This is our trip up Lake Chelan in Eastern Washington. What a contrast to the lush green of Western Washington. Here at the south end of the lake the annual rainfall is only about 10 inches. The land is rocky and dry, except where it is irrigated to produce the large crops of apples and peaches and grapes that Eastern Washington is so well known for.
The dark green is an apple orchard, next to irrigated pasture land.
The hills even at this time of spring are rocky and barren, sparsely covered by scrub and low dry bushes.
Here is the indomitable builder of over 55,000 model sailboats (myself) as we head up the lake to the North end 50 miles away.
Some of my crew:
And the rest of my crew, Cynthia, Robyn and my Mother, who at 79 still loves to travel. We are on board a fairly large commercial boat that runs up and down Lake Chelan, providing the only access to the North end of the lake and the town of Stehekin. There are no roads to Stehekin, just the boat.
The lake is long and narrow, fiord-like, carved by glaciers through the mountains. The water is absolutely clear and intensely blue. As we progress up the lake, the mountains get larger and more rugged. We are now entering the North Cascades range from the east side.
Rocky crags make dramatic scenes on each side of the boat as mountains soar to seven and eight thousand feet. After four hours traveling by boat, we arrive at Stehekin.
This afternoon at Stehekin is windy, but why not go for a sail! We reef down the sails on our two T15 Racing Sloops by wrapping the mainsail twice around the mast. This works very well on the T15 in strong winds. And the boats are off, racing across to the dock.
Sudden gusts come down the lake in excess of 25 miles per hour. The lake surface is covered with whitecaps, but the T15s continue to sail beautifully and fast with their sails reefed.
After sailing we make dinner. We will spend the night in a cabin at Stehekin in a nice room overlooking the lake. The next morning the wind has calmed down to a light breeze. We unreef the sails and go out for a morning sail. What a place for a sail with such spectacular scenery!
Robyn is very good at catching the boats when they get to the dock. Later in the morning we go for a walk along the lake shore and head up to a waterfall about three and a half miles up the valley from the lake.
More sailing in the afternoon. We are not the only beautiful wooden boats at the dock. This is a classic wooden planked speedboat built in Bellingham in the 1930's. She came up the lake on the same day we did. It is a pleasure to see such fine varnish work.
We spend a second night at the lodge, sleeping very soundly in the cool mountain air with the silence of the mountains wrapped around us. The third day is rainy with low clouds. The clouds have slipped over the pass from Western Washington. The time has come to head home. As we approach the Southern end of the lake, the clouds vanish and the sun is out. We are back to summer and the dry hillsof Eastern Washington.
What a fine trip we have had! It is a good start to the summer!
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