The 2017 Earth Vase Pilgrimage in the Smoky Mountains will begin and end at the Enlightenment Stupa at Milarepa Retreat Center, just on the border of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The journey will take place primarily in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, one of the very few old growth forests of its size remaining in the southeast. Some of the trees in this forest are over 400 years old and can be wider than 20 feet around. We will hike from here up to the ridge line to witness and do practices around the full solar eclipse that is crossing the region on the 21st of August.
This year’s journey will be moderate and easy in its intensity. Pilgrims should expect to walk only a few miles a day, and several days will be stationary. Backcountry camping standards will be the norm, bring your own equipment if possible.