Rite of Passage Journeys wilderness programs take place in some of the most beautiful places in the Pacific Northwest. Our backpacking programs start and end at our basecamp at Songaia CoHousing Community in Bothell, Washington and take place on the Olympic Peninsula and in the North Cascades.
The Olympic Peninsula
The Olympic Peninsula is in the northwest corner of the state of Washington (the Evergreen State). Within it are a national forest and a nearly one million-acre national park. Roads provide access to the outer edges of the park, but the heart of the Olympic Peninsula is wilderness; a primeval sanctuary for humans and wild creatures alike.
It is a unique geographic province consisting of five major landscape settings: temperate rain forest, rugged mountain terrain, large lowland lakes, cascading rivers, and saltwater beaches. Its diverse ecosystems are home to a remarkable variety of plants and animals.
From tiny unique flowers on icy peaks to sea stars in foaming tide pools, numerous species find refuge in the sanctuary of the Olympic Peninsula. Geology, climate, isolation, history and sheer size mean it protects relatively intact ecosystems, making it a priceless living laboratory.
Influenced by mountains and sea, the Olympic Peninsula has a wide range of climate conditions.
About twelve feet of rain falls each year on the west-facing valleys, sustaining the temperate rain forest. The east side of the mountains lie in a "rain shadow" with only 25 inches of annual rainfall and much dryer conditions.
Like everything else about the Olympic Peninsula, the weather is extremely variable, from season to season and place to place. Overall, the Olympic Peninsula has a moderate marine climate with pleasant summers and mild, wet winters. Summers tend to be fair and warm, with high temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees F. July, August and September are the driest months, with heavier precipitation during the rest of the year.
North Cascades National Park
The North Cascades National Park is in the upper western portion of the state, located on the edge of the Canadian Border. It is known for jagged peaks, deep valleys, many glaciers (over 300 glaciers - representing 1/3 of those remaining in the lower 48 states) and miles of quiet and solitude. The North Cascade National Park is currently recognized as one of the best and untouched National Parks for visits with only about 400,000 visitors per year in comparison to Olympic National Park’s approximately 4,000,000!
The Northern Cascades are among the youngest mountain areas in the world and their geological form is still actively taking shape. Water is an important part of the park system. Small trickles from glaciers collect into raging rivers located in valleys of Hemlocks, Cedars and Douglas Firs. Up above the valley on rocky ridges one may only find a few lichens, insects, birds, and piles of snow.
There are few places we can go that are as untouched and majestic as the North Cascades. We feel fortunate to have them so close to our home.
Basecamp: Songaia CoHousing
The office and basecamp for Journeys are at Songaia, a cohousing community in Bothell, Washington (near Seattle). Some of the workshops we offer also take place here, as do the seasonal sweat lodges. Songaia is a close community of families and friends. It combines private housing with shared community resources. It is located in a semi-rural area on 11 acres of wooded hillside, gardens, orchard, and meadow. You are welcome to read more about it by clicking here.
The shared community life at Songaia is very active. Members gather frequently for meals, singing, work parties, celebrations, men's and women's circles, and social activities. The connections create a strong network of caring friends and neighbors, and is a safe, supportive environment where children, elders, and families of all types live lightly on the land.
EXPLORE OUR PROGRAMS
Our summer youth programs, for ages 8 – 18, help young people navigate the journey from childhood to adulthood in a supported, mentored way.
Our adult programs, for ages 18 and older, grew out of the strong need we saw to guide adults through their own rites of passage — for transition does not end at age 18.
These programs foster the presence necessary for authentic connections, which are essential in our relationships with all beings.