by Mary Dickinson
October 19, 2004
When we arrived at the ranch, we put our things in our cabins and went for lunch to the Dining Lodge that used huge stripped tree trunks for its main supports. Meals were included in our overnight stay and every kind of sandwich, cold or hot, was available. It was just a bit chilly that day, being the end of September, so we sat before the blazing fire in the fireplace to warm up. Tables about twenty five feet long, made out of trees split in halve, gave rustic charm to the setting. The dirt floor was covered with wood chips.
The bus driver, Altin, who drove us to the ranch, served Cowboy Coffee (coffee made with grinds boiled in the water) from the pot on the fireplace and then sat down and talk with us about the valley. He grew up in a town further south on Lake Chelan and was living and working in Stehekin and wrote books. We wondered about things, like if we went for a hike after lunch would we be likely to meet a bear. He seemed to think it was possible but only if we were lucky.
We did take a hike to the river running next to the road. We could see how wild it was by how many diversions there were to its course. We were able to venture out on a small islands that resulted from the diversions and look for fish. A small very red fish, thought to be a salmon, was swimming up stream. The water feeding the stream came from glaciers on the very high Cascade Mountains surrounding the valley, and when it rained significantly, the water would rise, causing the river to overflow its banks.
Back on the road, we saw two men hiking: one was wearing a skirt made out of a black plastic trash bag in an attempt to ward off water still on the trees from rain. They were using hiking sticks and had followed the Pacific Crest Trail, starting in Mexico and were staying in a tent cabin at the ranch.(Tent cabins are smaller, cheaper and have a canvas roof.)
Handsome Norwegian horses roamed inside a fence in a field, nearby.
The menu for dinner that night included T-boned steaks and other meats, our choice of potato and every kind of salad bar item imaginable. Several delicious deserts from the family owned bakery in town were available. Friendly chatter followed a great dinner.
From journal Three Sisters In Washington