It was a cold, yet sunny afternoon as we left Ashland in search of a new adventure at the Green Springs Inn & Cabins, only 15 miles up Highway 66.
The inn is located over the summit and just beyond the Keene Creek diversion pond, which feeds, through an underground canal, the Green Springs Power Plant, located thousands of feet below along Buckhorn Springs Road. This is how waters from the high mountain lakes feed into a Talent Irrigation District canal along the south of the valley, with the balance filling Emigrant Lake.
Our guide was Kim Lewis, who, along with his wife, Ginny, owns Main Street Tours of Ashland. We were accompanied by their playful golden lab, Reilly.
After checking in, we drove through gorgeous firs and pines to our hand-crafted cabins. Each of the five new cabins has been newly constructed this year using timber from the property that had been milled, then dried in a solar kiln on site.
After a quick inspection, of the cabins my fears of spending the night in a yurt and eating gruel with soy sauce quickly vanished.
We parked our luggage in our respective cabins and headed up to listen to a bluegrass jam held in the inn's tastefully designed, wood-crafted, yurt-like public building — sans the soy sauce. The live music is offered on the third Sunday of each month, with Greensprings area locals and those from distant Ashland combining to string us along and tune us in.
We then walked to the inn for dinner, which turned out to be a heavenly surprise. The service was inspiring and the food quite exceptional. The wine list was thoughtfully prepared to match the many diverse offerings.
Sated, we went back to the cabins and more thoroughly inspected the furniture and fixtures, which were all Scandinavian-styled and blended well with the local milled woods and large, natural stone tiled bathrooms. Bounteous decks made for quick access to the propane barbeque and jetted hot tub.
A small wood stove added atmosphere, as electric heaters mounted inside the walls guaranteed that an early morning chill would be mitigated. The dogs were soon respectively passed out in front of the crackles and snaps of a fire that traces us back to the dawn of humanity. Man's best friend has always warmed up to the idea of snoozing in front of glowing embers and the power of man to control the blaze. In return for heat and some kibbles, we get a pet who keeps one eye open day and night.
After a sound night's sleep, punctuated by the hoots of a couple of owls, we headed back to the inn to meet over coffee with the owner and his son, Diarmuid McGuire and Patrick McGuire.
We learned that we were surrounded by the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, an extremely diverse ecosystem of which the McGuires own 145 acres well suited for these cabins and more to be added. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail crosses nearby. Soda Mountain and Pilot Rock are included in the 52,940-acre monument. My private cabin in fact was named Pilot Rock.
During the day, the 10-killowatt solar panels help power the electrical needs, with any extra going into the grid through an intertie. The inn seems to be a community built on a small carbon footprint and frequented by many that appreciate the direction of the property.
Back at the cabin we spent another couple of hours listening to Jefferson Public Radio, surfing the Internet through their Wi-Fi connection and making a couple of cell calls. Otherwise, we thought of Ashland far below and began making plans for our next visit.
We arrived with no expectations and left with a keen eye on the future of our ecosystem, sustainability and appreciation of how to do it right in the monument for the benefit of all.
If you wish to know more, go togreenspringsinn.com or call 482-0614. A cabin and a couple of meals will lift your spirits up the mountain and into a breath of fresh air and inspiration. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, so even a day trip can tempt you into a savory experience while high on the mountain.
The Hyatt Lake Winter Play area is a short drive from there for sledding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails. Kim Lewis and staff provide snow gear rentals, lessons and guided tours by contacting ashland-tours.com or calling 488-7895.
Lance K. Pugh is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Contact him at email@example.com.