by Mary Dickinson
October 19, 2004
We had reservations at the Stehekin Valley Ranch but there were more places to stay in the village. A lodge is located near the dock. It was made of material from an old hotel that had to be taken down when the dam was being built in Chelan, raising the lake nine feet. Some homeowners are willing to rent their houses, some near the river; camping sites are also available and Stehekin offers public showers, toilets, laundry and even a public phone. If you’re planning on pitching a tent near a trail, be sure to get a camping permit at the Golden West Visitors Center near the boat landing.
Also near the boat landing, there is a restaurant and not far from the dock there is an excellent bakery that also serves sandwiches and Cowboy coffee. You can arrange to have your meals out at the Stehekin Valley Ranch but it is less expensive to stay there and have the meals included. Most of the services are owned and operated by the Courtney brothers and they coordinate their efforts to compliment each other. If you haven’t camped in a mountainous area before, they offer worthwhile tours. They grew up in Stehekin while their father gave camping and hiking tours into the mountains.
The little village has a post office and a new school house. They even have an historic district consisting of the old school house and Buckner’s Cabin. Buckner’s Cabin was owned by an old man who settled there a long time ago and started an apple orchard. The property is part of the North Cascade Park Service at the present time. Deer and bears feed on the apples. We stopped there and went through the cabin and even picked a couple apples. Five or six deer were present and our guide, Altin, found bear prints near a damaged tree. The deer are friendly, but a mother will become violent if you touch her kid.
The river is home to many fish trying to swim upstream and it might be possible to provide your own food if you’ve come prepared. We toured Rainbow Falls, and watch with awe as the Rainbow River dropped 312 feet as cascading falls, forming a rainbow mist on the rocks below. Lots of picnic tables are available, nearby. Some people sail up the lake and stay for the day.
From journal Three Sisters In Washington