There is much to be excited about Burns Valley Herbals and Retreat this coming year. Even in the midst of this COVID crisis, we are planning and preparing for a beautiful summer filled with amazing opportunities to gather, learn and create!
Brenda is a lover of the earth, and grows medicinal herbs which she blends into teas, steams, soaks and more. Brenda loves to share her knowledge and passion for plants! She is also a huge believer in the power of the earth to heal.
There are so many amazing things to do at Burns Valley! Check out a few things we’ve been up to! Taking hikes, making art, setting up gnome and fairy gardens, playing disc golf, saving a woodpecker that flew into the window, collecting cattails, doing a puzzle, playing board games, hanging out by the fire and cooking! This is the perfect space for my mind, body and soul.
In the summer of 2016 I went on a hiking trip with my dear friend. We hiked the Appalachian Trail starting at PenMar Park in Western Maryland. We hiked south towards Ravens Rock shelter.
Pen Mar Park was owned and operated by the Western Maryland Railroad and had its beginning as far back as 1878. Within a few short years it soon became the “Coney Island” of the Blue Ridge Mountains for the children and remained one of the most famous resorts of its kind for half a century.
At one time the park area supported seven hotels, plus a number of boarding houses. Many families spent their entire vacation on the mountain top. The Western Maryland Railroad found that the excursion business it engendered was most profitable, and in 1898 — twenty years after the park was established — it carried 1,200,900 passengers and over half of these were excursionists to Pen Mar Park. Today, even the Western Maryland passenger service is but a memory.
When we started on our way, a black snake crossed our path. We had already decided before we left that we would both go through this experience with purpose and intention…. in a magickal way. So we both took the snake as a sign.
We hiked for almost 2 miles, through a forest on a hill of rocks. It was a strenuous climb at times…definitely a leg workout. But we finally made it to High Rock Park. I felt like the Indigenous people who lived there were rock jumpers and this was one of their sacred spaces.
North from High Rock Near Pen Mar Park Highfield-Cascade, MD
There is an amazing and ominous feeling at the top of the rock. It feels like you’re standing at the top of a pyramid, looking out over your civilization. It is beautiful and deadly. Last year when we got to High Rock, a teenage boy flipped off the rock above me, flying over me and off the cliff.
Seeing, feeling, experiencing someone fall from a cliff at least 100 feet down is not something you believe you will experience. The people on the cliffs get very brave and risky… it is very slippery because of all the traffic and the graffiti.
Luckily, the next day we looked up incident reports for the area and we found out he was alive. Talk about a significant magickal journey.
So last weekend I and another dear friend of mine went for a hike and started at PenMar. When we started this hiking journey, we just wanted be out in nature… but the universe took me on another magickal journey.
We hiked to High Rock, but it was getting late and we weren’t sure if we’d make it to Ravens Run Shelter before dark so we decided to stay off the Appalachian Trail at High Rock. We set our hammocks up in the pine trees just off to the side of the main cliff. Because we were so close to the cliffs we didn’t really get up to walk around much, and stayed in our hammocks all night.
View facing edge of cliff
View behind me
We laid down for bed around 11pm and there were still groups of kids on the top of the rocks. At 12 o’clock they left and another group drove in right after. The groups were loud and rowdy, some of them even getting into arguments with each other. At one point there was a bear sighted and the group of kids ran to their car and set off their car alarm.
I was ready for bed, I was sleeping in a hammock, I did not want to be involved with anything that was happening 100 ft from me…. but I was scared out of my mind. Every time I heard a persons voice, or someone yell or laugh loudly it startled me.
I had such high anxiety… I knew this was a fight or flight response, triggered by the events that had happened 3 years earlier. I had not processed that energy to release it in a healthy way. I pushed that experience aside, utilizing coping strategies that allowed me to rationalize my emotions so that I did not have to feel them.
This time I sat in the feeling. I sat in the emotion, the physical sensations. I sat with my imagination. I sat with myself.
I sat and listened…. to the world… and to myself. I listened to how I process, and perceive. I listened to where my thoughts wanted to take me. I sat in my shadows.
My imagination and I, battling it out…. all the ways something bad could’ve happened continued to play through my chest, over and over….
In and out, I had to breath and know I was alright, and face my feelings and face the shadows, to see they were of my own making.
And I had to wait until the sun came back up to truly see that my fears were irrational.
Everything was alright, everything turned out just fine.
“#sassafras (sassafras albidum) is a #magical#herb with #antiviral#antibacterial and #antiinflammatory effects, as well as being #antispirochete. This plant has a long traditional use in treating #siphilis which is a #spirochete disease, with the same bacterial structure as #Lyme disease. As a result of that understanding, many herbalist including myself, are exploring this plant in herbal protocols against Lyme. This plant is also the original ingredient in #rootbeer which was actually a #medicinal ferment, far from the toxicity of #soda; in fact, deeply medicinal. The root tastes like root #beer and makes a beautiful tea with #maple syrup added in. The leaves are also what gives gumbo it’s unique #flavor and mucilaginous texture which is also healing to the gut. The leaves dried and powdered is known as #filè powder. As with all plans it is important to consider the importance of regeneration of ecosystems to save the biodiversity of these and other medicines that are right under our #feet. It may have taken 30,000 years or more for the ecosystem to even harbor the ability of these #trees existence, yet it could take an afternoon with a chainsaw to wipe them out entirely. Always consider your place in the #ecosystem how to harvest regeneratively.” Credit to Return To Nature
So I am on the hunt for some sassafras! I will be documenting my explorations and findings!!
July just flew by, and August seems to be following along! I think it might have something to do with all this nice cool weather, or just the fact that ALOT has been going on!
We went on the Steam Into History train ride! It was so much fun! I am going to be doing some art crafts on the train starting in September! It was awesome hearing about all of the history around our new town!
We’ve been hiking a few times on different trails in York County. The La Ho trail was a beautiful hike!
My friend Elizabeth and I went to the Summer Event at The Stone Mill. Oh it was a lot of fun…and its a beautiful place. The owner and I have discussed doing painting parties there! I am so excited!! Its a great opportunity!
This was our view today when we went to Richard Nixon Park. It was a beautiful day for a hike! Landyn and I came to this park with his class on his first field trip….
I realized right away we would have to come back with Element and Theo.
We were going to hike the long trial, but because of the recent storms it was closed. We were still able to hike a few other trails, including the geology trail which was really interesting. They had a self guided brochure about the things that were on the trail. Quartz is everywhere in this area. I wonder if there is a place to go digging for quartz close by. I have want to add something I’ve dug out to my crystal collection…
What a wonderful weekend it has been! I had a great time playing cards with some friends, camping and hiking, and spending time with my family!
We usually travel west to the Appalachian trail…but yesterday we decided to try something new. We headed out to Codorus state park. We have lived in Glen Rock for a year now and have only spent a short amount of time there.
We arrived at the campgrounds around 5pm, and were able to get a tent site but there were only about 3 to choose from. The tent site was $23 for the evening.
Back country camping is more of our thing and Codorus has a “roughing it” loop of sites, but they were all filled. So campsite 13 in loop A was ours for the evening, a large site with lots of space. It’s close to the general store which is a little shed that they use, it’s operated by volunteers. They have a nice selection of things you might have forgotten or ran out of, and they have dark chocolate snickers bars and coke if you need a treat. They also sell wood, a wheel barrel for $10 or bucket for $5.
It was very peaceful last night, after the fireworks. We grilled chicken over the campfire and made Ramen noodles to go with it!
I always find dinner in the woods on a campfire tastes the best. And we enjoyed the darks chocolate snickers for dessert.
When we woke up this morning we packed up and headed for a little hike. The Mary Ann Furnace trail was beautiful. An easy hike with a few hills and water.
We are definitely going to be spending more time at Codorus. Thinking our next adventure will be Kayaking!