Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Secret Garden at Belknap Springs

On the banks of the glacier-cold Mckenzie River
in the Cascade Mountains of my BEAUTIFUL state of Oregon,
we found a 100+ year old resort at the site of a natural hot springs.
Belknap Hot Springs is full of a peaceful, vibrant energy.
It invited us to walk and inhale scents down to our toes and warm our bodies,
floating on the most bouyant hot mineral water you've ever rested in.
A bridge over the rushing river carried my son and I
away from our camping spot one early morning
As we crossed the bridge we saw the steam from the hot springs trickling down the hillside and could almost make out the hissssss at it hit the icy waters...but not quite, because the river was rather loud as it rushed past us.

We were enchanted by the wall of vines,
and felt the humidity in this spot like a blanket over our skin.
We followed a very pleasant but unassuming little path straight into the forest
and expected nothing more than a little jaunt through the cedars and pines.

But upon turning the first corner, we knew this wasn't like any forest walk we'd been on.
It began with little bridges over creeks and pools.
Further along, we found spots like this one above...I bowed here and said a prayer of thanks,
quietly touching my cheek to the Japanese Maple here...
My breath caught in my throat when we went around a dark,
cobbled corner and found this gateway...
Here is what greeted us...
A page from the past was flashing before my eyes...
All the light and bright
of the greens in every single hue and shade and shadow and brightness,
dotted with spots of brilliant mango-blush reds and exotic-sunset purples
The air was fresh and everything was dewy,
I washed my face in the dew caught in the leaves of the Lady's Mantle here.
I breathed it in, but could not close my eyes.
No other soul was around, and we were enchanted.
I could imagine people quietly murmuring in their togas walking to and fro,
in this Ancient Greco-Romanesque Temple Garden. It was both fascinatingly familiar,
and unknown to me. I've never quite felt anything like it before.
The natural creek had been diverted and sent on all these reflecting pools and around the center dias, back off the other side through the huge moss-covered boulders. We could hear it quietly draining through them and off into another pool on the other side of the high walls.

I would happily spend an entire day in this garden lying on the grasses and listening to the little waterfalls here and there and the bumble bees in the roses and watch the spiders spinning their webs. There was a very clear feeling of a place that is not entirely neglected, but has a sort of "aloof-elite" feeling...very airy and whispery in here...

There were big wonderful moss-covered "stone" tables and benches in one portion and I was imagining myself spending much time here journaling and photographing every nook and cranny.
I dream of going back and spending more than one night here!
We never did actually get to explore the Oregon Caves, as our littlest one was a tad too short for their specifications, so that was a big bummer, but maybe next year!


Christine Crocker said...

all of Oregon is beautiful beyond words...but I didn't know such a beautiful place existed so close to home.

I'm glad you were all able to experience such a magical place.

I can't wait to hear all about your trip.

Laura said...

What an enchanting hideaway. I could imagine myself there touching all the moss-covered stone, sitting under the pillars and drinking in the fragrance of solitude and beauty. It would definitely be a 'must return to' on my list.


JFKlaver said...

Oh my goodness! A slice of Heaven on earth. These are beautiful and, yes, enchanting. Thank you for filling my Sunday evening with beauty.

Barefoot from Heaven said...

What a tresure you've found. Looks like Heaven on Earth to me.
Hugs Dagmar
And the sound of the water is so relaxing.