Moosis Zen Journeys are designed to foster profound shifts in perception, bringing people into a direct and intimate relationship with the natural world. In addition to simple, elemental living, all trips include meditation (both sitting and walking), contemplative hiking, oryoki meals, ecopsychology exercises, discussions, and formal Dharma talks that explore the intersection of Buddhism and Deep Ecology. Though these retreats are informed by the practice of Zen Buddhism, they are not “Zen retreats” in the usual sense. In keeping with their simple, elemental nature, these experiences are very informal and relaxed. There is plenty of time to lean back against a tree, drink tea, and enjoy the scenery.
Destinations showcase the spectacular natural beauty of our planet and provide opportunities to experience genuine stillness and tranquility. Most trips are not physically strenuous (unless otherwise specified), and are generally appropriate for people of all experience and ability levels. Moosis journeys are not wilderness trips in the usual sense of the term. Their emphasis is on profound connection to nature, rather than physical rigor or difficult challenges. If you have a concern about the demands of a specific trip or any other questions, contact us.
Be sure to check our basic list of recommended gear.
July 18-20, 2014
The Nahmakanta Public Reserve Land is a classic Maine woods setting, with tranquil ponds, moose, and miles of hiking trails, including a portion of the 100-Mile Wilderness section of the Appalachian Trail. Nahmakanta is immediately adjacent to another fantastic setting, the Debsconeag Eco Reserve, with its trail system and remote ponds. Though these Maine Public Reserve lands lie just southeast of Baxter State Park, they remain relatively unknown.
We will reach our campsite on a small secluded pond by canoe. Because this spot is approximately 30 miles from the nearest hub of civilization (the small town of Millinocket), light pollution is minimal and the night sky features the most incredible star-show in the Eastern US. Other people are rarely encountered here. This location provides a rare opportunity in the 21st century: the chance to be free from the complex, frenetic modern world and lose ourselves in the peacefulness of the boreal forest.
Finding the Caribou
August 15-19, 2014
The last herd of mountain caribou in North America lives atop Mt Jacques Cartier in the dramatic Chic Choc Mountains, Parc Gaspésie, Quebec. This trip will be a true pilgrimage to bear silent witness to these rare and remarkable creatures in their otherworldly mountaintop environment. This will absolutely be unlike anything you have experienced.
We will approach the mountain with a 2-day hike on the International Appalachian Trail, which crosses Mt Jacques Cartier. We will hike in silent contemplation, allowing this land and its flora and fauna to seep into our marrow, until there is no separation between us and our surroundings. That will prepare us to fully appreciate the presence of the caribou if they choose to reveal themselves to us when we arrive at the summit. We will come away with a deeper appreciation of the value of each and every species and the tragic reality of unique wildlife populations shrinking to the brink of extinction.
The drive from Maine to Parc Gaspésie is a memorable journey in itself. We cross northern Maine and the interior of New Brunswick, arriving at the coast along with the Restigouche River, world famous for its Atlantic salmon. Then crossing into Quebec, we will have our lunch at Miguasha National Park on the river’s edge, a UNESCO World Heritage List site. From there we will travel along the shoreline of the Baie Des Chaleurs with its coastal villages, to the Cascapedia River. This is another renowned salmon river, whose winding course we will follow north into the rugged interior of the Gaspe Peninsula towards its source in the mountains. As we follow the river, the land rises gradually and the valley walls steepen, until the profiles of the Chic Choc, distinctively different from any other mountain range in the northeast, are revealed to us.
Hills of Vermont
September 19-21, 2014
Perhaps no place in the world has fall foliage that is as spectacular as Vermont’s. Our camp will be in the higher elevations of northeastern Vermont, which will be approaching the peak of its fall colors when we arrive. Our campsite amidst the maples, birches, and spruces of a mature forest stand, will give us a base to visit some unique natural sites in the area.
As always we will engage in meditation, contemplative walks, and ecopsychology exercises, allowing us to deeply experience the quiet presence of this vibrant landscape.
David Hinson’s book Hunger Mountain is suggested reading for discussions during this trip.
Acadia National Park
October 10-12, 2014
Granite peaks rising from the ocean, crashing surf, quiet ponds, fall foliage and serene gardens … Acadia has it all! We have been coming here with these trips for a number of years, and Mount Desert Island (home of the park) has never disappointed. In spite of the high number of visitors to this area, it’s still possible to find quiet in the nooks and crannies, deeply carpeted maritime forests, hidden brooks, and rocky headlands, the places that the island’s tourists seldom visit.
From our base at one of the National Park campgrounds, we will immerse ourselves in the wildness of Acadia at one of the most beautiful times of the year. However, we are also never far from civilization and usually find a few minutes to enjoy the area’s amenities, such as a freshly baked pastry and a cup of good coffee, when our travels bring us past a village bakery.
Don’t see a trip here that interests you? Check out our previous journeys to see what other kinds of trips Peter has led.