Breitenbush Hot Springs

March 24-25, 1984

The Breitenbush Hot Springs overnight was a resounding success with all the participants insisting we make this one at least an annual event.

Saturday brought near perfect weather and ski conditions—bright sunshine after a light dusting of new snow the night before. We found the perfect hidden-away spot to enjoy a bit of Paradise for the day—a wide, gently sloping, south-facing meadow with lots of soft contours and a spectacular view of the Three Sisters and the Hoodoo Ski area.

We ate a leisurely lunch basking in the warmth of the sun and discussing the merits of the Breitenbush Conference Retreat and Healing Center which we would wind up at that evening. Some of us practiced telemarking and “other downhill techniques” on what seemed to be an endless slope.

Then we took a quick jaunt around the hill we were playing on for a view of Three-Fingered Jack! He was more handsome than ever beckoning us onward. But with the promise of hot tubs, steam sauna, mineral baths and a gourmet meal awaiting us, the group voted for an early return (in order to get to Breitenbush for a pre-dinner soak).

(To get to our hillside we started out on the Pacific Crest Trail across from Hoodoo off Hwy 22, then . . . we’re not telling, but we may be willing to take you to our Garden of Eden.)

Breitenbush was everything we had hoped it would be and more. The trip leader was thoroughly familiar with the land, its physical systems, the intentional community that operates the place and its history. After getting maps and cabin assignments at the office, we made ourselves at home in six geothermally heated cabins, placing any wet gear on the radiators to dry while we went off to soak in the four Medicine Wheel hot tubs or the geothermal steam sauna before dinner. All of Breitenbush’s energy is both locally produced and renewable, by the way.

Dinner was, as usual, all you can eat—and most of us did—discovering our limits as we raved about the cooking in between trips for seconds, thirds . . . and dessert. The Community had gone all out to prepare this meal. When I asked who the cooks were, I was told Katsu and Lars did the rolls, Rebecca and Maureen the salad, Bill and Ross the cheese crackers, numerous others the soup, Aileen and Judy the strawberry shortcake/ginnerbreak . . . nearly the whole intentional community that runs the Center had a hand in the meal. We felt their love radiate from the 100% organically grown food they served us. We spent a leisurely evening watching “contact improvisation” (a form of meditation in dance), singing Irish and Native American ballads, and soaking in hot tubs.

The group was up early the next morning for another soak and/or sauna and shower before another gourmet vegetarian meal. “Best yogurt I’ve ever had—even better than Nancy’s!” “I’ve got to get their granola recipe!” All this for only $22.50; $18.00 for Seniors!

Morning Circle, a Breitenbush ritual, was another highlight of our Breitenbush stay—greeting the day and each other with songs and sharing of feelings, hopes and dreams. I said I hoped an Obsidian with a little free time would emerge to help Breitenbush in preventing the clearcutting of the magnificent old growth on its borders to which the Forest Service is selling timber rights.

While it was raining at Breitenbush that morning, just nine miles up FS Rt. 46 at Breitenbush Saddle, it was snowing. We donned our skis for another day of near perfect skiing—with a distinct change in scenery and terrain. The road to Breitenbush Lake is a gentle, winding uphill grade with each twist and turn beckoning you to come further and see what’s beyond me. We missed the magnificent views of Mt. Jefferson obtainable from this road when the sky is clear, but we enjoyed the winter wonderland of trees draped with snow. I’d say we got about half way in towards the lake when the group decided they wanted to head back—downhill all the way. Someday soon I want to go back and find that lake—it’s at 5600'. Any takers?

Overnighters were Karalie Adams, Gladys Grancorvitz, Carol Horvath, Dot Leland, John and Norma Levy, Hank Plant, Larry Schulze, Paula Vehrs, Tom Woxell, and leader Mary Vogel.

P.S. Please contact me if you can help Breitenbush protest the clearcutting of its neighboring old growth. Mary Vogel 484-2679.


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