"Yeah, that Dottie is a trip."

Curious foragers rejoice! The mysterious world of mushrooms awaits to be explored at the first-ever Beyul Mushroom Retreat taking place Aug. 12-15.

Situated along the Frying Pan River at the historic Diamond J Ranch, attendees will spend three days and four nights celebrating the wonders of wild mushrooms on Beyul’s private 32 acres of pristine alpine terrain.

“The Frying Pan River Valley is the best wild mushroom foraging in the country outside of the Pacific Northwest,” said Reuben Sadowsky, Beyul’s co-founder. “As we saw last summer, the amount and the diversity and variety is really incredible. And we’re having another very wet summer up here.”

Founded in November 2020, Beyul (a Tibetan word for “hidden lands”) is an expansive retreat center where art, music, culture, adventure and education intersect to create a restorative and inspiring communal environment. On the property’s private trails and riverfront, guests can partake in many cherished Valley pastimes such as fly fishing, horseback riding and backcountry skiing before decompressing in the handcrafted sauna.

Employing many Valley residents, including Abby Stern, Beyul’s co-founder, and managers James Gorman, Ashley Meyers, Hayden Dudley and Barrett Hartley, Beyul creates a genuine local’s experience.

“Almost all of us are longtime Valley locals, and we’ve done a lot of community organizing over the years,” Sadowsky said. “It’s really exciting to now have a place that opens new and diverse culture and demographics to this area, and vice versa. To share the gifts of Aspen, Glenwood Springs and the Roaring Fork Valley with a wider audience, that’s really the point — to have a bi-lateral fulcrum of information, community and culture.”

Having a strong understanding of the community’s needs, the team recognized that mushroom foraging has gained in popularity, and it was time for an in-depth retreat.

“We are all mycophiles. We love mushrooms and we love mycelium and learning about what it can do for the planet and our bodies and the soil,” Sadowsky said. “We realized that everyone wants to go find mushrooms and everyone gets excited about the pictures you see, and we want to do it safely.”

Partnering with local mycologist Hamilton Pevec of Hamilton’s Mushrooms Extracts, the retreat features a strong educational component.

“A large amount of credit goes to our friend Hamilton,” Sadowsky said. “I would call him a local mushroom guru and aficionado. He has his own extraction company, and he makes really amazing medicinal mushroom powders that you can buy from a few places in the Valley.”

Pevec, who will be guiding guests in the art of mushroom tincturing, joins an impressive itinerary full of lectures, experiential demonstrations and invigorating dialogue. Notably, the retreat will host three of the world’s top mycologists: Christopher Hobbs, herbalists and author of “Christopher Hobbs’s Medicinal Mushrooms: The Essential Guide”, David Arora, author of “Mushrooms Demystified” and “All the Rain Promises and More”, and Peter McCoy, co-founder of Radical Mycology and author of “Radical Mycology: A Treatise on Seeing & Working with Fungi”.

Bringing a groundbreaking level of expertise to the retreat, the mycologists will present on topics including medicinal mushrooms, appropriate identification and foraging techniques, mushroom cultivation and a mycoremediation demonstration.

Well-known permaculturist Ryan Rising will also make an appearance as he leads a tincturing workshop and speaks about social permaculture.

According to Sadowsky, the retreat offers plenty of downtime for guests to meander the trails and river, and to nourish their bodies with forest-to-table culinary experiences prepared by Beyul’s on-staff chef. While mushrooms will most certainly be on the menu, Sadowsky said that Chef Dudley will be preparing nutrient-dense meals using produce and meat sourced from nearby farms.

“It is our hope that people come here, reset their nervous system and stack on new education and new tools that they will hopefully bring back to their community,” Sadowsky said. “It really is a community operation, and a local one at that. We’re up here for the long haul. We know that the different programming that we do will reach different people, but we want — and, for our success, need — our local community to come up here and check it out.”

For more information about Beyul’s Mushroom Retreat, and Beyul’s other retreats and events offered throughout the four seasons, visit www.beyulretreat.com