|Pink Skyscraper in the Background is City Grill….Great Happy Hour & Views|
Late Sunday afternoon, around 3 o’clock at Adytum, which was enveloped in heavy cloud cover, we decided to leave for Mt. Rainier, hike Narada Falls and end up at at one of our favorite places, Alexander’s Country Inn.
Normally we’d have left hours ago. There was little hope of actually hiking Paradise before nightfall but there are plenty of other hikes along the way and all involving waterfalls. Suddenly, ten miles east in Morton the sun broke through and afforded a whole other experience.
Right before the Park entrance, we stopped into a gift shop because there was chainsaw art out front. Adytum has its share of ancient maple stumps, many 150 years old, and Donn has decided to turn them into spirit wood art instead of cutting them out of the ground. Spirit Wood is something we are all familiar with…the face peering out of the wood. We like Mirth and Green Man in particular because they appear on so many of the European Cathedrals and even on our own Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC. We collect these carvings from master stonecarver Walter Arnold who carved on the cathedral alongside Frederick Hart, famous for the Ex Nihilo sculpture at the entrance to the Cathedral and for the 3 Soldiers sculpture near the Vietnam Memorial Wall.
We bought three small Spirit Wood carvings for the Adytum Autumn table, to blend with some owls already on hand. Then we drove on past Comet Falls, which is a great short hike, to Narada Falls, the crowning jewel of the mountain highway. It was 46 degrees with wind chill…I’m not sure I’m ready for winter…We saw the friendly Clark’s Nutcrackers that are more than happy to accept peanuts and crackers from your hand. Someone had dumped a bag of peanuts out for them and they were flying in over the waterfall to eat before sundown.
Walking down to the Narada Falls lookout point was slick and wet. The fine spray met us every step of the way and despite the dry summer, the torrent of water cascading over the lip of Narada Falls is an impressive force of nature…absolutely glorious. In the slideshow you can see that opposite this formidable release of crystal clear water are a series of natural stone steps that meet the falls at the bottom of the drop.
As in the case of almost all photography, you simply have to be there to capture the nuances, the essences of this exquisite display of power and might. Many had carved their names and initials on the wooden rail at the lowest lookout point where the might of the Falls diminishes somewhat into a more containable stream winding through the valley below. The carved words seemed a desire to remain, timeless and eternal, like these Falls; to merge with the mastery of life and be carried along in their glory…
We exchanged photo taking with one other couple on the trail and headed back up. There were only half a dozen cars in the parking lot and many children scrambling dangerously close to the retaining wall which looks like a castle from the viewpoint below. The walk is magical and transported me. Nature has always fed the deep, inner recesses of my spirit which becomes parched in a city environment quickly. Our Creator has made space for combining with the eternal and the art-walks we enjoy in the Pacific Northwest have no equal in any city museum…
Cold enough now to require some warming up, we head to Alexander’s Country Inn; the charming blue Inn with a Victorian turret and large, wooden water wheel churning. Deer are almost always in the yard eating windfall apples, but we didn’t see them today. Alexander’s keeps trout in a large pond behind the Inn, but this evening I ordered a salmon burger sans the bread for $10 and Donn ordered an excellent 4-cheese ravioli in a butter sauce with a variety of mushrooms and red bell pepper. At $16 he was quite happy all the way around. His salad had a unique maple vinaigrette that was wonderful. We had a warming meal despite a bit of a chilly reception from the wait staff which is unusual for that establishment…
We bought a season’s pass for $30 and will return to enjoy the last of the huckleberries and the blaze of their foliage before winter sets in. The hills pour with liquid amber and the passion colors of Fall as Vine Maples celebrate in unison their finest hour. I love this time of year. It’s my favorite and the briskness is so welcome after the heat of summer.
This day has taught me not to accept the limits and boundaries we impose on our expectations and ideas of things. We’ve never started a hike, with an hour’s drive to our destination, so late. And we certainly will again in the future. It capped the busy guest-filled weekend at Adytum with restorative joy and peace. It grounded me once again in the deep Reality of nature and our oneness with all living things. My well is replenished and my week will reflect this short but intense investment in my spirit/body/mind complex.
Nearly every step is accompanied by the happy gurgle of brooks; the rush of falling water and the tumult of cascading falls at the climax of the trail particularly after snow melt in early spring. Birdsong echoes from the limbs of a thousand trees in this old wood. Like Muir says, “the songs of the water, wind and birds” – all meld into an incitement to gain strength and peace as you’re drawn deeper into the emerald enchantment and mystery of this moist woodland.
The proximity is prized by guests that want to enjoy the magic of Adytum without long jaunts to far off excursions. You can stop back into the Bean Tree or Plaza Jalisco in Morton to refuel. Also, the locals tell me that Morton Meat Market has the best beef jerky anywhere. I wouldn’t know, but I do go in to buy raw dog bones for the pack and there is always a line in front of the meat counter.
Profuse stands of maidenhair ferns with its arching fronds, Hart’s Tongue Fern, light green deer fern and lady fern – the quintessential feathery fern with the black frond emerges in every crevasse of the rock walls that interrupt the vegetation flow. Knickinick, coral bells and tiny fir, hemlock and cedar trees line the trail.
Moss lines every open space and we stepped over an abundance of leopard and banana slugs. It is another world…restfully cool and tranquil…and yes, magical. With the prehistoric heritage of ferns, it could be a time warp from thousands of years ago. Enter in…
“Epiphyte give the architecture of a tree or a shrub a complex fenestration that confers age and complexity.” (Native Ferns, Moss & Grasses, William Cullins)
|My Well Used Santa Cruz Mountain Bike- My Most Cherished Gift from Donn|
|That’s Lilly (in black), Sold By Our Medical Vision Center Manager to These Folks|
It’s about an hour’s bike ride if I explore the back roads and side streets. We have no bank here, no supermarket except a wooden floor general store. But we have the basics and the rest can be found ten miles east in Morton.
|Have You Shopped In A Grocery Store With Wooden Floors?|
|My ’98 Toyota Tacoma…If I Get “Newer/Bigger” I Can’t Throw My Bike Into The Back of the Bed…|
|Getting Ready for some Joy Time|
|The Buses Carry the Workers In|
|Hola and Gracias…I eat them every morning!|
|Safe Passage Under Highway 12 for the Workers and I|
|So Many Old Barns and Many Still In Active Use|
|Adytum and the new Pinot Noir Vineyard Growing in the Sun|
Your inner chef will whisper in your ear too as you play around in the kitchen with these new dishes more too. Every guest who makes a special request urges me out of my box and helps me to expand in my cooking skills. Ultimately they help me to see that there is so much more out there- Like the chef who taught me to “try one new thing a week, from the produce section and from the jar/can isle” Get familiar with capers, arugula, new spices, and on and on.
Here are some pictures of this morning’s breakfast in the making:
This really “makes it” The coconut creams it up, the ginger and cinnamon make it decadent…luscious….
Now it’s time to top after a long, much stirred simmer~and taste (:
We served this with Apple Quinoa Banana Muffins, Maple Smoked Sweet Potato Oven Roasted Fries, and Eggs- and non-eggs – on the Half Shell. If a vegan has to watch others eating a dish – like my guest says, “Oh, I’m used to passing things along” – well there’s something inherently wrong about that. So I came up with an alternative that I’m anxious to try with grilled polenta under the sauteed mushrooms, garlic, sweet onion and red bell pepper~
“Is Everybody HAPPY?”