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Volume 9 Issue 1
May/June 2003

Destiny Leads to Discovery of Johnson's Landing Retreat

Spinach! Spring!

Saskatoon Community Bicycle Program

Circles, Sound, and Creation


Destiny Leads to Discovery of Johnson's Landing Retreat Overlooking British Columbia's Kootenay Lake
by Richard Ortega

Sometimes we have an experience in life that is a clear indication that we have been guided to a place or a person. And sometimes significant events, which present themselves at particular moments in our lives, may have been meaningless at another point. It is all a matter of where we are in the development of our consciousness.

Have you ever had one of those moments where you felt that you were destined to be someplace or meet someone? That same feeling occurred at the founding of a retreat center in British Columbia. The story begins in August of 1997 with a hiking trip up to the top of Kootenay Joe Mountain overlooking the shores of Kootenay Lake and the peaks of the Purcell Mountains Wilderness Conservancy.

It was one of those glorious warm sunny days where the sun shines and the breeze is just enough to fill your being with a wonderful sense of aliveness. We started from Kaslo in our Toyota 4x4 with the intention of driving through the community of Johnson's Landing and up Kootenay Joe Road to a primitive campsite about four-fifths of the way up the mountain. From there we planned to hike through the alpine meadow basin that sweeps up to the horseshoe-shaped ridge overlooking the lakes and mountains of the West Kootenay area of BC.

The drive had been leisurely, observing life along the lake shore. An osprey floated in the breeze above the lake's surface, occasionally diving, talons first, into the water, in hopes of a meal. The winds came down the creek and river valleys, flowing across the lake and making patterns of ripples along the surface. It was one of those days where one's spirit felt the connection to all things.

After driving up the west side of the one hundred kilometre-long Kootenay Lake, we made a turn to the east and drove across the bridge over the Lardeau River. As the water rushed under the bridge past the grassy banks and down toward the lake, it felt like one of those life cycles that makes one humble at the thought of our insignificance in the scheme of things.

Over the dirt road and into Johnson's Landing we turned onto Kootenay Joe Road, which leads up to the mountain. The serviced portion of the road was less than half a kilometre long. I recalled that it turned to the left and wound up a long narrow forestry road to the mountain side campsite. Near the top of the serviced portion I saw a turn to the left where there was a realty sign at the start of the road and an old sign covered in weeds that read, "Golden Eagle Retreat Center." I assumed that the forestry road went through this property and up to the mountain. This was the assumption that was to change my life.

I drove onto the road, past an old weed-covered garden and turned in front of what appeared to be a garage. In the next instant the road ended in a parking area and before me was a country lodge. It was by no means beautiful, for it was weather beaten and had moss growing on the eves of the front porch. Something inside of me went "WOW!" and I felt an incredible rush of energy go through my body that seemed to say, "This is It!" It was an unusual and unexpected feeling, as I was not actually out looking for something other than a road going up a mountain.

Later, while pondering the coincidence of finding this retreat center, I began to realize that this was something I was being inspired to do with my life and thus my vision began to take form. I realized that during my lifetime I had already been given the skills and experiences that would be necessary to carry out the vision of a full-service, full-program retreat center. As a direct result of these events, the Johnson's Landing Retreat Center was born.

The hike was completed with an air of excitement about the splendour of the mountain top and the finding of the retreat center. Ten months later the property was purchased from the former owner and revitalized in the summer of 1998. The gardens were cleared and replanted, the buildings were cleaned and renewed, the land was spiritually cleared and a feeling of beauty and wonder began to grow. In 1999 the first season of workshops and retreats took place at the center. People came from California, Washington, and all over British Columbia for the first learning and growing steps of this wondrous creation. Now after five years of providing a full calendar of retreats and workshops the center provides a wide array of programs. All this at affordable prices and in a magical setting.

This non-denominational retreat center is dedicated to the development of Body, Mind, and Spirit. For the 2003 season we offer over thirty different workshops and/or retreats and programs on a wide range of topics which include: Ancient & Mystic Ways, Leadership Workshops, Healing, Teens Workshops, Meditation Retreats, Silent Retreats, Healthy Lifestyles, Women's Retreats, Men's Retreats, Personal Growth, Relationships, Spiritual Development, Drumming, Writing & Storytelling, Painting, Yoga, and much more.

Richard Ortega is the owner of Johnson's Landing Retreat Center. For more information please see their website at: www.JohnsonsLandingRetreat.bc.ca or call their Toll Free number 1 (877) 366-4402.


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