Author Archives: Tracy

Stehekin, town of 50

Kayaking Lake Chelan Near Stehekin

Kayaking Lake Chelan Near Stehekin

At the north end of 55-mile Lake Chelan is a super remote tiny town called Stehekin with about fifty year-round residents. The stunning and tranquil scenery will stay with you for a long time. Who needs therapy when you can visit Stehekin.

You can’t get there from here

You can only get to Stehekin by hiking in via the Lake Shore Trail, your boat or the Lady of the Lake ferry.  And also by float plane (hundred bucks each way). It is 55 miles up lake from the small town of Chelan, Washington.  I’ve taken a ski boat and slowed down around some cliffs forty miles up it. There are petro glyphs on the huge slabs along the lake. They are so old from what I’ve researched that we do not even know how far back they were inscribed or by what indigenous peoples. Let’s just say they are old and this adds to the mystery.

And it’s a place so remote that the autocorrect on my Microsoft word wants to give me other options. There are no roads to it or from it that go anywhere except to the end – where there are a few remote cabins. And camp on your own via trails farther out of the town.

A place so remote they only got telephone service five years ago. And I don’t think they were jones-ing to get it. But it helps in emergencies.

stehekin-3Hi I’m Larry, and this is Darryl and this is my other brother Darryl

I’ve been there a few times. It’s nestled up against the mighty north cascades that divide the state between climates. In February I did a weekend snow shoe trip there with friends. The two hour ferry ride drops you in the town of Stehekin. You head up to one of the buildings to check in (rented an A-frame that sleeps six). We ask where we can rent the snowshoes. The woodsmen motifed clerk tells us we need to go to the building next door to rent the shoes. We walk over to the second building and see it’s the same clerk who checked us in has walked over to the 2nd building. He says “Can I help you?” I said yes you just told us to come over here to get our snow shoes. He asks us our name all over again and acts like he’s never seen us in his life even though he checked us in not five minutes prior. Ever watch Newhart in the 80s? Maybe you’ll understand the Darryl reference: http://youtu.be/TN6UAzYY8qg

Catch of a glimpse of white mountain goats

Catch of a glimpse of white mountain goats

We get our shoes and are told that a bus (turns out to be a really old bus) will give us a ride a few miles up the trail and drop us off to the snowshoe trail.

A couple hours later we stand in front of the lodge and the old bus pulls up. It’s the clerk from the check in and the snow shoe rental that is driving the bus. He says hello and asks where we’re from. We tell them who we are again and that he’s checked us in and that he rented show shoes to us.  He looks blank-faced and drives us a couple miles up. We’re dropped off at a trail in the middle of nowhere and the bus turns around since its at the end of nowhere. The wilderness is amazing.

See it by float plane

See it by float plane

So, what do you do when you get to Stehekin?

  • You don’t have to do anything; if you want you can just take it all in.
  • You can hike trails of varying skills. Easy to bun burner.  Snow shoe, cross country ski, fish, boat.
  • Relax, have an adult beverage on a lawn chair.
  • Check out more on Rainbow Falls.
  • Seek out wildlife. It’s there. Though bear sightings are frequent. And once a mama mule deer almost danced on my back when I unknowingly got too close to its fawn.

 

 

 

The Pinnacles

Peshastin Pinnacles State Park

Peshastin Pinnacles State Park

Peshastin Pinnacles State Park

On Route 2 in tiny Peshastin, Washington is a small park called Peshastin Pinnacles State Park.

I call this area the land of milk and honey. Its breathtaking views of the Cascade Mountains, the lower blonde and arid hills beneath it and the fertile farms featuring vineyards of fruit and vines is something out of a fairy tale.

The interesting thing about Pinnacles is as you are driving by (or floating by on the Wenatchee River) you see these jagged spires in rows protruding out of the blonde treeless mountains. It is almost as if the don’t belong. And they are reminiscent of a salmon run and the jaggedy spires are like a stream of them in a line coming down a hill.

What the hike is like

After only ten minutes of hiking up the Pinnacles the views once again are completely breathtaking. How many hikes can you go on that in ten minutes you get an amazing view? Not all of them. As I continue my hike up I see a group of rock climbers. They use the rock spires to train on in preparation for their bigger endeavors.

tp-pinnacles1

Short hike. Amazing views.

A hiker on the trail points out that water is trickling out of one of the spires. Which seems out of place in this arid section we’re hiking. He tells us that the native Americans use to have a lookout for enemies in the Pinnacles. They chose it because there was a sustainable water source for them and they could hide out there for long periods of time. Seems there is a spring under the spire and it was coming out of a crack in rock about twenty feet above us.

The hike is moderate. By no means difficult. And in about thirty minutes you are at the top of it. You still have the rest of the day to do what you want.

 

The Pinnacles

  • You can park at the park for $5 or use your Discovery Pass.
  • Start early in the day. You cannot conceive how quickly it gets blistering hot by late spring.
  • You can hike it nearly year round.
  • If you go on a Saturday be prepared to share the hike with boy scouts and church groups and rock climbers.
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