“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” ~John Muir, Alaska Days With John Muir, 1915
A few weeks ago I asked my dear friend Nancy, “If we could do anything to celebrate your birthday, what would it be?”
It took her a few days to answer honestly, but she finally asked for what she wanted: an overnight getaway in the adorable little cabins at Hatcher Pass. I passed the word to my friend Janelle, who had a cozy cabin booked within hours.
It turned out to be perfect timing, since all of our husbands were either moose hunting, jetsetting to Seattle for a football game, or working on house projects. So we women packed up our kids and cars and headed for the woods.
The Hatcher Pass cabins are rustic in all the right ways. There isn’t running water, but they are heated, dog-friendly, and surrounded with bucketloads of blueberry bushes:
The first night we explored the trails around Independence Mine:
That evening we ate dinner at the Lodge. I’m not a fondue fan, but apparently it was incredible. The kids played board games at the table next to us, which gave the moms time to chat the night away. We walked back to the cabin and celebrated with homemade peanut butter pie, and Nancy took the kids for their first sauna experience. I made up crazy stories to help the kids fall asleep, but unfortunately they put the moms out first!
The next day we hiked the April Bowl trail. If you’ve never done it, you should. Look at this scenery!!
As we neared the lakes, we were dusted with the first snowflakes of the year. It was surreal to watch them float down from the blue sky above, gracefully swaying and landing softly upon us. It felt like the mountain was happy to host us for those brief moments, and perhaps even blessing our winter ahead. Washing our spirits clean, as Muir predicted.
Nancy and the kids kept going past the lakes, all the way to the top of Hatch Peak:
We left with a happy boy,
A tired dog,
And a little girl’s best hike ever:
Not to mention this little girl’s first hike all by herself:
Things did get a bit chilly on the way down… almost there Maggie!
It turns out that Nancy’s request for a night in the woods was a gift to us all. We traveled a mere hour from our front porches, and only spent one night. We focused on our children, our friendships, and the inspirational scenery around us.
Our getaway was brief, but Muir’s words still rang true:
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 off like autumn leaves.
~John Muir, Our National Parks, 1901