Lake Chelan, WA

August 2-9, 2014

Holy cow, we’ve stumbled upon a quant little beach town in the middle of burning forests! We arrived in Lake Chelan with a newly chipped windshield and immediately upon arrival we were told we would have to board our animals before we would be allowed to enter the park. Bummer. After some conversation and our willingness to leave with a full refund the park decided that we should stay. Go figure. From that moment on Wizard became a “therapy dog”. His new title never fooled me, but if that’s the way they want us to explain it, ok. So yes we were at a packed family vacation park on the beach of one of the deepest lakes in the US and we couldn’t let the dogs out. That was the crappy part, but the lake and small town made up for most of the verbal abuse we endured when the Wiz had to wiz. Seriously, some dude bitched at us for walking the dog. He was clearly having a mid-wife crisis as told by his premature balding patterns. He also had the delusion that he owned the upper half of the park. Weird.

We were biking distance to town so we regularly took a ride to eat out and peruse the shops. We drove around the lake as much as roads would take us enjoying the wineries, orchards, and over all scenic views. We were here during all the wildfires in Washington state so by now we were used to the smell of constant smoke and the faint hellish glow coming from over the hills. In Glacier National Park we first saw the smoke from Washington’s fires. The haze only got stronger in Spokane, but here we are about thirty minutes form the Carlton Complex Fire that was one of their biggest fires.

 

We also took a ferry to the end of the lake where Stehekin is located. Stehekin is the southern most tip of the North Cascades National Park in the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. FYI, the North Cascade National Park is made up of the three sections the Lake Chelan National Recreational Area, the Ross Lake National Recreational Area, and the North and South Units of North Cascades National Park. We rented some bikes and visited the parks features, namely waterfalls, orchards, lake views, and bakeries! Oh and the occasional fire helicopter refilling his water bucket from the lake. What amazing control those pilots have. I said we were close to the burn, but maybe I was not clear as to how close. On our way back we chatted with a CIA informant ‘Andrew’ (and over all flamboyant guy) and watched the sides of the upper lake burning. As we talked about life on this insane rock, burnt embers fell to ash covering our clothes. Crazy.

The local area around Lake Chelan also has a numerous hiking trails. Some of which we walked with Wizard. You know, because he couldn’t walk in the campground. Echo canyon was one such trail. A few deer and some birds were all that we saw along the way, but we could feel the bear presence and saw their evidence, bear scat. The hike was very nice and would have had amazing panoramic views of Lake Chelan, as it was high up the mountains, however the smoke from the fires obstructed the view. We all still thoroughly enjoyed it, especially Wizard.

After stocking up at the local farmers market for the next week and watching some Zucchini/vegetable races we drove up to the North Cascades National Park South and North Units. On our way there we drove through the Carleton Complex to check out the fire damage, which was extensive. It is crazy how you can see the devastated fire damage line run right up to saved healthy fruit orchards. The fireman and local people did a great job saving the orchards and most of the homes. We also visited the old western town of Winthrop on our way to the park. We had a nice lunch at a brewery along a river that was an old school house. The beer was good and the food was better. We finished the day driving the North Cascades. The Washington Pass Overlook and Ross Lake were quite impressive! However, we were disappointed to see that the park has several hydroelectric plants supplying Seattle with electricity. Power plants just take away from the natural beauty and national park ambience!

 

What a week and if it were not for all the mean families I would say that our stay in Lake Chelan was wonderful, but every night the campground was filled with parent circles monitoring everything that went on, great for keeping an eye on kids but lame for two adults with an awesome dog. Moving on. Thank goodness. Lets get a wooded site next time you know more Earth, less people.