Friday, May 15, 2009

The Lady of the Lake Takes You To Stehekin On Lake Chelan

Stehekin is a village in Washington. A very isolated village. The only way to get to Stehekin is to hike in, boat in or land in the water in a float plane.

Stehekin is at the north end of 55 mile long Lake Chelan, inside North Cascades National Park.

A few years ago a group of friends and I took the Lady of the Lake to Stehekin. The Lady of the Lake is one of 2 large passenger boats that take people to Stehekin. It's a big deal when the boats arrive, sort of like it is when a cruise ship docks.

We stayed at the National Park Lodge. My room was huge. The other's rooms where not quite so huge. I was accused of somehow getting myself a better deal. To soothe those feelings I granted access to the large bath tub in my bathroom. Well, actually it was more that the use of the tub was demanded by one very opinionated female in the group.

The night before sailing to Stehekin we stayed at the Wapato Point Village Inn in Manson. The inn was near one of the Lady of the Lake's boarding docks. It was a bit of a rush in the morning getting to the dock. We thought we were at the right location, but the correct dock was a couple blocks away. Four of us had bikes. I somehow wrenched my back in the rush to the dock. I was in backache mode the rest of the trip. But still had a great time.

Upon arrival in Stehekin, soon after checking in, we had our first surprise. A bear in a tree. This was to be the first of seeing too many bears to count. Later that first day we pedaled to see Rainbow Falls and discovered the long ago abandoned Buckner Orchards, where dozens of bears were eating apples.

In Stehekin the food options are the Stehekin Lodge Restaurant and the Stehekin Lodge General Store. Breakfast was had daily at the Lodge Restaurant. They were good breakfasts. But up the road 1.7 miles there is the Stehekin Pastry Bakery. Best bakery ever. Plus they had other non-bakery type items, like pizza. I lost track of how many times we visited this bakery. I was sent back on an emergency run for more goods before we boarded the Lady of the Lake for the 4 hour return to Manson and Chelan.

But, even better than the Stehekin Bakery was the Stehekin Valley Ranch. You have to make reservations and pay 2 bucks for the 9 mile ultra bumpy, ultra fun bus ride up the valley to the ranch. I'll copy my description of the bus ride and part of my Stehekin Valley Ranch descpription from another webpage I made about Stehekin....

"At one point when we hit some enormous bumps, Durango saw at least 2 feet of air between his butt and the seat . The back pain was excruciating. Arriving at the Ranch we didn't really know what to do. No one tells you anything. We walked inside the cookhouse, or whatever it was called. There were people in line for what looked like a buffet! We got in line. After loading up on food you sit at long wooden tables in a cozy room with sawdust for flooring and a huge fireplace blazing, upon which coffee brewed. The food was very good, the atmosphere was fun. We all liked it. A lot."

That's true, we did like it a lot, so much so that we returned to the Stehekin Valley Ranch every night we were in Stehekin.

Click here to read the entire store of our Stehekin Adventure, with more pictures.

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