ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE
Retreats begin in the afternoon of the first scheduled day, with check-in between 2:00 and 4:00pm. Your confirmation letter will specify these times to facilitate your timely arrival, and you will receive a reminder email shortly before the retreat start.
Upon arrival, retreatants check-in, complete the registration process, sign up for working meditations, set-up their spot in the meditation hall, and move into an assigned room.
For first-time retreatants, a Newcomer’s Welcome meeting is offered at 4:30pm. A light dinner is served at 5:00pm and is followed by working meditation task trainings and after-dinner clean-up. An orientation given by the teacher(s) and Cloud Mountain staff begins at 7:00pm.
Retreatants should make travel plans which allow arrival between 2:00-4:00pm, as the spirit and continuity of the retreat is greatly facilitated by starting together. First time retreatants are encouraged to arrive eaarlier rather than later to allow adequate time to become oriented to the center.
Please be realistic about planning for the predictable rush hour traffic on the freeway. In the event that late arrival is unavoidable, retreatants should notify Cloud Mountain as soon as possible at 360-274-4859 or 1-888-465-9118.
The majority of retreats end around midday of the last scheduled day, typically no later than 12:30pm.
There are some exceptions to this timing, including 4-week retreats, 2-week retreats, Beginner retreats and retreats of 7-days that end on the same day another begins.
Please check your confirmation information for the exact timing.
PACKING LIST & LOANER ITEMS
WHAT TO BRING
- Bedding: a sleeping bag or sheets and blankets, and a pillow. An extra fitted sheet to cover the mattress is optional.
- Towel & washcloth
- Comfortable clothing layers for variable weather. Southwest Washington can be cool and damp at any time of year. The buildings at Cloud Mountain are pleasant and well-insulated, but retreatants will often be walking between them necessitating clothing and shoes appropriate for walking outdoors. This includes a warm sweater or jacket even in the summer, a raincoat or umbrella. (Please pack adequate clothing for the length of your retreat, since laundry facilities are not available to retreatants on retreats shorter than two weeks.)
- Prescription medications you take in supplies adequate to last for the duration of your retreat.
- Personal toiletry items: soap, shampoo, toothbrush, razor, etc. Please plan to use fragrance-free items during your retreat.
- Flashlight with fresh batteries for walking between buildings at night.
- Meditation cushion or bench, a pad for beneath the cushion.
- A meditation shawl or light blanket for chilly late night or early morning meditations.
- Alarm clock and/or watch other than your cell phone.
- Slippers: Shoes are not permitted in most of the buildings but you may wear slippers.
- Slip-on shoes for easy removal before entering buildings.
- Shower shoes/sandals (e.g., plastic flip flops) are recommended.
- Cloth napkins and handkerchiefs, to reduce paper waste.
- Coffee: Cloud Mountain provides coffee and makes coffee cones and filters available for general use and for those who choose to bring a personal coffee supply.
- Bear spray or an airhorn to enhance safety from bears or cougars.
WHAT NOT TO BRING
- Pets (with the exception of service animals)
- Reading materials (on most retreats reading is not encouraged)
- Alcohol, marijuana, illegal drugs, or other intoxicating substances. (Smoking is not banned during retreat, but smokers are asked to move to a respectful distance from buildings and people.)
- Candles or incense
- Technological devices (tablets, laptops, etc.) – to support you in letting go of the pull of technology we do not allow retreatants wifi access during your retreat.
If you are traveling into the area by plane, train or bus, we have some items available for you to use so that you can minimize the amount you have to pack for your retreat.
- Meditation cushions of various sizes, chairs, kneeling benches, and backjacks are available to borrow for use in the meditation hall. We encourage those of you who live locally to bring your own cushions, to leave the loaner items available for those who fly in from out of the area.
- Sheets, blankets and towels can be provided to you for a rental fee of $10. Please provide us with advance notice that you will need these items. Please indicate what items you need when you submit your registration, or by email or phone prior to arrival. (We ask that those who are driving to the retreat and have the ability to bring these items fairly easily to please do so. Supplies are limited, and the addition of extra laundry can quickly build to challenging levels for the retreat center staff, so please bear that in mind as you assess and balance the choice to request a bedding rental.)
HEALTH & SAFETY
Cloud Mountain is located in a very rural area. There are no health professionals on staff and there are no health facilities at the retreat center. The nearest hospital is over 20 miles away and the nearest pharmacy is 8 miles away.
Because of the chemical or environmental sensitivities many people suffer, we ask that you use only fragrance-free products while you are on retreat.
For individuals taking prescriptions, especially meds for psychological conditions, it is strongly discouraged that you discontinue taking your medications during retreat or adjust dosages. Cleansing and fasting during retreat are similarly discouraged.
SPECIAL NEEDS – ACCOMMODATIONS & ARRANGEMENTS
We encourage individuals with physical disabilities to view the Photo Gallery and contact Cloud Mountain directly to determine whether what we are able to offer will provide for each person’s particular needs. The retreat center is very rustic; the paths are all graveled. The terrain can be challenging: sloping, steep in places and irregular. The buildings are separate, so participants travel between their sleeping space, the meditation hall, showering/toilet facilities and the dining room.
Many people with a range of physical limitations – including those using wheelchairs – have successfully participated in retreats. Others have found the facilities too challenging. We are happy to pre-arrange a tour of the facilities prior to registering for a retreat for anyone wishing to see for themselves what attending a retreat would be like.
For individuals with moderate physical limitations, we encourage you to contact us in advance to discuss options for your housing assignments and your working meditations during retreat. It is very helpful if you contact us to discuss what kind of activities you can perform prior to your arrival so that we can pre-assign tasks that are within your physical capabilities.