Walking the Labyrinth at Harmony Hill
Harmony Hill is perched just above the southern part of Hood Canal in Union. It is a retreat center started 25 years ago, growing from a small lodge to a campus with a large garden, greenhouse and meeting hall. Its primary mission is to provide support for people with cancer and their caregivers through free retreats and workshops. But it is a welcoming place for anyone who desires a tranquil place for reflection. There is an incredible sense of peace here. On a clear day, the Olympics dominate the sky above the water.
We had been to Harmony Hill several times but this was our first trip by bus. One of the things about this trip was our awareness of the different vantage point of bus travel. High up, we could see more of the scenery. Our first stop in Union was the Union Square Deli on Dalby Road. This was just a short jog off Route 106 and the driver insisted on dropping us off to save us an uphill walk. We had a great lunch at the Union Square Deli. It’s clearly a meeting place for the local residents. We then walked down the hill and along Route 106, passing Alderbrook Resort, before turning up the winding drive to Harmony Hill.
We met with the staff briefly and got a tour of the brand new annex containing three wonderful new private rooms for overnight guests.
Our intention for this trip was to walk the labyrinth. Labyrinths are a single but complex path that leads you on a circuitous path to the center and out again. There are no dead ends and no short cuts. You just have to have faith that following the path will lead you out again. It is thought to enhance right brain activity and is often used as a form of meditation. The path is outlined by shells-mostly oyster shells no doubt from Hood Canal but there were clearly shells from the east coast.
We had explained to the driver that took us to Union that we were touring by public bus. There are no designated bus stops on rural routes and we asked him about catching the returning bus to Shelton. He suggested we find a place where the bus can pull off the road. We agreed that a good spot would be the parking area for the Cameo Boutique and Wine Shop. He also suggested that we call Mason Transit to let them know to look for us. We caught the 3:15 bus back to Shelton, and then headed back to Olympia.
When we planned the trip, we decided we would take the bus all the way to Belfair–the last stop for bus #2– to see that part of Hood Canal. We passed Twanoh State Park, which would make a great destination for a summer bus trip. It is also possible to catch a connecting bus to Bremerton Ferry from Belfair but our plans took us back to Union, so we got back on the bus after the 30 minute lay-over. But a trip to Bremerton is now on “to do” list.
How to get there:
Olympia Transit Center: catch the Mason Transit Authority bus # 6 to Shelton Transit Center (note: the driver said she picks people up along Harrison Ave if you flag her down)
Transfer to Bus # 2 to Belfair
Along route 106, catch bus #2 to Shelton.
Shelton Transit Center: catch the Mason Transit Authority bus # 6 back to Olympia.
Check website for exact schedule:
Mason Transit Authority: http://masontransit.org/
Cost: $ 1.50 each way, Total $3 round trip
Note: Buses within Mason County are free.
Harmony Hill, 7362 E. State Rout 106, Uninon 95592 phone: 360-898-2363
Union Square Deli, 310 East Dalby Road. (360) 898-3354
Cameo Boutique & Wine Shop, 6871 Washington 106, (360) 898-3200