“The universe is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to become sharper.”
– Eden Phillpotts
It’s easy to forget how incredibly fortunate we are to call the Northwest home. We miss the forest for the trees, so to speak.
Allow me to remind you of the magic that surrounds you and perhaps you’ll acquire a new lens through which to view your world. To kick this up a notch, I’ll also give you cannabis strain recommendations for both the activity and the recovery to facilitate peak performance and aid in your recuperation.
Let’s explore Antoine Peak Conservation Area, which offers 360-degree views overlooking Liberty Lake and Spokane Valley to the south, and Peone Prairie, Mt. Spokane and the Selkirk Mountain range to the north.
Antoine Peak Conservation Area is a riparian zone, preserving a critical wildlife corridor that connects the Selkirk Mountain range to the Spokane River valley. Large mammals you might spot include moose, elk, whitetail deer and black bear. Cougars also roam this mountainous terrain, but you’re far less likely to encounter them.
Antoine Peak is also part of the Palouse to Pines Loop, the Great Washington State Birding Trail, so be on the lookout for a variety of feathered friends in flight.
The summit trail is accessible from both the east and west, and while the west trailhead offers a more direct and less strenuous route to the summit, I’m a Valley Girl (holla), so I always choose the east trailhead, which zigzags north from Canfield Gulch and up to the summit trail.
Starting from Canfield Gulch, you’ll climb counterclockwise toward the summit junction. The trail on this side takes you past Leland Pond, an ideal wildlife viewing spot, and follows the small streams that make their way to the pond.
Because this side of the peak receives far more moisture than the west side, you’ll be rewarded with a vast array of diverse plant life, including the rare Pacific Yew, whose English cousin is known as “the tree of death” due to its toxicity, as well as lush undergrowth that looks foreign and even a little exotic in Eastern Washington.
Continue your gentle ascent for a few miles until you reach Antoine’s Summit Trail. Follow this trail until you meet what I have dubbed as the ultimate accessory to this hike: The Emerald Necklace.
The Emerald Necklace is a 2.4-mile loop that wraps around the base of Antoine Peak’s summit. This trail is the ultimate accessory, as it boasts dynamic views in each direction.
Notably, this portion of the hike has an entirely different feel, compliments of a staggering variety of flora that thrives off the moist climate of the northern-facing slope.
On our most recent outing, we gorged ourselves on wild raspberries while meandering through this gem of a trail and taking in every view she had to offer.
You can access the summit from the halfway point of the Emerald Necklace, or you can skirt around the base; pick your adventure! As you make your way back down, you can either go the route from which you came, or you can head directly down the old Jeep trail to the east trailhead.
Activity strain recommendation: Blue Dream
This strain features terpenes that will enhance your experience. Pinene is an anti-inflammatory that provides energetic focus. Limonene elevates mood, boosts energy and will heighten your senses. beta Caryophyllene also enhances focus and mood, and Humulene is an appetite suppressant, if you are hiking to aid weight loss.
Recovery strain recommendation: Purple Punch
After your hike, this strain features terpenes to aid your post-hike recuperation. Myrcene is calming, and Terpinolene is relaxing. Linalool provides stress relief. For an overall wellness boost, beta Ocimene is an anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-oxidative.
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