“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
– Albert Einstein
Let’s explore the McKenzie Conservation Area! Located on the northwest shoreline of Newman Lake, this riparian zone connects to the Mount Spokane State Park ecosystem, preserving a critical wildlife corridor that links the Selkirk Mountain range to the Spokane River Valley.
Nearly every type of conifer native to the Inland Northwest can be found here, including Douglas fir, Grand fir, Western hemlock, Ponderosa pine, Lodgepole pine, Western white pine, Western red cedar, and Western larch. In the wetlands, you’ll find cottonwood and aspen groves.
The rich diversity of tree species found at McKenzie creates a lush atmosphere for a wide variety of wildlife to make their home, so keep an eye out for signs of white tail deer, elk, moose, coyote, black bear and cougar, painted turtles and frogs in the wetlands, and myriad feathered friends in flight.
Bald eagle nests are easily spotted in the marsh near the lakeshore to the east, aptly named “Eagle Ridge” where you’ll find a wildlife viewing area to take it all in at your leisure.
There are a few different trail options at McKenzie, but my favorite is the Bedrock Ridge/Turtle Rock trail. From the trailhead, take the single track moving south and slightly uphill leading you through a thick second-growth forest where the trail rises and falls before climbing a ridge (Bedrock Ridge) above the lake. You will find massive rock outcroppings that are believed to be ice rafted erratic deposits from the great Missoula floods during the last ice age tens of thousands of years ago.
Here, you will catch your first glimpse of the lake below and of the Selkirks to the north. The trail continues through the forest and drops downhill for about a quarter mile before reaching a fork at lake level. You’ll want to bear left at this fork and make your way toward the lakeshore to Turtle Rock (you’ll know it when you see it). This is a perfect place for a ‘safety meeting,’ and the ultimate spot to admire the extraordinary view of Newman Lake and the surrounding mountains.
When you’re ready to trek back, be sure to check out the native plant garden near the old boathouse on your way to Turtle Ridge trail. This trail will take you through marshy wetlands filled with beautiful aspen and cottonwood trees and back to the trailhead.
Activity strain recommendation: Adrenaline Rush (Blue Zkittlez x Oogie Boogie)
Adrenaline Rush feels exactly the way you’d expect, and pairs well with fresh air, sunshine and adventure. You’ll notice cerebral effects immediately, which will quickly spread throughout your entire body, giving you free-flowing energy. Thanks to ample amounts of limonene, your senses will be heightened, making you keenly aware of the beauty around you; it’s the perfect strain to take on the trail. Terpenes in this strain also include pinene (anti-inflammatory, provides energetic focus), caryophyllene (enhances focus and mood) and myrcene (calming stress relief).
Recovery strain recommendation: Ice Cream Cake (Wedding Cake x Gelato #33)
Ice Cream Cake is a heavy sedative strain that provides full mind and body relaxation to help melt away any tension. Don’t plan to do much after partaking, as you likely won’t feel too industrious! This tranquil state will aid in your recuperation and facilitate a deep reset to wake up refreshed and ready for another adventure. Terpenes include terpinolene (stress/anxiety relief) myrcene, caryophyllene and pinene.
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