"What’s the quickest way out of the city?" John Muir is reported to have asked a stranger on the street of the metropolis in which Muir had just arrived. "Where do you want to go?" the man asked. "Anywhere that is wild," Muir replied.
This week is straightforward. You day-hike the mountainous paths into the wilds of Big Sur, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and soak in Esalen’s natural hot springs overlooking the waves of the Pacific—in short, you let yourself touch and be touched by Nature.
"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul," said Muir. Drawing from various wisdom traditions, the group will be introduced to practices that encourage openness to self and nature. As Muir discovered, "I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in."
Hikes (4-10 miles in length) begin after breakfast and finish in time to enjoy the hot springs and wholesome food of Esalen. Participants should be prepared for the challenge of invigorating physical activity as well as the opportunity to simply sit still in quiet contemplation. More information and a waiver will be sent upon registration. For an equipment list and frequently asked questions about Steven's workshops, visit www.stevenkharper.com/faqs.html. Muir wrote, "The mountains are calling me and I must go."
($30 permit and park-entrance fees paid directly to the leader)