firefly2Muir Treks

illum_aMuir Trek is a contemplative experience for a small group of 6-12 adults who wander through a wild place from sunrise to sunset, taking with them a curiosity for life’s marvels and an openness to what will be revealed as the planet turns into the light of its sun-star. Cares and worries, watches and phones are left behind.

Inspired by the writings of the Scottish-American naturalist, John Muir, the trek highlights the qualities of zest, celebration, joy, and adventure, as the participants move slowly through the day seeking its riches rather than its challenges. The only destination is the disappearance of the sun beyond the horizon. The day is accented with leader inputs designed to help the participants probe and deepen their relationship with nature. There is time to wander, to sit and observe, to reflect upon crossing a threshold of human perception and emotion and letting the exhilaration of being alive in the flow of life sweep over everyone. To spend a day’s turning of our planet through the rays of its sun-star, while exploring a little-known natural area which has been given life and form by its energy, represents a delicious respite for most of us. Unfettered time has become one of the most valuable commodities in the world today. Slowing down to marvel at the rich panoply of living things which share our space and time – without labeling them, but just seeing them more clearly; without intellectualizing them, but rather touching them with our hearts; without referencing them in the past, but merely experiencing them in the present – serves to refresh both our sense of being and our joy in being human.
In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll’s classic tale, Alice fell through a rabbit hole into a strange new world. A Muir Trek is falling through John Muir’s “looking glass” into a lost world of perception and emotion often just outside our own doors. As John Muir expressed it, “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”   (The materials for conducting a Muir Trek, including the Leaders Manual, and record books for the participants, are available only through a special training session, the Muir Trek Leaders Workshop, described in our current courses for the School of the Earth.)

Muir-trek-Sketchbook-cover-300x198Becoming a Muir Trek Leader

There are seven steps in becoming a certified leader of Muir Treks: 1)    You must participate in one of the institute’s Muir Trek Leadership Workshops. This 3 ½ day session will provide you with the information and background you will need to lead your own trek. (Though it is always better to have experienced a Muir Trek before this workshop, it is not necessary, as you will participate in a trek during the training.) 2)    After the Leadership Workshop, you will need to purchase a Muir Trek Leader’s Kit from the institute. Unfortunately, this is a separate step in the process (and another expense), but if you should decide after the workshop that you do not want to lead these experiences, you will not have invested in all the necessary materials. 3)    You will need to maintain an Affiliate membership in the institute. This is the only way the institute can keep track of who is offering treks and to communicate with them about updates and refresher sessions. The first year of this membership is included in the cost of the Muir Trek Leader’s Kit.