Lake Chelan is nestled in the deepest gorge in North America. The lake extends 55 miles and less than 2 miles in width, with depths over 1500 feet. At its deepest point Lake Chelan drops to 400 feet below sea level. Fed by 27 glaciers and 59 streams is is known as one of the most scenic in the pacific northwest.
Our trip today is to take the Lady Of The Lake II, 55 miles to the Stehekin Community, which is at the very end of the lake. With a four hour boat ride ahead of us we quickly settled in, with comfortable inside seats and out of the crisp morning air. I was very surprised how smooth of a ride this 100 foot vessel was, even in some pretty rough water it was always comfortable. After it warmed up we went to the top level of the boat and to the outer deck. Lots of seating and views of the mountains were indescribable. We were advised about this time in the journey by our Captain to be on the lookout for mountain goats, longhorn sheep and yes possibly a bear, they had my attention. We made four stops along the way to either pick up additional passengers or let them off. Lots of backpackers, getting on and off heading for the vast trails along the water’s edge. One thing quite nice is they have a system designed for hikers to hike from tent to tent without having to carry so much gear.The large outfitters tents include cots, wood stove, cooking utensils, chairs and tables. You do need to bring your own food. This place is so Hannah, I can just envision her backpacking here, she would never come home.
We have now arrived in Stehekin, just beautiful, so quaint and peaceful, because the only way to get here is by boat, so it’s quiet. The few cars and busses that are here had to be barged up the lake. We have a scant 90 minutes to explore so we paid $3.50 each to ride the cutest bus two miles to the famous Stehekin Pastry Company. What an amazing restaurant, the food and pastry just incredible. We shared a bowl of the soup of the day (tomato, chickpea ) and a ton of organic vegs. We should have shared the Turkey panini, with avocado,bacon,pickled carrots,lettuce,jack cheese with a chipotle mayo sauce on a homemade ciabatta bun. So darn good, we could only eat half of our sandwiches.Luckily we had a small ice chest and could take home for dinner. I will admit we also had to get a cinnamon roll, raspberry scone and 1, just 1 raspberry twist. We had to take these back to the RV for a later sampling. Oh and for the record-they were so good!!!. We then headed by foot down the roadway to explore the beautiful area and try to work off that lunch.. On the way down there was a organic buckner orchard, unbelievable cabins that made you never want to leave. We arrived back at our boat just in time to board and take the 4 hour return trip. This time I did see a herd of long horned sheep standing on top of a granite rock. Nice ending to a very special day. Don’t forget your binoculars as you never know what you might see.
The Lady Chelan Boat trip for two totalled $81.00 round trip Well worth it.
My recommendation would be to take the Lady of the Lake boat ride to The Stehekin Community and stay overnight for at least two nights if not more. We ran out of time and did not get to see Rainbow falls, Imus Creek nature trail,the north cascades lodge, Stehekin Valley ranch, famous house that Jack built and much more. You can bring your own bike on the boat for $27.00 round trip or they also have bikes rentals. If you stay in one of the cabins they literally give you a car to use, ok maybe an old truck but who cares.
http://www.ladyofthelake.com for reservations and information call 509-682-4584
Cheers from JUST AROUND THE BEND
One more thing as we were riding on the back of the boat on the top level we had a bat literally land on deck. He had to be humanely removed by a crew member. Here’s a picture of the bat.Yikes