By Katherine A. Carroll, NTP, Adytum Sanctuary Owner-Hostess
A Seattle guest reserving the Orion Suite in late February, booking through Airbnb instead of the www.adytumsanctuary.com website, wants to get a “bit of Nature in” while they are here. He asks if there are any hikes nearby. One benefit of booking directly, besides cutting out the middleman and higher costs, is that information is on the blog: https://adytumsanctuary.com/hiking/.
Still, I love his query. I hear it a lot. So many of our guests come from cities all over the World and are in a nature deficit. Some live in stacked housing such as a Belgian diplomat who complained he could hear neighbors on all three sides at all hours. As much as I travel, I completely understand. Hong Kong was a challenge. Yet even committed city-lovers still need the silence and the peace Nature provides. And once at Adytum, it’s right outside the door.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.” ― John Muir
Rest and luxury are what most guests desire, I’ve observed as I enter my tenth year of inn-keeping at Adytum Sanctuary. Adytum means “Sanctuary of the Spirit” in Greek. The Spirit is definitely nurtured at Adytum in rugged, Pacific Northwest beauty and the extravagant privacy of our 16 acres. I see such a difference in our guests’ countenance from the time they arrive to the time they leave. It is a remarkable transformation! Nature works her almost imperceptible magic and as Muir says, “…cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.” To desire “a bit of Nature” is to invite this childlike wonder and balance into life.
When we take time to rest and reconnect with all that really matters in life, we find wisdom and clarity, direction, and a new sense of purpose that leads to fulfilment. For most of us, that comes effortlessly while immersing in Nature. It sure does for me. Since my twenties, I knew I needed to “go to the mountains to get my peace back.” And for Adytum guests, look no further as that escape can be right here. While not technically a mountain, Adytum is at 800 feet elevation which yields a stunning territorial view of the valley below, farmland with cattle and horses grazing in verdant pastures, Lake Mayfield, open sky for miles with outrageous sky-bouquets over the lake, the Tilton and Cowlitz Rivers that flow on either side of Ike Kinswa State Park and feed into Lake Mayfield.
Lake Mayfield has world-class fishing if you find your relaxation on a boat. As if all this weren’t enough to refill your inner well, Adytum Sanctuary overlooks the DeGoede bulb farm and acres of blueberries from Pan American Blueberry Farm and from private owners as well which hold their deep russet hue throughout the gray of Winter. In any season, it is simply lovely. All this Nature is just a short 5 minute drive away. We have kayaks and bikes to share as well.
Regardless of the weather, the dog pack (smaller now since Gabriel’s passing in late 2019 of old age) makes sure we walk a minimum of twice daily. Old Dash, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, leads despite his diminutive size compared to our two German Shepard rescues, Liberty and Angel Girl. They have a job to do which they take very seriously: patrolling and chasing large grey squirrels, deer, and coyotes. Adytum’s 16 organic acres are fast transforming into an edible forest feast. Getting out in Nature for us means not only enjoying the fruit of our labor but keeping the hazelnuts, vineyard, and orchards (not to mention so many Old English scented roses that I’ve lost count) for our own use primarily instead of growing for wildlife alone. They definitely get their share; we’re not that accomplished in deterring yet….
Employing the concept of gardening by rooms, we have so many rooms right here to “get a bit of Nature” without ever leaving the grounds to visit nearby Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens, Covel Creek and Angel Falls…. Yet these hikes are from 45 minutes away to an hour to the Park entrance. However, many people never even seem to find “hidden in plain sight” mini-sanctuaries of Adytum such as the little seasonal creek tumbling through an outrageous amount of sword ferns growing all along the bank. Set in an older forest, it is one of my favorites largely for the water-music, lush greenery in all seasons, and birds who come to drink here.
Some “rooms” such as the little creek are natural. Some are created, such as the Memorial Garden at the entry set amidst tall Sequoia trees and a fernery taking shape under their generous boughs. When I was small, we spent a lot of time amidst the giant Sequoias in California. These trees can grow thousands of years towering to the sky. Sitting inside of “The Elders” and hearing the sweet call of the Pine Siskin and Nuthatch, immersed in their society, hearing the wind running through the crisp green branches – well, it typifies how most everyone seems to describe Adytum: Heaven, Eden, “a little slice of Heaven” and I completely agree. It transports you.
Like so many of you, I am a fresh air addict. Strong winds wash over the land nightly, singing in the ancient Fir, Alder, and Big Leaf Maple trees, many approaching 200-years old. Maybe it is all the negative ions. Maybe the pure mountain air. Maybe it’s the scent of the rain called Petrichor; an enchanting mix of soil bacteria’s signature scent, plant oils, and ozone. But while walking in Adytum’s forest, woodlands, and fields, stress fades, my shoulders drop, my breath is deep and full. There is something undeniably magical about Adytum land.
So many ask about the Sanctuary; www.grittonbuildingco.com, my sons’ company, built Adytum Sanctuary from the ground up. This is our 13th year here and we have hosted over 5000 international guests now since opening in 2010. Also hosted are an equal number of birds as a dedicated bird sanctuary. The feeders are full year round and for the hummingbirds as well who never leave now. Finding arrowheads are the only indication anyone ever lived on this land before. So we take on the mantle of stewardship of this sacred space.
There was no need to restore Adytum lands. It is virgin, luscious, organic, rich Cinebar loam and hundreds of years of leaves dropped every Autumn to feed the Earth. This is why hundreds of birds, raptors such as Eagles, hawks and such a variety of songbirds and others migrate through; it is full of earthworms, bugs, and all the bird treats one could hope for. Pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals haven’t destroyed the delicate microbiome of the soil here. The energy of the land untouched, except to feed it naturally, is palpable and adds exponentially to the experience of being in Nature.
So, yes, there is a “little bit of Nature” to be discovered here whether looking outside one of the many windows in your Suite, sitting under one of the pergolas or by the Koi Pond on the one of the many contemplative benches or driving the short distance to one of the many hikes nearby.
What I’ve observed over the years is this: Adytum is a vortex. Once here it is very hard to extricate oneself. Most of our guests are more tired than they know, or certainly than they let on. They need to consider a looser schedule that allows spontaneity to speak. They need to stop. To rest. To pamper themselves from their Spirit outward. They need to reconnect with all that really matters in life in the extravagant luxury, privacy, rugged beauty, and exquisite peace that is Adytum Sanctuary.