Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Discovery in a Place of My Refuge

Today Mark and I went up to Breitenbush Hotsprings with our friend Becky so she didn't have to go to work.  We dropped her off to get maximum soak time and then we drove back a little ways to make the first of two discoveries early in the day.  It has been my experience that visiting Breitenbush has always led to some type discovery, sometimes intentional, sometimes not.  Sometime inside discovery and change or not.

I've also met wonderful people over the years and a few have developed into friendships.  We met a really nice artist who was so humble and creates wonderful paintings using encaustic mediums and colors. So many interesting people there if choose to be open to their sharing and experiences.  Sometimes I like going there just for the quiet and prefer to soak solitare with the pool all to myself.  Lately an (almost) impossible opportunity which I'll share later about.

For years I had known about the lower Breitenbush springs but had never taken the time to visit them because the Breitenbush Community is so welcoming.  So we decided to go since it's been in my backyard for the past decade and I'm planning on moving out of Oregon.  The hike to the lower springs was really beautiful and well worth the trip.

Unfortunately, from what I understand, visitors can never be sure what they are going to get when they arrive at the actual hotspring.  A party of beer drinking 20-somethings would not do it for me, nor a bunch of people unfriendly or unwelcoming.  I know what to expect when I pay my day-use fee at Breitenbush "proper".

The lower springs are self-managed and unfortunately some people are pigs and it usually is used as a party place, another reason I was never really interested in visiting.  I later learned reading a 1930 newspaper article that there was an entire resort at that location once upon a time.  I think it's a spring that is on a private inholding because if the forest service had anything to do with it I think it wouldn't remain self-managed, such as the implementation of a fee and custodian at Terwilliger (Cougar) down south.
Skiff's Breitenbush Hot Springs, or lower Breitenbush 1962, now it's called the Russian Pool 
Presumably because there are a lot of people of Russian descent that use it - today we had it all to ourselves
I got these old photos from the Oregon Historic Photograph Collections.
Breitenbush Hotsprings Lodge in 1962
The forest continues to preside over it all.  A very healing forest there.
A discovery today at upper Breitenbush.  Maybe a future pool for the communities future development plan.
We had a great day, but there is so many people who want to visit there now.  However, if you ever get the urge to check it out you really should.  It's a place of my refuge ever since I first visited.  I strongly recommend making a reservation at Breitenbush (and make sure you buy lunch or dinner because the food is quite good) or if you don't want to pay anything, just stop at the pullout about a 1/2 km before the Breitenbush Community and hike on down to the lower springs.  Just make sure to bring a few beer cans back with you. 

The Breitenbush geothermal area has been a giver of warmth for thousands of years, it is obviously a very spiritual place to many many people and has been for thousands of years. The European white guys didn't discover it until the late 1800's.  Thank you to the community of Breitenbush for maintaining it for future generations and keeping it accessible for people to visit. Thanks to all the people who have defended the forest there from being cut down in the valley corridor to allow us to walk through old growth and marvel. Thankfully a company in the hotel industry will never have an opportunity to purchase it.

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