|The Spectacular Pristine Granite Lake Outside Ashford, Near Mt. Rainer in Washington State|
This is an absolutely beautiful hike not far from Adytum Sanctuary to three lakes: Pothole, Bertha May (where do they get these names??), and Granite Lake – and you could hike on to Cora Lake but when we reached Granite Lake, it was already growing quite dark as we got a late start. All this beauty is in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest near Tower Rock and reached by walking over a single-track footpath, despite what the sign says, with stunning Mt. Rainier views along the way.
|In the Pleasant Company of the Ancients|
When I was among the beauty of the old growth forest, some of these trees over 400 years old, I was struck by the sense of community they exuded and the beauty and individuality of each lichen covered One.There is an unspoken and often unacknowledged energy in their presence. We usually focus on the water as the end-line destination of a hike, and it was some of the most beautiful forest water I’ve ever witnessed but really – it was the trees that worked their balancing ‘magic’ on me and gave me my peace back.
|Mt. Rainier Views Along the Way to the Three Lakes|
A sign at the entrance said horses, bikes, motorcycles, etc were all able to use the trail but we just couldn’t imagine how that would be possible the further along we hiked. Even a child, an elderly person- certainly horses- had the potential to slip over the cliff without a lot of provocation. If you mountain bike, you will carry it on your shoulder about 1/3 of the way and up some steep inclines, across rough stream beds, and walk it down wash-outs, but it is conceivable.
|Tower Rock in the Background, Lake Bertha May|
We dodged thousands of baby frogs- no exaggeration – until we finally stopped trying to avoid stepping on them…I’ve never seen baby frogs in a forest but with three lakes nearby, there you go! Actually what was cute at first became creepy as they scuttled from under every foot fall like crabs or cockroaches and distracted from the great beauty we were immersed in on this lush trail. Maiden hair ferns mixed with knick-a-nick and huckleberries. Mosses overtook rocks and there was a thick carpet of fir needles and cones on the forest floor. It’s going to be a cold winter.
|Fresh Bear Activity; Donn’s 6’2″ Tall & This is the Bear’s Reach|
We followed a bear tall enough to scrape trees at the 6’2″ mark as you can see with Donn standing by one of his scrapings. The darkened patches denoting a recent desire to fill an empty belly with ants and bugs.
To reach the final destination you might take a blanket for a picnic, a fire-stick as there are fire pits in season, and a gun.
|Great Picnic Spots with the Lake Beyond, Fire pits Well Used|
We realized our level of vulnerability when we saw fresh bear scat on the trail full of huckleberries. The huckleberries, however, had been picked over by hikers and the trees all had been ravaged on and off trail. Somebody was hungry….we joked after stepping over the fresh ‘evidence’ that he probably wasn’t interested in a couple of skinny vegetarians, but still it left me with a sense of ‘dis-ease’ in such peaceful surroundings and it made me realize the need to bring something besides my camera on these hikes.
|Is This Reishi?|
Our hike evolved into a mushroom walk and the variety is astounding! Purple ones, orange and tan ones, ones with spots and some slumped over. Some the quintessential ‘toad stools’. My childlike imagination ran rampant as stories around these mushrooms invaded my head…It is a fantasy walk and it’s too bad it’s too much for children unless they are closely supervised or carried. Our interest in mushrooms is growing after last week’s seminar in LA – the Longevity Now Intensive where Reishi and Chaga were highly esteemed. We are trying to learn if any of these are the powerful Reishi which we are taking now from Ron Teeguarden’s Dragon Herbs. If so, there is enough to last lifetimes growing on these trees.
After walking nearly an hour up a gradual incline- nothing too taxing and stopping for a ton of photographs- we arrived at the last lake. They were all stunning in their turquoise, ‘Caribbean’ color, clarity, and the peace was palpable. If it wasn’t so late, it would have made for the quintessential skinny dip. All you have to do is count the cars at the entrance and count the people as they pass. Simple math told me we were quite alone- except for that bear….
Although the elevation gain is not too remarkable, still this is not an easy hike because the trail has been degraded. At points we were sliding down the hill or using roots to pull ourselves up to the next section. The sign says horses and motorcycles…good luck! I imagine it was these that tore the trail up in the first place.
|The Camel Tree; Making Space for Play|
We only passed one couple and next a father hiking with his daughter. Despite such a perfect temperature day, we were essentially alone. That’s part of the mystery of the Pacific Northwest…even within 5 minutes of Adytum I can show you places that no one but the locals know of or will ever find. I lived in Olympia, 45 minutes north toward Seattle, for 23 years and only came to Mt. Rainer…never these sketchy hikes down miles of pitted, holey gravel roads. It just takes getting off the beaten path every now and then to discover these Caribbean-like jewels in the midst of old trees that look like they came out of the set of the Hobbit.
|Mushrooms of Every Color, Shape and Size Abounded on the Trail|
There was no sound but the wind in the fir, the occasional Blue Jay and the sweet twisp of the Pine Siskin. I could hear leaves falling. Will we go again? Most definitely.
On the way home, you could head back to Ashford for a nice meal at Alexander’s Country Inn where we spent our wedding night in 1995. We have no ‘white tablecloth’ or 5 star restaurants in our area but this is the closest by far.
|Donn & Kat’s 17th Anniversary Dinner at Alexander’s After Hiking Granite Lake|
I’ve made the request to the chef there to incorporate gluten free pastas into their menu as eating the white pasta makes me ill. Since we send many of our guests to Alexander’s after serving them all gluten free and healthy options at breakfast, we want them to return back to Adytum feeling as good as when they left. For me today after having some lasagna I am lethargic, tired, and my stomach hurts. I will have the salad next time if the menu remains un-enlightened in respect to gluten. The staff is wonderful and the atmosphere is nice. I’m just requiring more options the further I get along my journey to radiant health, that’s all!
|Far Infrared Sauna in the Orion Suite at Adytum|
We just did an interview on www.tnsradio.ning.com with Dr. Carolyn McMakin on Frequency Specific Microcurrent. Her podcast should be up soon but here is the link for some of the other podcasts currently up (The Far Infrared Sauna talk with Jill Harrison is quite informative and we have this sauna from High Tech Health at Adytum and I wouldn’t be without it, seriously: http://www.tnsradio.com/scott-tips-podcasts.html
Dr. McMakin is a chiropractor who uses FSM on her patients and I have an excellent home unit I also wouldn’t be without!. She said the FSM treatment will only last one day if the patient is sensitive to gluten and continues to eat it, but many more days if they stay off of it. It is highly inflammatory and comes with a host of symptoms, most of which many of us ignore thinking that’s just how it is for us and our health.
|Lovely Spot for a Private Picnic and Swim|
For herself, she said that gluten consumption will take her pain level from a 7 to a 10 and last three days at the higher level! The effects of one meal with wheat/rye/oats/barley/soy sauce/filler in canned foods, etc. will remain with you long after the meal is forgotten. It’s just not worth it when there are great options out there like Tinkyada’s brands of rice noodles that hold up so well with cooking, or Shirataki noodles in the cold section of the fridge at Safeway and most stores, or quinoa and amaranth noodles, Pamela’s mixes, and so many of Bob’s Red Mill GF flours. Most of us are avoiding corn because of the GMOs now but it is gluten free. Those of you that follow a gluten free diet, please join us in asking restaurants to provide options. Otherwise, we had a nice time at Alexander’s Country Inn and lovely memories too from a wedding night and many anniversaries celebrated there since.
|Don’t Believe Everything You Read (:|
As far as the hike goes, there are no bathroom facilities on this hike and our cell phone didn’t work after we left the Morton area.You are on your own so be prepared for any eventuality. When we got back to the car, the key wouldn’t open when the button was pressed due to being carried in a pocket with a bunch of dirty Reishi (hopefully!!) mushrooms clogging up the mechanism.
I was thinking about the long, long walk back to a road if it didn’t open and realized how very unprepared we were in this quasi-wilderness for anything to go wrong.
To find these hidden jewels, proceed about seven miles out of Ashford. Take a right on Skate Creek Road, R 84 and the last right at 9510. When the road Y’s, park on the side of the road and the entrance is there- and yes, hard to find. We may have missed it were there not two cars parked there on the side of the road.
Arriving here is accomplished after about fifteen minutes on a potholed gravel road with a lot of scattered rocks as well. Use the restroom before embarking if you wish to avoid some kidney rattling (: Plan to hike about an hour in if you’re stopping for lots of great pictures and 45 minutes back out. Wear good shoes as you’ll cross some streams.
|We Shall Return!|