Monday, July 5, 2010

Lake Chelan, Stehekin, the Lady of the Lake & Bears

You are looking at an old postcard of Lake Chelan. Lake Chelan is Washington's biggest natural lake.

Lake Chelan is a very narrow, 55 mile long lake. And very deep. Chelan is the Salish Indian word for "deep water."

At a maximum depth of 1,486 feet deep, Lake Chelan is the 3rd deepest lake in America and the 24th deepest in the world.

I remember swimming, or trying to at Lake Chelan State Park, on a HOT August day, with the water of Lake Chelan being very cold. I imagine the cold water, even in summer, has something to do with the lake being so deep.

Another memory of camping as a kid at Lake Chelan State Park was a camper murdering a snake with a shovel. The Park Ranger was not happy about this. The murdering camper thought he was killing a deadly rattlesnake, when what he actually killed was a harmless bull snake.

The town of Chelan is at the south end of the lake. The state park is also at the south end of the lake. The waters of Lake Chelan flow into the Chelan River through the Lake Chelan Hydroelectric Dam.

At the northwest end of Lake Chelan you'll find the town of Stehekin. which is also where the Stehekin River flows into Lake Chelan, with the Stehekin River being the biggest contributor of water to Lake Chelan.

Stehekin is in North Cascades National Park. You'll find a National Park Lodge in town. I had a fine stay in the Stehekin National Park Lodge a few years ago.

There is no road to Stehekin. You can get there either by hiking, float plane or boat. From Chelan you can take the Lady of the Lake or the Lady of the Lake II. Number 2 goes way faster than the original Lady of the Lake. I took the slow boat to Stehekin and loved it. If I remember right it took 4 hours. A very relaxing, very scenic, very fun 4 hours.

In Stehekin you'll find yourself at a gateway to a lot of good stuff. Like one of the best bakeries I've ever been to. Dinner at Courtney Ranch is another very good thing. We went to Courtney Ranch every night of our stay in Stehekin. A bus picks you up to take up up the Stehekin Valley to the ranch. It is a very wild bus ride.

Go to my more detailed description of my visit to Stehekin to hear about the bears, waterfalls, hiking and more...

No comments: