Shambhala Ranch and the surrounding Comptche countryside it is located upon have been considered spiritual not just since the Ranch’s beginning, but from long, long before.
During the Stone Age, migratory Pomo Indians travelled especially through this area for its sacred aspects — such as the abundant natural hot springs — on their way to the nearby Mendocino coast, where they would harvest fish, seaweed, and acorns. Along the way, they stopped for the various marvels provided by Coyote (their creator). One such stop was the “Living Waters,” a stream near Shambhala they believed had curative powers.
Though some Pomo Indians were migratory, they often stayed for extended periods wherever they dwelled. Here they would build shelters from indigenous materials that were in abundance, such as redwood branches and brushes and mud. You can see an example in the old photo (right). Look closely and you can see a Pomo Indian sitting just outside the front of the left lodge. This gives you a sense of the scale of their shelters.
Interestingly, there are over 43 known petroglyphs with Indian signs carved on them found on private lands in Mendocino County that were created by the Pomo. The locations of these priceless artifacts have been kept secret, however, by the Mendocino County Historical Society. The reason? Past experience suggests if the locations were made public, the public would quickly deface or chip them.
By the time European settlers arrived in the area, many of the narrow, scenic roadways now running throughout the massive Mendocino County mountains as paved roads were already well-established as foot trails by the Pomo Indians. In fact, most early Anglo immigrants in this region learned early the value of cooperation with the Pomo. An example: the materials used for constructing early pioneer homes were exactly the same as the Pomo’s, just modified for the European design.
As for the Shambhala Ranch itself, it was originally on what was known as the Weist Homestead. Through the years and over the changed hands, most of the original structures have been removed. The new Shambhala Ranch was custom built in the 1980’s, and features many modern amenities that would have doubtlessly amazed both Pomo and Weist Homesteaders alike.