Saturday, February 1, 2014

Land of Medicine Buddha

Our hike on Friday was thru a beautiful place called the Land of Medicine Buddha Retreat Center.

I looked up information on the web for hiking trails in the Forest of Nisene Marks, a state park near us, when I came upon some descriptions of hikes in the Medicine Buddha Retreat Center. It borders on the state park, and there was a nice six mile loop trail described, that started in the Center and wound through part of the Nisene Marks park.

The day was cool but the sun was shining, and by the time I made our lunch and we drove there, it was about eleven in the morning.  

By following some directions we got from the Web, we found a parking area near the trail head, and found the trail with no problems.

The well-groomed path crossed a little creek and climbed steadly up into the forest.

It felt so good to be hiking, but we both agreed we were terribly out of shape from sitting around for so long!  I have gained some of my weight back and feel terrible about it.  But perhaps a renewed hiking regime will help with that.

This forest was logged, possibly clear cut, many years ago.  One of the fascinating things to me is the way the redwoods grow back.  Where each large tree was cut, a circle of new trees grows around it.  They call the cut tree the "mother" and the ring around it the "sisters".

In time, the stump of the mother totally decays, and the sisters grow thicker and taller.  In the picture above you can see several groups growing.  

Some people are distressed by the logging of old-growth trees.  Seeing how the new growth develops gives me a peaceful feeling that although we may not see the giants in our lifetime, they can and will regrow in their own time if left to do so. 

So very tall!

We hiked for a little over three miles, and when we came to what we decided was near the halfway point of the loop trail, we stopped for a little lunch.

Sandwiches, cheese sticks, cut asian pears, and water on a fallen log taste better than any fancy gourmet dinner.

Not all of the hike was through redwood forest.  This section was dominated by live oak and tan oak trees.  We were glad to see so many small tan oaks, because there has been an epidemic of disease that has killed many of them just a few miles away.  We are hopeful that these new-growth trees will survive.

Part of our hike took us past several meditation points that had Buddhist quotations and explanations of them.  I (Merikay) was quite taken by what some of them said.  Perhaps it is because I am in such a stressed state, but I found a new comfort and a curiosity about Buddhism.  It may be what I need right now.

The hike felt so good.  We did get to go out for an early dinner, and 
were happily tucked back in at Camp Driveway by nine.


  1. Thanks for sharing, Merikay. I really enjoyed your photos of the trees, especially the ones giving the perspective of how tall they are. It's always an awe inspiring walk when you can go in and around such wonderful trees. To think how long they have been in one place and thriving! We get ansy just being in one place for a short time. There is much to be learned from observing and thinking about the many things we see in nature.

  2. Merikay, so sorry that you are stressed. What a complicated world we live in. So many emotions. I have been feeling down - realizing how John will never be healthy again.

    My mind continually comes back to the verse in Jeremiah 29:11 .... (my shortened version) "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the LORD.....plans to give you hope and a future"

    Your for the sale of the house and the future is the rest of your life! What comfort God give us.

  3. Such a beautiful, peaceful place. I loved hearing about the Mother tree and the sisters. Nature is so wonderful.

  4. Love the trees. I miss hiking, also. I wish I had a hiking partner so I could go on some longer hikes. Reading about Buddhism is very calming. You should be able to find some used books or Kindle books on the subject. I was raised Roman Catholic, but still read about Buddhism and other religions. There is even a book written by a priest about how The Catholic Church and Buddhism are a good combination.

  5. I love the story about the trees. Nature is amazing, isn't it?

    Hang in there. It will happen.

  6. I found hearing about the 'sisters' gave me peace too. I'm just glad our state and national parks have preserved places where we can see what the sisters will eventually become.

  7. I too find peace and calm in Buddhism literature. One I just finished and highly recommend is "Aging as a Spiritual Practice: A Contemplative Guide to Growing Older and Wiser" by Lewis Richmond. I have the Kindle edition but it is also available in paperback

  8. Thanks for sharing the wonderful photos. Your post (and comments) have reminded me that I wanted to do more reading on Buddhism. It seems to pair well with Nature.

    Keep the hope.

  9. Thanks for the photos of the redwoods. I grew up with redwoods on our camping vacations. They are such beautiful trees. I don't know if I ever learned about the mother and sister trees. But I do remember putting my sleeping bag in a ring of trees when I was a girl scout on an overnight trip. I guess I was probably sleeping inside the ring of sister trees.

    I hope your life gets uncomplicated soon. It's hard waiting for things to happen.

  10. Wonderful pics of the redwoods... and the "sister trees" growing gives one hope for the future!

    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard


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