To those of us who grew up in the during the horn-drenched, third-wave early ‘90s, the name Skalitude might conjure up visions of a solo dancer, skanking on a deserted club floor, chains swinging in melancholy.
Well forget that image. It’s way off.
Skalitude is in fact derived from a Salish (indigenous Northwestern) word meaning “to be in harmony with nature.” And Lindsey Swope’s Skalitude Retreat definitely aims to get you in line with Mother Earth. Set on 160 acres outside of Carlton, Washington, the retreat looks out into the foothills of the North Cascade mountains and borders the North Cascades National Park. With a three-bedroom lodge, a small cottage, and earth-bermed bunk-house, Skalitude can accommodate anything from a silent solo retreat to reunions for the outside-loving family.
And what exactly does the retreat do for Mother Nature? Skalitude is 100 percent solar-powered. In the future, Lindsey and her husband want to expand their solar-power system so it can handle a new workshop. For now, it manages Skalitude’s energy load (kept low with efficient lights and appliances) just fine. They use composting toilets and non-toxic cleaning supplies. The bunkhouse has a passive-solar design and is tucked into the land for insulation. And the eco-projects continue: Currently, they are setting up a solar-powered bio-filter to keep their pond clean.
Lindsey’s favorite way to connect with the natural world at Skalitude is heading out on The Meadow Loop, a one hour hike with meadow and canyon views. Recommended hikes at Skalitude range from an easy 20 minutes to a full day climb up and down Lookout Mountain. In the winter, there is cross-country and back-country skiing and sledding. In the summer, all that snow melts into the Methow River, creating swimming holes and white-water rafting adventures. There’s always the sauna to greet you at the end of each day and super-clear star-gazing at night. If you need some human interaction, you can go into the nearby town of Twisp, which boasts a farmer’s market, art gallery, theatre, and yoga classes by Lindsey herself.
Come back tomorrow for descriptions of Skalitude’s lodging options and rates!---