Saturday, June 23, 2007

Stehekin

"Nirvana: an ideal condition of rest, harmony, stability, or joy." So states dictionary.com ... and that is what I found after spending 3 blissful days in Stehekin, Washington. Could it be that I have finally found my Eden??

Stehekin is a town of a little over 80 year-round residents at the end of 55-mile-long (by 1 mile wide!) Lake Chelan in the Northern Cascades. It is a town reachable only by foot, boat, or float plane. The mostly dirt Stehekin Road leads 12 miles (used to be a lot further) into the backcountry and the Pacific Crest Trail, at which point it is another 17 trail miles north to Rainy Pass, the last major road crossing on the PCT before reaching Canada, and a bunch more miles to the nearest road south. The 23-mile Stehekin River runs alongside the road for its last few miles before emptying into the lake; the water was so incredibly, impressively high and wild!

We hiked the Agnes Gorge Trail as well as the Coon Lake-PCT-Stehekin Road loop. I found out the hard way that when a road is said to be washed out up here, it is WASHED OUT, i.e. impassable! My intended loop could not be completed because where the road once existed is now "wild river hitting rock face." That's probably not a good description but the best I can do. Anyway, I had to backtrack all the way around such that my 10 miler became a 14 miler.

It was with a heavy heart that we boarded the Lady Express Friday afternoon for the trip back to civilization.

This is a photograph of the dock in Stehekin and the shuttle bus that will take you anywhere up the road for $5. The drivers are super nice and will even wait for you at the bakery 2 miles up the road while you buy gooey cinnamon buns, carrot cake, muffins, magic bars, coffee, lattes.... Mmmm!



This is the old Stehekin School which was in operation until the late 1980s. It is kept unmanned and unlocked for the tourists. (Those are my new socks--aren't they purty?--which I was wearing as gloves for a few minutes.)

I will definitely return!

4 comments:

Jamie said...

Wow. Freakin' beautiful area. Wonder if they need a media instructor there?

Loomdog said...

Very nice photos and description Sue! I wanna go! America is awesome...I knew that before a year in the middle east, but being back. I REALLY know it. Shenandoahs yesterday for me. Amazing.

Hope to see you sometime soon. Go to leadville and pace me!
Greg

olga said...

Sue, what gorgeous pictures and great places to go to! It is a dream, isn't it? Catching up with you:) Coming to CCC this year?

Sue J. said...

Thanks guys. No CCC for me this year although I do love that course. Olga, want to run tomorrow?--I'm in Portland! (Nothing like short notice, eh?)

:)