Stehekin, Washington – 2007
I know most people go on vacation to relax, but I go on vacation to pack it in. I like to get all my relaxing over with on the plane ride out there and hit the ground running. For me, the perfect trip is having so many activities to choose from I have to get up early to get started! Stehekin was this kind of trip–it had all the elements I wanted in terms of adventure, sports, nature, beauty and plain old fun! I couldn’t pack enough in between the hiking, biking, swimming and learning to white water kayak! That was the best!
The guides were fantastic teachers. I also loved the hiking–I like hikes to be strenuous and challenging and this one got my adrenalin going! I thought I was going to die scrambling up volcanic rocks and hanging on to the face of a cliff trying to get to the top, and then, what a view!! As far as the eye could see mountains and valleys–it really took my breath away and I’ve done a lot of travelling. And to top it all off, to end the day with good food, great company, full moon, hot tub and a glass of wine, what more could I want in life? I came back exhausted and happy, the perfect vacation!
This is the dream place for anyone wanting to avoid tourists but still see and interact with a stunning display of mother nature. If you want exercise, it’s there in abundance, if you want tranquility you just have to step out the door and into the woods or look out over Lake Chelan and if you’re hungry………. well then you haven’t been to the bakery yet!
This picturesque valley has everything a vacationer would want including, the quaintness of 120 year old homestead homes, great hikes up 8,000 foot McGregor mountain and over gentle hills and the swinging bridge over Agnes Gorge, long mountain rides on old jeep roads, class 1 to 5 whitewater kayaking and rafting and a world class, diet busting bakery! Did I mention the massage in a 18th century homestead house?
For me, the two most memorable events were taking in a 360 degree view of the Northern Cascade mountains and dozens of glaciers from the top of McGregor and getting dunked in the Stehekin River while learning (or not) to transition from a downstream current to an upstream eddy.
My only regret was not staying two days longer.
Paddle tips disappeared in the black water and pushed the kayaks silently past the sleepy homes. The small squadron glided between land and the treacherous log jetsam lapping in the gloom. From the last point of land, the line turned out into the vast lake and vanished from view. Darkness scattered them. Only a splash or a muffled word gave a sense of a position in the void. Everyone moved through their personal world, blind to all about them. Then slowly, a slight glow emerged from high above. An expanding luminary waxed from behind the high peaks with amazing speed. A half-light bathed the lake, and all that had been lost were found again. As one, they moved toward the distant glimmer of their home.
Thanks again to arranging a very nice adventure in the great northern Cascades. We had everything anyone would want, good company, places to explore, great scenic beauty, good quarters, a massage, and the coin game! What more could one ask for?