Douglas County

140 – Backpacking Lake Chelan – On to Stehekin

This was the final day of our Lake Chelan backpacking trip, the day we finally reached the remote town of Stehekin. We were scheduled to catch the ferry back to the original starting point of this journey. To read more about this entire backpacking trip, see –Hike #44 – Backpacking Lake Chelan – Moore Point to Flick Creek , Hike #43 – Chelan Lakeshore Trail – Day Hike South from Moore Point , and Hike #42 – Backpacking Lake Chelan – Chelan to Moore Point, Old Orchard Camp. Having spent the majority of the day before hiking in the rain and unsure of what the day’s weather would deliver, even though it was not raining as we packed up and headed out, we started out in our rain gear – just in case. It’s much easier to shed layers once on the trail than it is to get caught in a down pour and have to stop to dig out the rain gear once the clouds seem to burst. If you have never hiked in the rain, you might be surprised how wet you can get in just a few minutes!

On to Stehekin . . .

On to Stehekin . . .

Vegetation along the trail was still wet from all the rain the day before, and the streams were running high. Stream crossings for the day turned out to be quite easy and with proper bridges though. This make-shift bridge of small logs that we encountered not long after we started out was not even much of a challenge.

Stream crossing . . .

Stream crossing . . .

The trail, often took us high above the shore of Lake Chelan and then dipped down right to the waters edge as we continued on to Stehekin. There really barely a couple feet in elevation difference between the beginning and ending of this hike, but there were certainly many, many ups and downs along the way.

Lake Chelan from the trail to Stehekin

Lake Chelan from the trail to Stehekin

The views were great the entire day.

Along the trail to Stehekin

Along the trail to Stehekin

And then we reached Stehekin!

Arriving at Stehekin . . .

Arriving at Stehekin . . .

Stehekin is quite a remarkable little town. Really just an “unincorporated” community, there are only about 75 full-time residents. There is no road access to Stehekin. The only way in and out of Stehekin is to take a boat, a float plane or hike in – or some combination or those options like we did (boat and hike).

The resort in Stehekin . . .

The resort in Stehekin . . .

Downtown Stehekin, now we’ve been there – done that.

In Stehekin . . .

In Stehekin . . .

We arrived in plenty of time to check out the town, eat our lunch, have tea and coffee and rest and relax before it was time for us to catch the ferry back to the town of Chelan.

R & R at the resort in Stehekin

R & R at the resort in Stehekin

The boat, the Lady of the Lake II, arrived and we dug our tickets out of our packs so we could complete our trip.

At the Stehekin dock

At the Stehekin dock

It was a four and a half boat ride from the Stehekin at the northern most end of Lake Chelan to the town of Chelan at the southern most end of the lake, and oh so beautiful. As we headed south, the clouds (which, by the way, never did rain on us as during our final hike to Stehekin), lifted to expose beautiful snow-capped peaks. By the time we reached Chelan, the sky was clear.

On the ferry from Stehekin to Chelan

On the ferry from Stehekin to Chelan

We tossed our heavy backpacks in the back of the car once we got off the boat at Chelan and made the one-hour drive back to son Brian’s to spend the night, then hit the road in the morning to complete the five and a half hour drive back home. What an exceptional adventure this was!

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Categories: Chelan County, Douglas County, Hiking, Nature, Okanogan County, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

139 – Backpacking Lake Chelan – Moore Point to Flick Creek

The best description for this day of hiking is, quite simply, WET. It rained all day. In spite of good rain gear – rain pants, gortex coats, rain hats, rain covers for our backpacks, extra waterproofing added to our boots, it rained almost all day, and we got soaked. Our tent got wet. Our sleeping bags got wet. Our feet got soaked. It was raining. This was the day we needed to hike north from Moore Point (see Hike #42 – Backpacking Lake Chelan – Chelan to Moore Point, Old Orchard Camp) to a camp at Flick Creek in order to continue on our backpacking trip to the remote village of Stehekin at the northern most end of Lake Chelan. Here we are all packed up and tucked into our rain gear, big smiles on our faces as we were determined to make it a grand day of hiking in spite of the rain.

Moore Point to Flick Creek . . . in the rain

Moore Point to Flick Creek . . . in the rain

What started out as a slight mist in the early morning hours, turned into a steady rain as we continued along the trail.

Rain . . . along the trail

(photo by Kent Doughty) Rain . . . along the trail

We hiked on, past more trees charred from the fires of previous years as the view of Lake Chelan teased us through the never ending mist.

Misty views along the soggy trail

Misty views along the soggy trail

It was soggy. The foliage was heavy, weighted down by the rain and drooped over the trail, dripping wet on us even as the rain clouds began to lift. I’m pretty much as wet as this dogwood tree.

Soggy . . . along the trail

(photo by Kent Doughty) Soggy . . . along the trail

Finally, the Flick Creek Camp came into view, and we could see that it had a covered shelter. This being the only official camp site at the Flick Creek Camp, as we approached, we hoped that we would be the first backpackers to arrive. If other campers were already hunkered down in that shelter, we would be faced with having to keep on hiking north – all the way to Stehekin – as this was the only campgrounds between Moore Point and Stehekin. It looked even more inviting as we got closer. We were hopeful. We were wet!

Shelter . . . at Flick Creek Camp

Shelter . . . at Flick Creek Camp

Yes! No one was there! We could get out of the rain, hang our wet stuff up and hope that it would be dry enough to get a good nights sleep before hiking on to Stehekin.

Flick Creek Camp shelter . . .

Flick Creek Camp shelter . . .

By the time we had changed into dry clothing and hung all our wet gear up on the odd assortment of nails in the shelter, the clouds started to lift again. And, just like that, the rain stopped.

View north . . . to Stehekin

View north . . . to Stehekin

Kent always brings plenty of rope along on our backpacking trips, and good thing, because in no time we had a line stretched between two trees and had hung out our wet sleeping bags and other gear. We had a couple of hours remaining before dark, and with the gentle breeze that was blowing, by the end of the day, our gear was dry.

Blowing in the Breeze . . . at Flick Creek Camp

Blowing in the Breeze . . . at Flick Creek Camp

Just look at some of the beautiful mountain views we enjoyed from our camp once the sky cleared. Absolutely stunning!

Mountain views . . . after the rain cleared

Mountain views . . . after the rain cleared

Sitting at the end of the dock at the Flick Creek Camp, what a wonderful way to end the day!

Evening at Flick Creek Camp

Evening at Flick Creek Camp

Near dark, a family of backpackers came hiking in. Three teenage girls, a boy not much older and their mom, hungry, soaked and loaded down with their packs. They asked if we could please share our space. While the Flick Creek was really only for “one”, how could we possibly have sent them on down the trail? There was plenty of room for them! Since we had our tent set up under the shelter and it had stopped raining, we helped them identify a couple of areas that were fairly level where they could put up their tents. In no time, they were set up and cooking their dinner. They, too, were on their way to Stehekin. What a wonderful backpacking trip this was!

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Categories: Chelan County, Douglas County, Hiking, Nature, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

138 – Chelan Lakeshore Trail – Day Hike South from Moore Point

On a backpacking trip to the remote village of Stehekin at the far north end of Lake Chelan, once we were set up at the Old Orchard Camp, we wanted to explore the area a bit more before packing up and heading on. Up until a few years ago, one could hike the entire distance from the town of Chelan to Stehekin, but floods had wiped out portions of the trail and a major bridge between Chelan and Moore Point, making it impossible to hike now. Hikers currently must rely on the ferry to drop them off somewhere north of the washed out area, and that was what we had done (see Hike #42 – Backpacking Lake Chelan – Chelan to Moore Point, Old Orchard Camp). We decided to hike along the Lakeshore Trail south toward the washed out area through a forest that had also been ravaged by wild fires a few years before (oh the power of Nature!). We had peek-a-boo views of the beautiful lake where we had just traveled by ferry as we looked through the tall, charred stumps.

Charred forest

Charred forest

The underbrush is growing back thick and lush since the fires, so there was an abundance of beautiful wild flowers in bloom.

Wildflowers along the trail

Wildflowers along the trail

After several miles of hiking along this trail, we were met by several groups of AmeriCorps workers, no doubt hiking back to their base camp at Moore Point. After a long, hot day of pulling noxious weeds from along the trail and property borders, you could tell they were glad to be heading back to camp. They looked tired. We hiked for several miles before turning around and hiking the distance back to camp ourselves.

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Categories: Chelan County, Douglas County, Hiking, Nature, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

137 – Backpacking Lake Chelan – Chelan to Moore Point, Old Orchard Camp

We had been wanting to visit the little town of Stehekin (population less than 75!) for a long time, so even the planning of this trip was fun. Stehekin is located on the northwest end of one of the deepest fjords in North America, Lake Chelan, and is quite remote. There are only a couple of ways to get to Stehekin. One, a four and a half hour ferry ride on the Lady of the Lake from the town of Chelan, and the other – a very long hike. We opted for a combination of the two, but first, because the drive from our home to the town of Chelan was over five hours, we first drove to son Brian’s in Rock Island (about a four hour drive from home), spent the night and then continued on to Chelan to catch the ferry the next morning.

Son cooking up burgers

Son Brian grilling us some dinner

Here I am, aboard the Lady of the Lake II.

(pic by Kent Doughty) me - on the Lady of the Lake

(pic by Kent Doughty) me – on the Lady of the Lake

The Lady of the Lake is a foot-passenger only ferry, not to be confused with the type of ferries that might sail through the San Juan Islands or on up to Alaska. This is a much smaller boat, and it makes stops at several beaches along the way between Chelan and Stehekin. It gets as close to the rocky beach as it safely can, and passengers that want off wait as a crewmember lowers a walkway.

Our Stop - Moore Point

Our Stop – Moore Point

Moore Point was our stop, and it felt rather like walking the plank as we got off. We were the only passengers to get off at that stop, and once safely ashore, we watched as the crewmember pulled up the ramp and the boat backed away to continue on to Stehekin.

Waving good-bye to Lady of the Lake

Waving good-bye to Lady of the Lake

Once at Moore Point, we quickly discovered that a group of AmeriCorp workers had pretty much taken over the camp there, so we hit the trail in search of a place to set up our camp.

AmeriCorps work camp at Moore Point

AmeriCorps work camp at Moore Point

We hiked on to the Old Orchard Camp.

Hiking on to Old Orchard Camp

Hiking on to Old Orchard Camp

At the remains of an old homestead by the Old Orchard Camp, several lilac bushes remained, and there were many swallow tail butterflies flitting about the flowers.

Swallow tail butterfly on lilacs

Swallow tail butterfly on lilacs

Later on the beach, there were swarms of them.

Swarms of swallow tail butterflys on the beach

Swarms of “puddling” swallow tail butterflies on the beach

There were lots of bugs, so by dinner time, our bug nets came out.

Camp cook - with bug net

Camp cook – with bug net

Because we were going to be on the trail for several days, we had dehydrated our own shrimp and vegetables to lighten the load in our backpacks. Cooked up with some brown rice, garlic and olive oil, turned out, this was one of the best backpacking dinners we’ve ever had.

Backpacker dinner - shrimp and pasta

Backpacker dinner – shrimp and pasta

More photos of our adventure on the Lady of the Lake from Chelan to Moore Point, Old Orchard Camp.

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Categories: Chelan County, Douglas County, Hiking, Nature, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

132 – Swakane Canyon

Listed in the book, Desert Hikes Washington by Dan Nelson and Alan Bauer, Swakane Canyon sounded like an area we would enjoy exploring. In the Wenatchee Valley for several days of hiking, we were able to spend an afternoon there.

Swakane Canyon Trailhead

Swakane Canyon Trailhead

Swakane Canyon covers a large area, and the trail, an old road, steadily gains in elevation and seems to go on almost indefinitely. The view seems to go on forever too as with no real turn-around point along the trail, you simply hike up and around the hills until you have had enough and are ready to turn around. We had covered approximately eleven miles by the time we returned to the trailhead.

Swakane Canyon . . . along the trail

Swakane Canyon . . . along the trail

While wildfires burned through most of Swakane Canyon last fall, the wildflowers are quick to return. We spotted arrow leaf balsom root, bluebells, shooting stars and many more.

Wildflowers of Swakane Canyon

Wildflowers of Swakane Canyon

More information and recent trip reports for Swakane Canyon are available on the Washington Trails Association website, here – http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/swakane-canyon.

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Categories: Douglas County, Hiking, Nature, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

131 – Hammond Lake

A trail likely blazed by locals heading to their favorite fishing spot along the shore of Hammond Lake, one of the small lakes making up the Rock Island Ponds complex off of Highway SR-28, turned out to be a beautiful hike as the guys fished from kayaks.

Trail around Hammond Lake

Trail around Hammond Lake

Even though a small lake of only 24.2 acres, I managed to log nearly three miles of hiking time along the trail, through an orchard, along the county road and along the edge of the bordering golf course.

Lake Hammond

Lake Hammond

The blossoms in the orchard were absolutely beautiful!

Orchard blooms near Lake Hammond

Orchard blooms near Lake Hammond

Go here – http://gamefishin.com/rpts/Reports.asp?State=WA&County=Douglas&Body=Rock%20Island%20Ponds – for more information on the Rock Island Ponds.

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129 – Dusty Lake Trail

Set in a basalt column lined coulee left over from the ancient Missoula floods along the Quincy plateau in Eastern Washington, Dusty Lake, one in a cluster of ancient lakes, was the destination my son took us to for an afternoon of hiking and fishing enjoyment. Here we are at the trailhead with my son.

At the Trailhead . . .

At the trailhead with son Brian . . .

It was a beautiful hike to the lake with wildflowers lining our path, a small waterfalls, a pond with a beaver lodge, a busy ant hill practically as tall as me nestled into the base of the sage brush along the trail, striking basalt columns surrounding us, hawks soaring above and warm sunshine all around.

Bird watching

Bird watching

We took a break from our hiking to fish from the shore.

Brian and Kent fishing

Brian and Kent fishing

After fishing for awhile, we continued our hike around the perimiter of the lake before heading back. This is one of my favorite photos from the day!

Brian on top of the cliff

Son Brian on top of a basalt cliff

More information on hikes in the Ancient Lakes area is available on the Washington Trails Association website, here – http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/ancient-lakes.

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88 – Osage Orange

Visiting the Wenatchee Valley for a few days, we decided to make it a hike as we set off along the trails that lead around the ponds at Rock Island, Washington in search of a winter’s worth of Osage Oranges.

Cat tail reeds and reflections in Rock Island pond

Cat tail reeds and reflections in Rock Island pond

Brian often runs his dog around the ponds so was pretty sure he knew where the Osage Orange bushes were, and sure enough, he led us to some.

Son Brian finds the first Osage Orange

Son Brian finds the first Osage Orange

Used in the home to ward off spiders, we’ve gathered them before. Go here – http://really-rose.blogspot.com/2009/12/osage-oranges.html – to read more about them. Meanwhile, here are more photos from our hike.

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Categories: Chelan County, Douglas County, Hiking, Nature, Photography | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

41 – Douglas Creek Canyon

First introduced to Douglas Creek Canyon the year my son graduated from college, it was not long after volunteering to help build a portion of the trail on Make a Difference Day that he took me there for a hike. Returning many times since, it still remains one of my favorite areas.

Trail Building . . . on Make a Difference Day

There we were, visiting my son in the Wenatchee Valley; and when the kids started talking about an afternoon of fishing at one of their local lakes, we double checked the directions to the trailhead – then set off for Douglas Creek Canyon.

Kent and I . . . hiking Douglas Creek Canyon

Barely more than an hour’s drive from Wenatchee, the scenery around every corner was absolutelty breathtaking as Highway 2 gained in elevation before reaching miles and miles of farm fields along the high Waterville Plateau. Passing through the picturesque town of Waterville, then through the little town of Douglas, even over a portion of Douglas Creek, finally after driving past several more miles of farmlands, a rather lonesome looking sign for H Road marked our turn-off. Following the straight, heavily gravelled H Road through even more farm fields for well over six miles, it seemed that just about the time we thought we might have turned onto the wrong road, it began to curve and drop in elevation as it became Slack Canyon Road. A more primitive road and said to continue on for quite a distance, after less than a mile we reached the well-graveled parking lot for the trailhead into Douglas Creek Canyon.

Douglas Creek Canyon trailhead . . .

Douglas Creek itself trickles and meanders its way through the bottom of the canyon. Often over make-shift, rock bridges – and here, over a one-board bridge – the trail crosses the creek many times.

Crossing Douglas Creek . . . Douglas Creek Canyon

Checking for fish each time we crossed the creek, finally trout were spotted.

Looking for fish . . . Douglas Creek

An amazing landscape, the canyon walls are lined with giant basalt cliffs, formations that date back to a lava flood some 13 to 14-1/2 million years ago. Covered with colorful lichens, it felt absolutely amazing to reach out and touch pillars of rock that were that old.

Checking out basalt pillars . . . Douglas Creek Canyon

Once used to transport passangers, wheat and other crops from the farms on the high prairie down to the valley far below, now sage brush and other desert plants fill the old railroad grade that the trail follows.

(Pic by Kent) Me . . . hiking Douglas Creek Canyon

Seeming to go on indefinitely, we hiked in for nearly a mile past the three-mile marker before stopping for a picnic, and then heading back out. Sitting on top of a small cliff overlooking the creek as we ate, we looked out to the stunningly high canyon walls on the other side and were entertained by the call of golden eagles, red tailed hawks and falcons as they soared in the blue sky above, and the occassional pair of chuckars fluttering out of the bushes below.

Our picnic spot . . . at Douglas Creek Canyon

While Douglas Creek Canyon is featured in the book, Best Desert Hikes: Washington, by Dan Nelson and Alan Bauer, the trail has been extended and greatly improved since its last edition. More information about the hike, including trip reports, is also available on the Washington Trail Association website. Go here – Douglas Creek Canyon – North – to read that. Other information about Douglas Creek can also be found here – http://www.bentler.us/eastern-washington/recreation/douglas-creek.aspx, information about the lava flood is available here – http://www.handsontheland.org/classroom/2002serv_learn/docr/passage_time.htm, and information about the old railroad can be found here – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mansfield_Branch_(Great_Northern_Railway).

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