Just after returning home from NY, I headed off again – this time to the West! My family was headed to Holden Village for a week’s vacation. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Holden is a very unique, remote place with a cool history. Formerly a mining village in the Cascade Mountains, it now serves as a Lutheran retreat center (thought Lutheranism is not a prerequisite to visit!). My sister discovered Holden during a January-term course, but during the summers they bring in speakers to lead classes on a wide variety of topics (we were there during interfaith week). In addition to these sessions, there are a number of beautiful trails surrounding Holden to hike, there are art, weaving, and clay studios to create in, there’s a prayer labyrinth, a library, a pool hall, and much more – so basically you can do whatever you feel like!
My family headed there starting off with the Amtrak train from MN to WA – my first true/longish train ride! My dad’s mom, who passed away several years ago, traveled all over the world and loved trains, and we’ve been meaning to do a train trip in her honor. Heading there we went by coach, and on the way back we got little sleeper roomettes. Highlights of the train: meeting and chatting with random people, enjoying the views and playing cards in the observation car, meals in the dining car, and on the way back, the peace/privacy of the roomettes for reading, chatting, etc.
Holden itself was fabulous! I spent a lot of time in the library, both reading and working on jigsaw puzzles. My mom and I also took a calligraphy class called “Justice Journals” that was fantastic! Our instructor, Laura Norton, was really great, and my mom and I both hope to continue pursuing improvement of our calligraphy skills. My whole family attended a number of different sessions, participated in the choir, and went hiking!
Funny enough, my family was originally only counting on doing one big family hike (I wanted to do more), but we ended up doing three big hikes, and my sister and I did some sort of hike every day we were there!
We started with Hart Lake, an exquisitely beautiful setting and a not-too-strenuous hike. We then moved on to Copper Basin, a brutal 2400-foot elevation climb over three miles (aka basically straight uphill, some over loose rock, without any particularly beautiful views along the way to distract you). While the views en route to Copper Basin were not always breathtaking, however, Copper Basin itself was. A beautiful marshy field with rivers running through it, surrounded by mountains, snow just out of reach; it was truly breathtaking.
Finally, we finished things off with Holden Lake, a 2000-foot elevation climb much more mercifully spread out over five miles. This place was lovely, and had really lovely views along the way (though it was rather brutally hot/exposed to the sun on the way back). Overall, Holden Village was a wonderful experience – intellectually-, physically-, socially-, and artistically-enriching.
We arrived home to MN, and a day later my grandparents arrived for a visit from Florida! My grandpa had recently sent me an interesting-looking recipe for a coconut turmeric cake, so I decided to make it in honor of their arrival. It turned out quite well! (My grandpa was very impressed that it actually turned out looking like the recipe’s picture.)
The coconut adds a nice texture to the vegan cake, and the turmeric gives a lovely flavor. As described in the article/recipe (attached below), the reaction of the turmeric and baking powder creates little red flecks in the midst of the golden-turmeric color of the cake, adding to the aesthetic appeal. Overall, a winning recipe I highly recommend you try!