo hiking and sitting over the course of the week. If I get squirrelly in my own head, maybe I'll seek company at some point. I would love group support for getting up at sunrise every day and being silent during the daytime.

Note that the "meditation" portion of this retreat is not organized or led by anybody. You're on your own to design what's right for you, with the reasonable support and respect of the group.

In the evenings, we'll gather around the "campfire" and detox together. (Probably campfires will be disallowed because of the drought, so bring your lanterns and layers.)

After a few nights at our first basecamp, we'll probably have a sense of where we want to go next, and will move camp. We may be able to move a third time before the end of the week.

Here's a simple overview map of the Sabrina Lakes basin: http://www.davessierrafishing.com/mapshtml2/sabrina_basin_map2.html

And here are various trip narratives and photos:

http://www.hikingwalking.com/destinations/ca/ca_ses/bishop/sabrina_basin/sabrina_basin_detail

http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=1711405

http://calitrails.com/2012/06/14/lake-sabrina-to-moonlight-falls-unexpected-isolation/

http://kevingong.com/Hiking/201010LakeSabrinaToBlueLake.html

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  • Kirsten L.

    Hi folks.
    I was just in Mineral King and pulled out due to rain, and also saw that the whole Whitney complex and range had snow to quite low elevations. I hope you were not caught in it!
    I am just seeing this trip now and would totally like to do day hikes or overnights with meditation components. Happy to suggest places around Santa Cruz for either. Keep me posted!
    Kirsten

    August 4, 2014

  • Danielle

    Hey guys, I am sad that I can't join this trip, but it sounds like such a neat one. I hope you do more like it in the future! D

    August 2, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    This trip sounds fantastic. Alas, I'm already booked for the dates. Hope that you will do a similar trip again (next summer?), and would love to participate in a wilderness "retreat" such as this.

    July 28, 2014

  • Noam B.

    Folks, a followup on my last note, regarding bear canisters. I just noticed this on the Sabrina Lake trail information page: "Beyond Blue Lake, bear containers are the only practical way to store food due to the lack of tall trees."

    http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/inyo/recreation/recarea/?recid=20374&actid=51

    Since we'll be camping beyond Blue Lake, please do plan on bringing bear canisters after all.

    noam

    July 26, 2014

  • Noam B.

    Hello all,

    A few details as the date approaches:

    You can read the backcountry guide for Inyo National Forest here: http://tinyurl.com/le2catz

    Campfires WILL BE prohibited due to the drought.

    Bear canisters are NOT required; however, the rangers advised me that, due to the drought, they're seeing bears in unusual spots, and they recommend bear canisters for food storage. Otherwise, you must prepare to hang your food from a tree -- the backcountry guide has instructions, or you can find info about hanging a bear bag all over the web.

    Since we'll be camping at or above 10,000 feet, it will be cold at night, maybe into the 40s. Bring layers and a sleeping pad like a Thermarest! Sleeping on the chilly ground will be, um, cold!

    Also since we'll be above 10,000 feet, please read about altitude sickness on the web. I'm considering driving up the night before to acclimate some.

    Looking forward to it!

    noam

    July 18, 2014

  • Guomin

    Hi Noam and all, sorry about pulling out. I am not able to get time off. Have a great retreat.

    July 14, 2014

  • Erin C.

    This sounds awesome. I'm still confirming time off from work, etc., but I wanted to grab a spot before it was gone.

    June 26, 2014

    • Noam B.

      Welcome!

      June 27, 2014

    • Erin C.

      Time off from work approved. 11-mile conditioning hike completed! I'm in! I'm hoping to squeeze in a couple more conditioning hikes before the trip. If anyone wants to join me, I usually hike with the Loma Prieta Sierra Club on the Peninsula. We can get fit and talk logistics? Just a thought.

      July 1, 2014

  • rina n.

    oh, it is just the weekend i will be away Aug 1-3.
    But the trip sounds just right and amazing. I hope you do it again, I would love love love to join.

    June 28, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Aw, as it turns out, I'm going to have to wait until September to take a week off from work. I wish you all a wonderful hike and meditation and I expect to see some nice photos. :) ~Namaste~

    June 27, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    hmm, according to mapquest, it's a 6.5 hour drive for me. can that be right??

    June 26, 2014

    • Galia S.

      I am interested in car pooling :) i can take turn driving and share the expences. When do you plan to leave?

      June 27, 2014

    • Erin C.

      Noam is going to start an email discussion for logistics, so we can work out details that way.

      June 27, 2014

  • Noam B.

    Can folks send me your email addresses so we can start discussing logistics?

    June 27, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    My car is old and I would love to ride with someone else instead of driving. I will share fuel expenses. I live in San Francisco.

    June 25, 2014

  • Charles J.

    I'm excited by the combination of backpacking and meditation, having done both for many years. However, I've got a yoga workshop up this week. I'll have to catch you all on the next one!

    June 24, 2014

  • Kerith R.

    This sounds awesome. I did a 10 day silent retreat in 2012 that changed my life. I'm excited to combine backpacking and meditation.

    1 · June 18, 2014

    • Kerith R.

      Yes it was Vipassana; Dhamma.org. How many miles a day will we be doing? I haven't backpacked in a couple of years so I want to prepare. I may need some guidance on equipment and if we will share some stuff like stoves and water filters to reduce weight.

      June 19, 2014

    • Noam B.

      Kerith, we will not be doing much mileage per se (either 3.3 or 4.6 miles to our first basecamp); however, since we will be at high elevation, it's likely to be unusually strenuous. I'm considering suggesting to the group that people plan to drive up the night before and camp at the trailhead to acclimatize before the hike. http://www.wikihow.co...­

      June 19, 2014

  • Guomin

    I have been backpacking and mountaineering for a while now. I did Vipassana 3 years ago and have been having a hard time to get back into...hoping this trip will keep me in line on meditation...

    1 · June 18, 2014

    • Noam B.

      That's great -- I've wanted to do Vipassana for years but couldn't fit it into my schedule. Actually, the reason I organized this trip is because I could only spare 7 days this year, and Vipassana requires 10-12 including travel.

      June 18, 2014

    • Guomin

      Yeah. I know. It's hard to find time off.

      June 19, 2014

  • Noam B.

    I'm excited there's so much interest in the hiking/meditation combo!

    June 18, 2014

  • Thomas

    Meditating and hiking - Great!

    1 · June 18, 2014

  • June 18, 2014

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