February in the Pacific Northwest often holds a few balmy days to tide us over until late Spring and this was one of those days. Okay, I admit,’balmy’ was actually 41 degrees but with the sunshine out and no wind it was truly amazing (this being said from a California girl, so believe it!)
Ike Kinswa State Park is about 5 minutes from Adytum Sanctuary. For those of you who’ve been in the third floor library looking out over Lake Mayfield, the Cowlitz and the Tilton Rivers, Ike Kinswa is the peninsula of land dividing the emerald rivers and jutting into Lake Mayfield’s deep blue waters. To see adjacent bodies of water colored so differently is lovely- the rivers are emerald- the Cowlitz being more milky as it comes off the glaciers of Mt. Rainier, the Tilton just pure emerald like a stone…All fresh, pure, and stunningly beautiful.
|Donn, Gabe, and Dash in Tune With the Land|
The sun is setting now, moving a little farther on the elliptical to the right hugging the top of the mountains as it slides toward summer. Hiking the Ike Kinswa River Trail in the summer is spectacular because of the lush canopy of Big Leaf Maple, Fir, and Alder. The woods are shady, cool, and smell of earth churned by the occasional horses on the path. It is a great, easy mountain biking trail too but in the heart of winter…well, wear some waterproof shoes.
You can see from the pictures that the damp trail gave way to a literal stream and huge washouts. You will be hiking inside of a canyon basically where sword and maidenhair ferns run up the sides of a steep ravine while all the while rivulets of water are coursing down in rainbow droplets to create this deluge below. The water-music surrounds you, whether it’s the waterfalls across the river along the way or these little channels of water lit up like rainbows and sounding like the tinkling of bells.
As I’ve told so many guests at Adytum, you’d literally expect to see a Pterodactyl gliding over the river hunting for fish…it’s mystical, magical, and prehistoric with the abundance of ferns and fantastical with the overwhelming amounts of moss and lichens and hobbit-sized holes in the trees. It is a place to let your imagination return to simpler days, to the heart of a child…Tolkien and C.S. Lewis surely must have had woods like these to create in.
|These Ancients Surely Get Up and Walk Around at Night…Fantastical…|
“I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits unless I spend four hours a day at least — and it is commonly more than that — sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields absoutely free from all wordly engagements. You may safely say a penny for your thoughts, or a thousand pounds. When sometimes I am reminded that the mechanics and shop-keepers stay in their shops not only all the forenoon, but all the afternoon too, sitting with crossed legs, so many of them — as if the legs were made to sit upon, and not to stand or walk upon — I think that they deserve some credit for not having all committed suicide long ago”. Henry David Thoreau
We’ve been on both aspects of the Tilton- kayaking below or hiking and biking on the trail above. Today we watched 4 brave souls risk capsizing in hypothermia producing waters. Having been launched out of my kayak one warm summer day and nearly drowning because the water was so cold it took my breath away literally, I wouldn’t consider this risk of winter kayaking. They had helmets and life jackets on but still…
|Brave Souls…The Water is Beyond Freezing|
We passed only one couple on our hour’s walk, a fly fisherman and his wife and two dogs unleashed as ours were. We are in the land of World-class fishing. Here is quote I have on the links page of our website from a guide in the area:
|Fly Fisherman and Family|
World Class Steelhead fishing in the Cowlitz River
(unique in that it has four distinct runs and holds
Steelhead 365 days a year with the states highest
* World Class Sea Run Cutthroat fishing – one of the
few fisheries that allow fishermen to keep Sea Run
Cutthroat Trout which
average two pound + (Late August – October)
* World class Tiger Muskie Fly Fishing in Mayfield Lake,
a fish of a thousand casts. Tiger Muskie’s up to 50 inches.
* High Lakes, Trout fishing – summer and fall.
Almost makes the vegetarian in me go buy a fishing pole…At least we can assume they are clean and cold-water trout have an Omega-3 fatty acid profile worth considering for health.
We can’t wait to return on bike and kayak next time. In summer there is a small fee and dogs must be leashed. The bathrooms are closed during winter, but the children’s area has a playground and a wading area cordoned off in the Lake so summer is a great time to picnic with family at Ike Kinswa. There are about 150 camp sites across the road on the camping side and a few cabins to rent. It can get a little noisy on the water with boats and jet skis in the summer. We don’t notice it from Adytum and very much appreciated the solitude of nature today, alone except for the kayak sighting and our fly fisherman and his wife. This extravagant privacy would be hard to find anywhere else, especially when combined with World-class fishing.
|Dash’s Big Adventure|
As we got ready to load the dogs in the back of the truck, wet, dirty, and played out, a flock of Canada geese started toward us from across the Lake sure we had lunch to share. All along the trail we had heard the laughter in the skies from baby eagles learning to fly. That is exactly how they sound when they’re young. They joy in their youth and in their gathering strength and power. A lesson for us all…unexpectedly. Forever young inside and persistently growing in maturity and wisdom, power and might.
The sky is painted in rose now and Gizmo washes himself in the window overlooking the Lake, at peace…serene. It was a good day.