Tucked away in the Oregon Cascade Mountains lies Breitenbush Hot Springs. I’ve been going there mostly every winter for over 25 years for a getaway with friends and sometimes solo. It is an intentional, off-grid community dedicated to living in harmony with nature and providing nurturing experiences to its guests.
In 2020 a catastrophic wildfire tore through the area. Through massive efforts, Breitenbush is being rebuilt. I just returned from a two-day stay there with a friend.
Breitenbush Rising The fire left a mosaic of green among black surviving trees standing proud above layers of ferns, mossy rocks, and the glossy red leaves of Oregon grape I recognize familiar voices chickadees, nuthatches, crows, and jays busy among the treetops as squirrels scamper below Thanks to the bravery of a few souls the stately lodge remains standing the meals served there are still ample, still delicious with nary a scrap of meat The stone-lined pools in the meadow and the hot tubs down the hill offer respite to the body as they always have their hot minerals sinking deep into muscles and soul We sleep in new lodgings in the spot where forested rows of boxy brown cabins once stood and mice once played in the heart of night The river still flows with vigor a roar of rapids over stones unconcerned of the surrounding devastation a vein of life in a wounded land its soft breeze on my cheek reminding me that life goes on no matter how much pain we endure the landscape has changed as have we destruction and rejuvenation stand side by side as the earth's heart beats strong and steady beneath our feet It’s good to be back