Breathe in Nature Ends with a Trip to Mason Lake

Come Explore a Variety of What You’ve Been Missing!

It’s hard to believe Summer is coming to an end. The kids are heading back to school, Fall routines are taking flight, and just like that, there is a hint of Autumn in the air. It seems like just yesterday we gathered for the first Breathe in Nature adventure back in April. Yet, here we are, arriving for our final adventure of the season. A variety of experiences and high elevations await us for this last and most challenging of hikes. 

Last March when I was first putting Breathe in Nature together I had no idea the impact it would have on the participants, the instructors, or myself. I learned a lot about planning an event outside in the questionable weather of a PNW spring. I didn’t consider people getting sick, and I jumped in without a backup plan. 

Lucky for me, everything and everyone was as delighted as myself just to be in communion with other humans for the first time in over two years. Every event came with its own set of challenges. From heavy rainfall, unexpected last-minute location changes, and even an army of mosquitos! Despite all that it couldn’t break the spirit of this crew. 

It seemed that every adventure came at the right time and attracted exactly who needed to be there. 

Every meetup since April has been building in length and/or elevation, all leading to this final variety pack of experiences that will guide us through an all-day affair. 

Here’s what to expect…

Foraging with a Pro

Mason Lake will be a journey through all the highlights. As we start out on this 7-mile hike we will reflect back to the first time we met in April. It was freezing and wet, but all came to enjoy Alissa Allen and her expert advice on foraging. We even went home with a guidebook and warmed our tummies with some fresh needle soup. 

Although Alissa won’t be joining us for this final retreat, her knowledge will carry on as we talk about foraging mushrooms! What to look for in early fall and when and where to forage. 

Gong Immersion

Jill Mattern was up next in what was supposed to be an outdoor gong bath under the full moon. The forecast had other plans that led to a last-minute indoor move that ended up being a cozy way to let go and open up to the sounds of the gong. Jill stepped in again in June after Jess got sick for another last-minute swap which led me to believe that Jill is one of those amazing humans who can adapt on a dime. And this time it was as intended, and set in the great outdoors.

Both gong experiences were soothing, and on our way up to the Lake On Sunday, Sept. 11th Jill will delight us once more with the sweet sounds of her gong as we take a break to refresh our bodies and minds before moving into the steep switchbacks leading to our destination. 

Photography in Nature

As we trek up the high elevations of the day we will revisit the tips and techniques presented by Matthew Brashears. Using the panoramic views of the climb we will take our time (and preserve our energy) stopping to take photos as we check off some of our favorite perspectives from that educational adventure.

Glacier Dip

Once we crest the high rocky peaks we will begin the descent into the cooler side of the mountain as we walk through lush green lands to arrive at Mason Lake. This stunning lake is surrounded by trees that offer privacy and an inviting atmosphere to jump on in and cool off after a long sweaty incline to get there. 

Lynar Deluca will be there to guide you through another cool dip if you choose. Helping to push you past your limiting perspective and safely guide you out of your comfort zone, Lynar offers great support to help you feel safe in the chilly glacier waters. 

Don’t forget your suits! And yes there will be a private changing station.

Nature Journaling

The amazing Jessica Winters was supposed to join us for a day of nature journaling that never came to pass. That darn covid had other plans for Jessica and the series was forced to move forward without this adventure. 

As we spend time soaking in the sun at Mason Lake there will be an opportunity to pull out your journal and get creative. Drawing, writing, or just reflecting on the day. This is your time to do as you will and you can bet Jess will be back next year to delight us with her wisdom. 

Breathwork, Lunch, and Closure

Breathwork is a huge part of this series and something we’ve done in conjunction with each outing. This will be no different. Along the route, we will practice a variety of breath practices to keep us moving and focused.

Once at the Lake we will do some dynamic circular breathwork to clear our minds and open our hearts. This will prepare you for the chilly water should you decide to get in for a spell. After which we will enjoy our lunches, good conversation, and amazing scenery before making the long haul back down the mountain. 

Here we will close the series for the year. Having a wealth of information to grow from and new friends to cherish. 

If you are interested in joining us there is still time! Here is the link with all the information. We will meet at the trailhead at 8am to beat the crowds, and plan on spending the whole day on the mountain. Returning to our cars, and life around 4pm.

This is a great way to see what you’ve been missing and get an idea of what is in store for Breathe in Nature 2.0 coming next spring. 

See you on the mountain!

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable with a Glacier Dip at Mount Rainier

Experience the Transformative Power of a Cold Plunge with Lynar DeLuca

When was the last time you treated yourself to a day at Mount Rainier? The lustrous mountain that can be seen from almost all points of King County. We live so close, yet can go years without a visit. Join Lynar DeLuca of The Breath Academy, and myself, for a day of exploring the Naches Loop Trail with an added Glacier dip down at Dewey Lake. A day that won’t soon be forgotten. 

There is a reason that this is one of the most popular trails on Mount Rainer: 

  • The stunning views
  • The light elevation gain
  • Wildflowers galore
  • Easily accessible

Every time I find myself here I am captured by the beauty of Tahoma. A stunning reminder of this place we call home and a humbling reminder of how small we really are. 

When you join us on Sunday, August 14th, you too will experience this stunning hike, as well as the added bonus of a trip down to Dewey Lake.

Dewey Lake

This is the most challenging part of the trail and almost doubles the length of the hike from 3.2 to 6 miles in total. The added elevation gain keeps most explorers from traveling down. 

Not us! 

This is the fun part, not to mention the cooling-off part. 

Because we will be starting early, to beat the crowds and enjoy the peaceful morning, we will miss the midday heat. That being said, the trail does have some stretches of full sunshine. Proper sun protection should be considered as well as sturdy hiking shoes for the descent, and climb from the Lake. The summer sun also brings one other element…

Mosquitos!

Lynar and I decided to do a trial run of the event this past week and found to our chagrin that the lake hosted an abundance of tiny (and not so tiny) bloodsuckers. This did not stop us from enjoying our time at the lake, but it did put a damper on our breathwork. Because of this we strongly recommend a mosquito hood for protection as well as lightweight long sleeves and long pant attire. 

Time To Take The Plunge!

Once at the lake the fun begins! Well, I mean besides the army of mosquitos. The hot August sun has warmed this lake, but the melting snow keeps it at a refreshingly cool temp.

Here in this scenic retreat, you will be guided through some circular breathwork. Preparing your mind and body for the refreshing, cold glacier waters.

The breathwork will help to calm your nerves as your adrenaline begins to rise. After which you will have an opportunity to get your suits on, (yes, there will be a private changing space), and take a horse stance with us in the shallow end. As your feet take in the cold your mind will settle into focus. 

Now you are ready to take the plunge. 

Lynar is a 200-hr Certified Yoga Teacher and Breath Coach who has a passion for cold exposure and sharing its incredible benefits with other people. She has been practicing cold dips since moving to Washington almost 15 years ago and has been practicing breathwork for 5 years. Various breath practices have helped her relieve stress and anxiety, while cold exposure has helped her push past the limits of what the mind thinks is possible. 

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for! And your opportunity to get comfortable being uncomfortable. During your 2 minutes submerged in the lake, Lynar and I will be with you the whole time. Breathing, humming, focusing, and guiding you through. Allowing you the time and space to find your inner stillness and come out stronger on the other side. 

After everyone has had an opportunity to feel the power of the cold, we will dry off, get dressed and head back up to the main trail to be rewarded by panoramic views of the mountain. Together we will enjoy some snacks and good conversation before finishing off the loop and heading home. 

Breathe in Nature

If you are looking for something fun to do this August and want to stretch yourself in a powerful way then this is the adventure for you!

This is the 5th installment of the Breathe in Nature series and one that all the members have been looking forward to. There are only a few spots remaining and we would love for you to join us. 

Read more about Breathe in Nature here and join us before it’s too late.

Welcome to the Fantastic World of Nature Journaling with Jessica Winters

Prompts, Benefits, and Joys of Enjoying a Deeper Connection with Your Surroundings

Nature Journaling is a fun and engaging activity that has the potential to strengthen your connection to nature. It is simply the practice of using nature as your muse. A journal dedicated to recording your observations, thoughts, and feelings about what you see in nature. There is no right or wrong way to journal making this activity uniquely your own.

The benefits of time spent in nature are many, and journaling is a way to capture those feelings. The practice of taking time to appreciate the details of the experience not only calms the mind but gives you a deeper understanding of the world around you. 

Little insights add up, and as your recognition of different plants and animals improves so will your understanding of the land you stand on. 

Think of your last visit with nature. What stands out to you? 

  • Morning light shone through the trees to illuminate the forest floor.
  • Two Squirrels arguing over an afternoon treat.
  • The timeless serenity of a glacier lake.
  • Birds singing messages to each other.
  • A decaying log hosting hundreds of tiny orange mushrooms.
  • The roaring sound of a waterfall silencing the world around it.
  • The Cascading snow top mountains.

Nature journaling is a way to recall the subtle observations of these moments that might otherwise be lost. Moments that inspire you and offer a door to creativity or be used as an ongoing scientific adventure that records facts of the date and time taken. The possibilities are endless.

Journaling while in nature is also a reminder to slow down and enjoy the scenery. It’s so easy to forget the beautiful setting we are anchored in and get lost in the aerobic activity of hiking. This mindful activity reminds us to slow down and tune in to the wonderful world around us. 

All journals are essentially an extension of who you are and how you see and interact with the world around you. No two journals will be alike because we all observe from our own perspectives. 

How to Begin

Journalling is about insights and exploring your connection to the world. For some people that might mean drawing, and for others, it might mean writing. You might be more of a tree identifier and I might be more of a mushroom seeker. Nature journaling captures what you see. It’s a way to combine the benefits we get mentally from being in nature and from journaling. 

There is no “how-to” when it comes to this mindful activity because there are so many routes a person can take. Don’t overthink it, just start with what feels most natural to you. 

Here are some ideas to help get your senses to sharpen on the right path for you.

When you’re out on your next nature adventure pay close attention to your observations. 

  • What stands out for you?
  • What’s the weather like?
  • What do you smell?
  • What sounds do you hear?
  • Do you tend to notice critters? Or are you more interested in plants?
  • Are you more of an observer? Or are you a textile seeker?

Starting to note what you are attracted to can make this exercise more inviting and keep you active on the journey. Another way to get started is to think about how you will journal. Here are some ideas if you’re still feeling stuck.

  • Sketching what you see
  • Writing poetry about how the scenery makes you feel
  • Pressing leaves and flowers for data
  • Lists of animals observed
  • Drawings of wild berries 
  • Noticing patterns in the scenery
  • What to forage and when. 

Any way you decide to begin is perfect. It might shift and move as you grow in the practice and that’s perfect too. 

On Sunday, July 10th the Amazing Jessica Winters is going to be guiding a Nature Journaling class as part of Breathe in Nature

The event starts early so we can beat the heat and the crowds as we gather at Lake Desire at 8am. We will start with a short hike and find a place to settle in and breathe in nature: Connecting you to your surroundings and opening your five senses. After which Jessica will take the lead and guide you with queues to help your creative juices flow. 

About Jess

Today, certified by NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute for Wilderness First Aid, Jessica enjoys educating in many ways. As a  yoga teacher, offering wilderness yoga retreats and leading motivational and inspirational mountaineering experiences.

Combining her two loves, yoga and mountaineering, has been life-changing for Jessica. She is a natural-born teacher so sharing these two paths has brought passion to her life. 

Jessica launched her own business, Wilderness Adventure Yoga, and hasn’t looked back since. She is a great organizer of professionals so she can host retreats through places like Alaska and the Grand Canyon.

Journaling in Nature has brought great insight and richness to Jessica’s wilderness adventures. In 2007 she completed the Triple Crown of mountaineering having hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and the Continental divide trail. Her journals of these adventures keep them not only close to the heart but also intertwined into the details. With thousands of miles logged in the Cascade and Olympic Mountains here in Washington as well as across Iceland, and submitted both Aconcagua and Kilimanjaro. 

Jessica has formed her own relationship with her journals as well as the nature that surrounds her and she is still excited about all that this journey uncovers along the way. 

You do not want to miss this unique opportunity to meet Jessica and hear her story as you begin to dive into your own nature journaling experience. 

Ready to sign up? Head over to Breathe in Nature for all the details.