Sunday, August 12, 2012 6:30 a.m. Reporting from The Lodge, the Village
I cannot resist my early morning coffee, the lake is like glass, it is so still.
We are all returning with some sun, although without burns, and a few misquito bites, spider sightings, and bear countings, up to nine thus far!
The Village is quiet, reflection of late Saturday night for some. I hear a motorboat now, the day is starting. . .
Breakfast at the Lodge:
Meatlovers omelet, yogurt parfait for Alanna with a side of toast and hashbrowns. Hotcakes for Paula, coffee, of course.
Noon, all loaded, ready to cast off. Clear sailing, the lake a little choppy compared to the glass of this morning, earlier. The girls are singing, I love to see the interaction between them, the fun, and Paula’s smiles and giggles.
Stopped at a fruit stand after landing, on the way back, and another stop at Mineral Springs, the restaurant, for grilled ham and cheese and ice cream sundae, something for everyone all around so no one goes home hungry!
August 11, 2012 Reporting from our cabin at The Ranch
Ahhh. . . .
The kids are all snuggled still in their beds, the hearthfire is blazing, the coffee is hot! Blueberry hotcake is coming. . . . .time to wake those girls up! Blueberry pancake, egg over hard, coffee, coffee, coffee! Bacon and a little hashbrowns. Alanna with her omelet, Paula with her hotcakes, multi-grain, they grind everything here for them! Between here and the Stehekin Bakery, you are getting some good stuff!
OK, things are set with the girl’s raft trip today and dinner here. Should be fun and a great way of ending a wonderful vacation. Another night in the Village at the Lodge, and the fast boat, the Lady Express, back to Fields Landing.
Five days in the area – Alanna loved it, Paula ready for some adventure after a day off – she’ll feel better after her raft ride today. Got our souvenirs, except for Paula, oh, a stuffed pony!
Speaking of stuffed animal! For dinner, six ounce steak, blueberry pie, salad, baked potato, sesame bread, salmon and fixings for the girls.
What a day! Outdoor fun for all, ending up with a great supper at the Ranch, and a complementary bus ride back to town. Stargazing being held tonight by the post office in the Village. Alanna will go and enjoy the evening and see the Milky Way and the meteor shower. She also attended the Forest Service talk about Man Mimicking Nature.
It is the stillest night thus far, no breeze off the lake, but managing to be not quite so hot anyway.
Morning breakfast! Hotcakes with blueberries, eggs and omelets, french toast, biscuits and gravy, oatmeal, coffee off the hearth fire, LOVE IT!
I had egg, bacon, blueberry pancake, coffee, hashbrowns with a little gravy.
Stehekin Valley Ranch offers horseback riding into the mountains using sturdy, steady, and reliable Fjord horses. You have your choice of a longer, fourteen mile ride starting in the morning after breakfast. Pack up a lunch off the “adventure buffet” to take with you! Or you can have an afternoon ride up to Coon Lake, back in time for dinner!
Today, a day of relaxation for us until Alanna goes for her horseback ride at 2:30. I built in a day of downtime for myself. . . .r&r, vegging, also for Paula, may take a walk, but nothing for sure except feet up! Ahhh. . .i’m just going to sit today, listen to the leaves rustle, and the river flow. . . .The sun is up, bathing the meadow with light. A cool morning breeze to head off the heat of the day.
I hear a plane overhead, there are tours on the seaplanes to take you over the high ridges, as well as in and out of Stehekin, on our list for a future trip? Mmmmm, whatever they are cooking, mmmmm, it is drifting over our way! Lunch in an hour! Just a hair-in-a-ponytail, no makeup, relaxing kind of day!
Lunch! Hamburgers all around, fresh apple, lemonade.
I walked over to the stables with Alanna. She was assigned her friendly horse, and she spent a few minutes getting acquainted before getting some safety tips and mounting up. I waved her off on her adventure!
Back at The Ranch, Paula and I hang out, reading and napping. I dozed, listening to the buzz of flies and bees, usual summer companions!
The cowbell rings for dinner at 5:30 sharp! Barbeque chicken, cornbread slathered in butter, black beans, red potatoes with gravy, salad with coleslaw and all the fixings. Paula got in and out of the pie line with impeccable timing! Alanna and I are still waiting, then decided to jump in! Alana had half carrot cake and half strawberry rhubarb. I had chocolate raspberry double layer cake. Paula had chocolate cake!
Today is Friday night and the place is packed for dinner. I think many come from town, since the accommodations here are limited. It looks like everybody who got off the boat made it up here to The Ranch! Our host Cliff is always on hand to mingle and inform regarding the ins and outs of getting around and what’s happening between The Ranch and Stehekin Village. Laid back, with his cowboy rancher persona, he welcomes guests and helps to get them settled.
The family-style Friday night dinner wraps up! I am a stuffed animal! (and maybe a potato also!) A walk down to the river encourages my meal to settle . . .
9:00 p.m. Still some light, no mosquitos or Alanna’s repellent is working mightily. . . .it is such a beautiful evening, I can hear the Stehekin River. . . .we’ll continue the fun and adventure tomorrow!
The Ranch is a major draw in the community, bringing up folks for breakfast, they can then bicycle back, taking in the sights of Rainbow Falls, Stehekin Bakery, the old school house, the organic farm, to name a few.
Rafting the Stehekin River! Alanna and I had a little trepidation, but we both wanted to take advantage of a new experience. Plenty of chances to get wet the first half of the journey down to the lake. Nick, the guide, big personality, with a major in physics, deciding it was time to find the “real” job! We had a variety of personalities and backgrounds as our companions!
The float was a Class 2 until about halfway down, when it changed to a Class 1. At the mouth of the Lake, we were hooked up to each other and pulled into the Village dock by motorboat. We were then transported back to The Ranch, in time for dinner!
The sun has sank behind the mountain ridges. A few stragglers enjoying coffee and desert. Mosquitoes coming out, time for the jacket, the first of these critters I’ve seen! Horses are on their way in, nose to tail, while the pasture gets irrigated.
Tomorrow, a day of relaxation for Paula and myself. Alanna will ride on horseback to Coon Lake. Paula in the shower, Alanna with her favorite read. Squirrels darting, the peace and restfulness of being “out of touch” with the real world, what’s real anyway? What should be real?
The shuttle bus here to The Ranch was packed with a party of thirteen backpackers headed into the wilderness from Bridge Creek. This backpacking thing makes horse camping and riding look easy! I’ll stick with the horses!
People love to tell their stories, on the bus, over lunch; I came here to escape that and enjoy the solitude. No phones here, I hear the “over and out” of a two-way or short wave radio for the grocery order!
Lots of built in time to relax and get a little away on your own. . . .hammocks out behind the dining hall, cape cods on the cabin front decks, a quiet walk.
The mountains surrounding us are majestic pieces of rock. It amazes that the trees find somewhere to root and the water to grow and flourish! It reminds me of a previous horse camping trip on the north side of all this, in the Chelan-Sawtooth wilderness, a bunch of rock. In spite of the pristine beauty, everyone was “done riding” after three days, ready to go home, which some did pull out, the hardness of the trail reverberating up through the horse’s feet and legs into our own!
Mmmmm, dinner after a raft trip down the Stehekin River – but since I’m sitting here vegetating over coffee and blackberry pie from the Stehekin Bakery – parmesan chicken, stuffed eggplant, this yummy bread with poppy seeds in it, fragrant and crusty with a dollop of butter, ready to spread. Finish off with PIE topped with whipped cream!
Coffee, decaf, and hot water are simmering on the hearth in big, old fashioned coffee pots, grab the hot mitt, and pour out what you want – delicious! as is the smell of the logs on the fire. Bus your place, and have as much as you want! Sawdust on the floor, and outdoor patio seating. . . .ahhhhh. . . .I’m full!
A little after dinner stroll, the horses have been let out on pasture – they resume work tomorrow taking sightseers into the mountains.
Sitting on the cabin’s front deck, enjoying the evening breeze, folks who came up from the village for dinner are being taken back in the Ranch’s white schoolbus.
After eating, rafting, and relaxing, we retire to our cabin to dream of tomorrow’s adventures!
Captain’s Log August 9, 2012 Captain Terri on Vacation Trek
Ahhhh, a good night’s sleep – a ten hour catch-up! The coolness of the mountains, the down comforter and crisp sheets, all conspired to keep us in bed.
Breakfast of eggs and bacon and LOTS of coffee gave me my kickstart!
Waiting for the 11:15 shuttle to the Stehekin Valley Ranch, “The Ranch” as it is called. Nine miles further uplake, we’ll be there in time for lunch!
Wow, The Ranch is situated in a beautiful mountain clearing. In spite of the isolation, they have enough power for guests to have internet, just enough to check their email! Enough to allow Paula and Alanna to feel a little less isolated!
The dining hall has log tables, rustic architecture, and a generous chow line!
Lunch is beef minestrone soup with chunky vegetables from the home grown garden, barbeque chicken pizza with homemade crust, and huge peanut butter cookies with just the right amount of chewiness!
So peaceful! Somewhere the flow of a river can be heard. Escape to where you can hear yourself think. Let your mind wander where it may. Practice stillness and emptying of your mind.
A one lane dirt road through rugged and treed terrain to get here. The generosity of the Courtney family to share their piece of heaven with visitors who will come!
As previously posted, Paula, Alanna and myself are enjoying the aftermath of our excellent meal at the North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin. The Forest Service ranger is the sole automotive traffic. The murmur of others enjoying the end of the day as we are. . . . .the red shuttle tour bus is parked ready for the arrival of the Lady Express in the morning. We will catch the 11:15 a.m. shuttle bus to Stehekin Valley Ranch tomorrow, arriving in time for lunch.
A perfect escape from the heat of the valley, predicted to be 90 degrees each day, but the windchill off the lake brings the mountain coolness.
The journals from the Forest Service Center are a hit! The ladies are spewing forth their own thoughts, perhaps things they haven’t thought about in the melee of social media interaction?
After dinner pensiveness instead of an after dinner drink. . . .good company! I’m purrrrring. . . . .set the world aside, you don’t have to wonder, because it’s there, and you are here, the best of all solutions!
The most socializing happening is the swallows having their evening conversations, and promenading in the sky above us. This was a good day, nothing on the agenda but relaxing. . . .Alanna will attend the Forest Service talk on climate change tonight at 8 p.m. I will jump in the shower, and Paula will hang out in the room. Checkout time is 10:30 a.m. We’ll have breakfast here at the lodge.
I’m looking forward to morning coffee and the voice of the lake teasing me awake. Anticipation is half the fun, or perhaps a good portion of it!
8:27 p.m. This is perfection! The aspect of Room 19 lends itself to privacy. The room has a view to the north, filtered by the ponderosa pines outside the deck. The wind has diminished to a gentler, cooler breeze. The windows are open, I sit with my feet up, with no outside forces allowed in. . . . .cushioned and insulated.
This is Captain Terri, escapee from a small town civilization into the wilderness. . . .
After a leisurely trip up Lake Chelan aboard the Lady of the Lake II, (the slow boat), we disembarked and checked into our room at the North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin.
Wood paneled walls displaying wildlife art prints, pillowtop beds with down comforters, and a view over Lake Chelan welcomed me, my daughter Paula and her friend Alanna.This trip qualifies as a trip to the wilderness, no wifi, no cell phone service, and no TV! Yikes!
I’m having too much fun, introducing both of them to a vacation short of technology! Tomorrow we will get journals at the Forest Service Center to enter our thoughts. Alanna says it’s calming, as she burrows under her quilt and retreats into her book. . . . .
Dinner at the lodge restaurant over a glass of merlot with spinach and artichoke dip. . . . .I had a half rack of barbeque ribs (they make their own sauce) and mashed garlic potatoes. House pasta with shrimp for Alanna, the sauce was yummy! Paula was the most adventurous with rainbow trout and pineapple curry rice!
Local plunder included an autographed book by a local author, chocolate at the general store, withdrawal averted!
As we sit out on the deck after dinner (I am a stuffed animal!), a gentle but persistent wind blows away the lethargy, awakening us to the nuances of the surrounding mountains in the shade of the sunset. The lapping of water and the squeak of docked boats, and the wind in the trees, lull us from the cares of the larger world.
The last time Paula experienced the pleasure of social solitude was when she was but a toddler at Crater Lake National Park. The Lodge is beautiful, restored, wonderful food, and perfectly isolated!
My daughter and I took a day trip on the Lady of the Lake to Stehekin, accessed only by boat, foot, or plane.
Stehekin has about 85 year-round residents, and is somewhat of an artist’s colony. We took the Express up, and the slower ride back on the Lady of the Lake II. That gave us a three hour layover.
Stehekin is an access point for outdoor recreationists into Lake Chelan National Recreation Area and North Cascades National Park. It also offers isolated relaxation in the village. We boarded a tour bus on departure from the Express to take in the sights.
The first stop was Rainbow Falls, named for how it catches the light and creates rainbows. Take a hike low, or a hike high, to view it. You might get close enough to catch a cool spray!
Next was the Stehekin Bakery, quite famous for its homemade goodies. We all partook, I left with a piece of strawberry rhubarb pie for later!
Back in the village, we visited the Golden West Visitor Center, which houses the National Park Service with maps, information, books, and a schedule of presentations during the week.
We ate lunch at the Stehekin Landing Resort, bought souvenirs at the General Store and checked out the offerings for kayak and horseback riding at the information kiosk. Stehekin Valley Ranch, a little further past Rainbow Falls, also offers getaway packages and Sunday Brunch!
Opportunities for day hikes, bicycling, or just packing a picnic lunch are also options.
The ride back was relaxing, giving you time to meet and chat with other passengers, read a book, or nap.
Here’s to your inspirations for memorable day trips! Whatever you do, get out and enjoy them!
Day trippin’, don’t you love it! My daughter is a great traveler, we’ve been exploring local attractions.
Lady of the Lake is the boat trip to Stehekin, a small mountain community accessed only by foot, boat, or plane. It’s been on my list for a few years to check it out!
We were able to make a day trip out of it, although you can camp nearby at Lake Chelan State Park, or stay in Chelan itself.
We arrived at Field’s Point Landing to board. A beautiful spot, park-like, with morning coffee and snacks available! Passengers vary with those taking gear in to hike and camp in the mountains, day trippers like ourselves, and commuters!
The passengers we sat next to were shuttling between their home in Chelan, and were wonderful guides to points along the lake. We took the fast boat up, and the slow boat back. That gave us a three hour layover in Stehekin.
Weather was beautiful, the lake was like glass!
Check it out for yourself for a favorite day trip!