Although we live in nature and are surrounded by beauty, every now and then I want to be in true wilderness, without any people, or sounds of lawnmowers or goats needing to be milked. I am so glad I made the decision to get away – not a small feat with three young kids in tow. Because when I got back, both my husband and I had gained clarity and a deeper appreciation for each other, and because the garden had grown, and I think the goats missed me, too.
Here is some of the beauty I found. Who needs a psychotherapist if you have this? (Well... I still do, but nature therapy is nice if your therapist is booked...)
These mountains are on what we call "the East side", because we drive East over the Cascade Mountain range to reach them. Washington Pass, the highest point (about 5,500 feet) is exactly one hour car ride away from our house.
As we were driving over the pass with all this elevation gain, I kept flashing back to last year, when my then-ten-year-old son Kai and I rode our bicycles over the pass. I wrote about it here - it's worth reading. And I thought to myself, that someone who can ride her bicycle up thousands of feet can deal with a little crisis and conflict. I thought of the resilience and mental attitude adjustment a feat like this takes, and I started softening my heart.
For the next few days, my kids and I hiked our butts off, ate lots of treats, enjoyed each others' company (most of the time), and let our souls relax. I'm proud of these children, so readily accompanying me on these adventures. The secret: pack enough treats.
Here is one of the lakes created by the damn at Ross Lake, on the drive over.
On our first day we headed to Harts Pass, on a sometimes treacherous dirt road considered the highest road in Washington state. Guess what we spotted on the way to the trail head? Yep, that would be a mountain goat. See? I can't get away from goats...
We spent our next day in the sweet little town of Twisp, famous for its bakery with the best cinnamon rolls in the state. We explored the farmer's market, stuffed ourselves with cherries (and cinnamon rolls), and let our skin get pruny at the local swimming pool.
On our last day we hiked to a gorgeous alpine Lake called Blue Lake. Ice bergs floated in green water (why do they call this lake Blue Lake?). While biting into his sandwich Kai lost a tooth and left it in the lake as an offering, and I left my anger there. Ice bergs, a tooth, and anger. I think Blue Lake can handle it.
And when we returned home? My homestead and husband welcomed me with all the beautiful offerings I have come to cherish: open arms and a tender heart, sunlight streaming through the trees, garden salads to be picked from the earth, animals to nurture, and my trusted, trusted friends the flowers.
And a little breather and peace until the next crisis hits.