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A 7 Day Wilderness Meditation Retreat
Pacific Rim National Park, Keeha Bay
West Coast of Vancouver Island
July 7 to July 13, 2024

The Setting

Within the Huu-ay-aht First Nations and Pacific Rim National Park, Keeha is on the north end of the West Coast Trail Unit

The Practice

We will practice mindfulness of nature. The rise and fall of all things point to the insight of contentment and compassion

The Experience

Leave feeling the interconnectedness to yourself and nature. Let nature reconnect you to equanimity in its simplest form.

This retreat is on the west coast of Vancouver Island.


The 1.5km beach opens to the ocean.


From Bamfiled, access is a 3.5 km technical hike from the road. 

This retreat is a self supported backcountry retreat.


Each backpacker will be responsible for their camping logistics, including tenting, and cooking.

James will organize the group and lead the meditation practices, but each yogi needs to be an experienced backcountry camper.

This intimate and supportive retreat is limited to 9 people. There will be lots of interaction between yogi and teacher.

July 2024
Pacific Rim National Park


There are no roads to this location and we'll be practicing backcountry camping skills. You'll need to be an experienced backcountry camper because there is no running water or electricity.


Each meditator will need to be self-supported in terms of carrying gear and supplies, cooking and cleaning, and cooperating in sustainable camping practices.


This bare-bones retreat in a pristine setting is the perfect setting for a simple, powerful and elegant meditation retreat.

The retreat format

Even though you're in the wilderness, we'll practice noble silence most of the time. We'll talk just enough to manage living in the wild.

Sitting meditation on the beach will be followed by walking meditation throughout the day.


There will be guided meditation instructions, short Dharma talks, and individual meetings with the teacher.


Weather permitting, we'll watch the sunset around a fire with a Dharma talk with a chance to share our day with others. This retreat will be limited to 6-8 people. 

Why are we doing this?

Growing up in Vancouver, my favourite place is the West Coast Trail. After more than a dozen hikes, now I just want to take in nature. I've led groups to the coast and completed a solo mediation retreat on the Trail. 

I want to share the wild, the quiet, and the Dharma with a small, friendly, and kind group of people.

I'm an adult educator, counselling psychologist, Dharma teacher and hiker-biker guy. I want to combine these qualities and create a community of like-minded people. Join us.


Who's this trip/retreat for?

Buddhist meditation retreats are intense experiences. Being in silence can feel isolating. Being in the backcountry can also feel vulnerable.

Combining these two qualities can be challenging, so who should come on this retreat?

In terms of meditation, you've taken a Buddhist Theravada meditation course or gone on a retreat.

In terms of camping, you've slept in a tent and cooked away from your vehicle. This means you've packed in all your clothing, tenting, cooking and food for a couple of nights.

On larger retreats a person can feel isolated in the silence. With only 8 of us, you'll have easy access to the leader. 

As well, we may pair up to cook together and look out for each other. The intention is to create a good trip with great people.

2024 Cost

The cost of this retreat only covers the instructor's expenses. This includes travel, food, group equipment and a stipend for the Huu-ay-aht cultural guide. The cost also includes your Parks Canada Backcountry Fee of $13.50 per night. 

In addition to these costs, if you prefer to make a donation to the teacher for the Buddhist teachings, you may do that after the retreat.

The fee for each week will be $1350.00 divided by the number of people attending this retreat.

5 people = $286.00

6 people = $238.00

7 people = $204.00

8 people = $178.00

9 people = $159.00



Beyond these costs, the remainder will depend on your travel expense, food choices and equipment purchases. Your backcountry cuisine of choice can range from simple to sublime and is not restricted to vegetarian food. Freeze-dried food can be purchased or homemade. These choices are left to each person. In pre-meeting Zoom meetings, people can share equipment and resources.

It's reasonable to budget $200.00 for your week's worth of food and $440.00 for gas and ferry if you come from Vancouver. People may be able to share a ride.

During the Zoom meeting, you may be able to arrange shared rides because you will need to get to Bamfield on your own.

Notify me about 2025

If you'd like to be notified of next year's trip, fill in the box so your name is on the list.
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The Hike

The hike is 3.5 km on an ungroomed trail. There is one short steep pitch, but it's relatively flat. It is narrow and overgrown and there can be muddy sections like above. It's a technical hike with a week's worth of food, but it's not heart breakingly long. With 3.5km, emergency exits are relatively easy. 



Tenting is on the beach. The beach is public but I'm hoping to set up our tents together on the south end. Bring a sleeping pad and have a sleeping bag that can handle 5c for cold mornings.



Food will need to be carried in (and garbage out). In the pre-retreat Zoom meetings we can discuss freeze-dried options and proper meal planing. You'll need a backpacking stove with pots. There is a creek for water and you'll need water treatment tools. I have a water filter that can be shared.



Outhouses are built and maintained by Parks Canada. These are especially great features in this park. Food and outhouses often raise the most concerns for backpackers. Above is the outhouse at Keeha Beach.



Let's hope for warm and sunny. The equipment list will include clothing that keeps you warm and dry between 6c and 33c. The mornings can be cold on the coast, and of course, it is a rainforest.


Risk management is about being reasonable. Not all problems can be accounted for, but a prudent reasonable approach allows us to adventure in a thoughtful way. In addition to a satellite communicator, we will have first aid supplies and we'll abstain from bungy jumping and rock climbing during the trip. There is no cell phone coverage in the Park, but the trip back to the vehicles could be traversed in an hour for help.

Zooming before the retreat

We want to make this a great trip. And great trips include great people. There will be Zoom meetings before the trip to meet each other, share equipment, create cook teams, and hang out. 

There will also be information and instructions about meditation. Time is short, and time on retreat in beautiful places is precious. The intention is to prepare meditators before the retreat so they can settle in quickly. 

A big part of this trip is time together with others. Zooming in advance starts our epic trip early.

Day 1 Plan

Sunday July 7, 2024

Logistics and travel time

We're going to meet on Zoom before we go. In these meetings, we can complete the finer details of the trip.

745    Ferry to Nanaimo

1000  Drive to Port Alberni

1200  Leave Port Alberni and travel to Bamfield

200    Meet at Pachena Bay and learn about Kiixin

330    Drive to Trailhead

400    Start hike

600    Arrive at Keeha Beach and set up camp

630    Start dinner and settling in

Last Day Plan

Saturday July 13, 2024

Logistics and travel time

We're going to meet on Zoom before we go. In these meetings, we can complete the finer details of the trip.

700    Meditation

830    Talking breakfast

1000  Break camp and pack

1130  Hike back to road

130    Drive to Port Alberni

330    Drive from Port Alberni to Nanaimo

530    Arrive in Nanaimo and Ferry if necessary

Day 1 Meeting Place

Click on me to download this pdf map

Day 1 Meeting Place

Click on me to download this pdf map

Day 1 Meeting Place

Click on me to download this pdf map

Map Overview
Additional Equipment List

The goal is to ensure everyone is safe and as comfortable as possible in all weather situations. Some essentials protect the safety of yourself and the group. If one group member is injured or compromised, it could impact the other members. For this reason, we want to ensure we're well-planned as a group. There could be sharing of specific equipment among members, but James cannot outfit members. 


This is an ongoing list that supplements your basic gear.

Please remember that you will be sitting still for extended periods of time. Most outdoor clothing is designed for ACTIVE purposes - not sitting motionless for 45 minutes at a time. Your body temperature will likely be a lot lower.

It's good to consider the following conditions and bring appropriate gear and clothing:

6 degrees

An insulating layer plus another layer that holds in your warmth. A breathable shell prevents your body's warmth from being blown away by the breeze or wind.

35 degrees

Long sleeve shirts and pants to protect against the sun. These super light sunshirts can have a hood if you like, but an umbrella is the best option. Hats tend to retain heat whereas umbrellas protect from the breeze cools you. 

Bright sun

Polarized sun glasses are very useful because you'll be looking at the ocean all week.

A lightweight collapsable hiking umbrella is highly recommended. Plus holding the umbrella keeps you awake while meditating.

Steady rain/wind

We will bring a tarp to protect us. At the same time, during heavy rain, we'll meditate in our tents. Bring an extra tarp to keep your gear dry outside the tent if your tent becomes your sitting refuge.

An umbrella is a good choice.


A Sun Shirt with a hood can give you a reprieve from the wind.

Please bring a watch of some kind because there will not be bell ringers to call you to meditation.

Sitting gear

You will be able to dig into the sand to make your sitting position comfortable. Plus you can find logs and driftwood. 

 A lot of people bring camping chairs.

Inflatable Zafu


I bought one from Banyen Books years ago. If you search for inflatable zafu, there are lots of options. I will be bringing one.

Foldable chair

I use a Hex Crazy Creek chair. I don't go anywhere without it. It folds and doesn't have chair legs that asymmetrically sink into sand.

Umbrella, yes

Experience leads me to recommend an umbrella. It works exceptionally well for the sun without wearing protective clothing. Collapsible ones don't get hung up on branches during the hike. Good for rain too.

Keeha Beach

Keeha Beach Retreat Photo Gallery for 2023 Retreatants

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