Monday, September 30, 2013

Return to Stehekin

I took myself and my bicycle up to the remote village of Stehekin, Washington a week ago.  The main purposes were to see some nature and spend some time alone.  As far those were concerned, the trip was a resounding success.

I spent Saturday and Wednesday at my aunt's house at Wenatchee and the four days in the middle were spent in the Stehekin Valley.

The only ways to reach the valley are via boat or float plane as there are no outside roads that reach it. I used the Lady of the Lake boat service that runs 50 miles from the city of Chelan across Lake Chelan to Stehekin. The basin in which Lake Chelan resides was carved by glaciers.  The lowest point of the lake is a few hundred feet below sea level while the highest ridges are over 6,000 ft.  That vertical distance eclipses the Grand Canyon in depth from bottom to top.  The boat ride is about 4 hours with a number of stops in between.

The weather was cool and the clouds threatening when I disembarked in Stehekin on Sunday.  Even so, I checked in and rode about 5 miles in the rain to get warmed up and into the mood.

On Monday, I rode about 24 miles from the landing up past high bridge with a couple of small side trips.  The weather basically held out with a number of short rounds of light rain.  Only 10 miles were paved, so I had to negotiate mud puddles, washboards, and other pitfalls for the other 14 miles.

On Tuesday, I visited the "tourist spots" including Rainbows Falls (twice!), Buckner Orchard, the Stehekin Pastry Company, the airstrip, Company Creek road, Harlequin Camp, and a few other things.  I think the highlight was watching the Kokanee salmon (which is a landlocked version of the Sockeye salmon) spawning in the river.  If you go to the gallery below, there is some footage of the fish spawning.  Bicycling accounted for about 14 miles this day.

On Wednesday, I woke up early and caught breakfast.  I then took myself and my bike back up to High Bridge via the local shuttle service.  I rode back the 11 miles just in time to pack up and check out of the North Cascades Lodge.

All in all, it was a great battery recharging trip.  All told, I biked 54 miles with about half on paved road.  I highly recommend this destination.

Here are some pictures and short videos of the trip...