Friday, June 3, 2016

Standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon in Arizona

Hi Friends,
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

Famous road through Arizona

 More views of the Grand Canyon

Overcoming fear of Heights

The zig-zag Bright Angel trail leading to the Colorado river at the bottom of the Grand Canyon


 The brilliant Vermillion color of the Grand Canyon

 The beginning of the spectacular Grand Canyon River raft trips at Lees Ferry-- I did not go

Millions of years of eroded rocks

Views of Zion National Park

The Great White Throne

Main Cathedral at Zion

Hoover Dam near Las Vegas

Lake Meade behind Hoover Dam

Approaching Death Valley


Badwater Basin; elevation 282 feet below sea level; Lowest point in North America; White color is one foot of salt when the place was an ocean

The High Sierra Mountains of California

Mt. Whitney from Whitney Portal; highest point in the lower 48; elevation 14, 505 ft.

Photos from Central Oregon 
Three Sisters

Mt. Washington

Walking in the Painted Hills

Scenic Smith Rocks
Having Picnics on the Way

Photos along the Columbia River Gorge

Latoule Falls

Punchbowl Falls

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. St. Helens--the jagged rim from the 1980 volcano blast is barely visible under the clouds

Mt. Hood from White Salmon

Alms round in White Salmon, WA

The Retreat



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