Sunday, October 17, 2010

Witch hazel: met someone today who had been at Harbin Hot Springs in late 60s & early 70s, Silver Space Ship near Harbin Warm Pool, Friendly Gathering

... met someone today who had been at Harbin Hot Springs in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. For about 2 1/2 years, from 1970-1972, he was Director of the U.C. Davis Experimental College, and taught a 'class' on Harbin called 'Hydro Thermo Dynamics' :) ... about Harbin and, it seems, the Harbin warm and hot pools. There are no texts or student papers from that time, he said - no records that he knows of. UC Davis provided the vehicles, and the course went over to Harbin from the Sacramento area as much as once every 2 weeks. Both this Experimental College (I found this brief history of Experimental College online - (this link no longer works - - but here as of Oct 7, 2017 is a mention of the history - and such a class are totally a thing of the 1960s. :) He remembers a silver space ship on the hill to the north of the Harbin warm pool during that time. No such space ship 'art' is there today, although there is a fair amount of other art around the warm pool these days. I met William at College Park Quarterly Gathering, a Quaker retreat not far from Grass Valley this weekend. It's quite a fortuitous meeting, because I'm interested in that time at Harbin, and haven't met many people who were there and enjoy talking about it, - and especially at a Friendly Gathering, as an unexpected context and a kind of serendipity. We met at lunch on the last day of this retreat (where I had asked a nontheistic Friend on a panel (of four people) on the subject of nontheistic Friends a question about eliciting loving bliss, as a biological process), and after we had just met, he asked if I knew of Don Hamrick who was at Harbin in the late 1960s. At first I didn't know whom he was talking about, but later remembered Hamrick's name from the Harbin History "Harbin Hot Springs: Healing Waters, Sacred Lands," as someone - kind of a hippy and 'scientist' - who had been involved with psychedelics and the 'Frontiers of Science" at Harbin in the late 1960s, in a time when Harbin may have been a little dilapidated, chaotic, and financially unstable, with some hippies (and Hells' Angels) coming for visits. As mature, friendly and informative William was telling me about the silver space ship near the warm pool, he pretended to put a hit of acid under his tongue. I suspect that there was a lot of tripping on acid and other drugs at Harbin at that time.

William lives in northern California, not as far north as Black Bear Ranch (a well-known commune especially in the 60s and 70s in northern California, but pretty far north, and off the grid - (meaning he generates his own electricity, and has his own water supply) and seems to live a pretty sane life. Not a Friend (Quaker), he came with a friend who is active in a Quaker Meeting on the north coast. William gets internet from a satellite dish and uses it for managing his money, etc., was unsure what he'd find at a Quaker Gathering, and was pleasantly surprised by the easy-goingness of this gathering, I think. As a hippy in the 1960s and 70s, he is still living as a kind of hippy. (I lived from 1979-1987 in Portland, Oregon, in collective houses, while studying at Reed College, and know the culture of the west coast of which we are both are a part, - especially influenced by the forests everywhere from the north coast of California well into British Columbia; I was active in the Cathedral Forest Action Group which was engaged in nonviolent activism to preserve Old Growth forests in the Pacific NW in the mid-1980s).

I was delighted to meet William, and we may meet at Harbin at some point to see how being at Harbin jogs his memory, and what else I can come to understand particularly about the late 1960s and early 70s vis-a-vis Harbin. He spent a fair amount of time at Harbin throughout the 1970s and some of the 1980s, he said, and was last there in 1991. He remembered the Village Path, and mentioned an old bridge perhaps near the warehouse. I would guess that much of Harbin was similar then to today, since Ishvara and Heart Consciousness Church and folks at Harbin then inherited the existing guest buildings. A room cost $8-10 a night in the late 70s, William said.

I want to learn about the silver space ship near Harbin warm pool. I would guess it was there for tripping, and as an evocative symbol.

(Some links about Don Hamrick I've found:

( - October 17, 2010)

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