|Standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon in Arizona|
From April 11th-17th I went on a one week scenic car journey with Gino, an old meditation student/friend from Germany. Having spent a night with me at my mother's house in Riverside we drove through the Joshua Tree National Park, the Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks, Hoover Dam, Death Vally and the High Sierra mountains with a view of Mt. Whitney at Lone Pine. I had not been to most of those places since I was a teenager on camping trips through the Southwest with my parents. And Gino had not seen most of these famous National Parks, so it was good fun.
Then back to work. Over April 22-24 I conducted the annual retreat for the Ventura Buddhist Study Group and then headed up to central California to continue a teaching tour spending five days at the Mountain Stream Meditation Center in Nevada City where there were a few talks and a Daylong meditation. Then over the weekend of May 6-8 there was a weekend retreat at the Vietnamese temple in Morgan City located about 15 miles south of San Jose. I also stayed a few days at the Dhammapala Institute in Milpitas and gave a talk there.
On May 9th I flew from San Jose to Portland Oregon where I gave a talk at the Friends of the Dhamma Center and another talk at the Unitarian Church. This was arranged by Mr. and Mrs Pinit who then also took me on a three day nature outing in Central Oregon before heading up to the Columbia River Gorge near Mt. Hood. I stayed at the Pacific Hermitage in White Salmon with three bhikkhus from the Ajahn Cha lineage and Abhayagiri Monastery. While at this small wonderful secluded hermitage we went out on the traditional almsround in the small town where we received ample alms each day. The three American monks staying there were Ajahn Sudanto, the abbot, and Ajahn Karunadhammo and Ven. Caganando. I had met all three of these bhikkhu in previous visits to Abahayagiri and elsewhere over the past years. I was quite impressed how they have built up quite a devoted following among the local residents of this small conservative of town of White Salmon situated on the bluffs overlooking the Columbia River. I lead a weekend retreat there held at the old Grange Hall with about thirty five participants. After the retreat we made a few trips with hikes in the surrounding mountains and along the Columbia River Gorge.
Following are some photos of the journey.
|50 year reunion with old High School friends at Joshua Tree|
|The mountains of rocks at Joshua Tree|
|Chola Catus Garden|
|Ancient volcanic crater in the middle of the Mojhave desert|
|Gino and I walked a mile from the parking lot to the crater|
|Inside the crater were two muddy ponds from the recent rain|
|The zig-zag Bright Angel trail leading to the Colorado river at the bottom of the Grand Canyon|
|Millions of years of eroded rocks|
|The Great White Throne|
|Hoover Dam near Las Vegas|
|Lake Meade behind Hoover Dam|
|Approaching Death Valley|
|The High Sierra Mountains of California|
|Mt. Whitney from Whitney Portal; highest point in the lower 48; elevation 14, 505 ft.|
Walking in the Painted Hills
|Scenic Smith Rocks|
|Having Picnics on the Way|
Photos along the Columbia River Gorge
Bridge over the Columbia River
The Bonneville Dam
|Herman the 100 years old Sturgeon|
|View from Cape Horn|
|A cool windy afternoon outing|
|Sleeping Beauty Pinnacle near Mt. Adams, WA|
Views from the top
Mt. Hood from White Salmon
|Alms round in White Salmon, WA|