Tag Archives: Lake Chelan

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.




Lunch with a Cougar

View from the top of the Lake Chelan Butte

View from the top of the Lake Chelan Butte

I spend a lot of time in beautiful Lake Chelan. A 55 miles mile long lake that follows the eastern side of the Cascade Mountain range about three hours from Seattle. It’s said to be the fourth deepest lake in the United States right behind Lake Tahoe. The roads stop following the lake about 25 miles up it. From there the only way to see the rest of it is by boat. To me it’s the most beautiful lake in the world. I see big horn sheep, mountain goats, mule deer, osprey and eagles on many of my visits. And a few people out to enjoy the pure beauty of it.

There is a small mountain called the Chelan Butte that is directly behind a condo I stay in. “The Butte” as we call it is known for hosting world hang gliding competitions. At 3835 feet it’s a modest mountain. Maybe even classified as a hill? The Chelan Butte road traverses up the mountain, the pavement ends and then turns into a primitive one lane dirt road to the top.


One of many nice hikes around Lake Chelan

And I call it a hike but I’m really following the road up the mountain until it meets a service road used utility workers looking for access to a cell tower at the top of it. I walk up the butte road every chance I get. Breathtaking views and the incline makes it a real bun burner.

On a crisp Sunday morning Last October me and my husband ventured out to hike up the butte. For the most part, the wildest creature I’d come across on the hike was a harmless gopher snake.

Things were about to get interesting.

About forty minutes into the hike my husband had advanced ahead of me a little. He was about 10 yards ahead of me when I heard a deep long growl of a cat in the tall grass next to the dirt road.

I halted in my tracks and held my breath so I could focus on what I thought I heard. A second growl came from the grass a few feet away from me. I called to my husband “Mike, I was just growled at.” He ran back to me and said you’re kidding. I said No. We stood there and heard another low deep big growl.  I turned to him and said “RUNNNN”. We bolted down the hill like Olympians and did not look back.

Oh yes. I was growled at by a cougar.

Cougars have really large territories. I think sometimes we think just because a place has a small population and a road going through it that we’re safe from wildlife encounters. Not so much.


Untitled Document