Thursday, June 9, 2011


After spending 6 days driving across the country from georgia to Washington, Kate's mom met us in Chelan, WA, on the other side of the lake from our final destination, Stehekin. When I say "other side of the lake," it's actually a 55-mile boat ride across the lake lenghtwise. The lake is a skinny, glacier-carved lake with nearly sheer sides, making it impossible to get there by car. The ferry runs in each direction one time per day, so it's quite a major deal to go in and out of Chelan for supplies. We had to get the majority of our errands done in one swell foop. We spent one day shopping, banking, and setting up accounts at stores to have stuff shipped to us so that we would be able to get what we need from Stehekin. Then we packed it all onto the loading dock--maybe 900 pounds of supplies in all (you pay by the pound to have it shipped), and the next morning we said our good-byes and were on the ferry to Stehekin.

There are actually two ferries that run parallel to each other, the faster boat costing more. We ended up taking the slow boat and learned that it is often a smoother ride and quite enjoyable with some amazing scenery to enjoy the entire trip. If you are in it for the long run like we are, there's no reason to rush it. You see these mountains jutting thousands of feet straight out of the lake along the length of the trip:

we trucked our stuff from the boat 6 miles up valley to our summer cabin. There are cars here in Stehekin, it's just that they have to be barged in--a luxury we will not be taking advantage of here. Our cabin is quite nice--it's a 2 bedroom house that we have for ourselves and guests. It's got most of the amenities such as electricity, water, a cute little gas fireplace for heat, full bathroom, washer and dryer, and a kitchen with everything except for a dishwasher. There's even a little storage building out back for us to keep our bikes and tools in. And there are no keys for anything. They tell us there really is no point in locking anything here. You really can't get very far with stealing anything in Stehekin. So here we live for the summer:
Since we arranged to have one full day between arrival and starting work, we spent that day exploring the area on our bikes. It's a 6-mile commute through the valley to our office, between which the "town" of 80-some residents is spread out. Just up the valley from us, there is a little clearing alongside the river where some beavers are working on a dam. It's actually the first time I really had a good look at beavers in the wild. we watched them for a long time from less than 100 feet away, and the giant rodents didn't seem to be bothered by our presence:
Down the valley we crossed Harlequin bridge, which offers breathtaking views of the Stehekin river and the mountains in the background during our commute:
Our next stop was the famous bakery; really, the only bakery in town. We had a scrumptious lunch with coffee and pastries before continuing on the ride:

The next stop was the organic garden. We met Karl, the owner, who showed us around and sold us a pound of creamy goat cheese. Although we will be ordering and shipping in goods from the grocery store in Stehekin, we are very excited about the idea of getting some of our produce from a very local source. A little further along the way, the road opens up to the lake, with amazing views. We decided to take some pictures of what would be our daily commute to work with Kate and her vehicle:

After checking out town and meeting more people in town, we took a stroll down the lakeshore trail, just beyond the the visitor's center. What a spectacular time to arrive here! The wildflowers are in full bloom, and we walked through fields of lupine along the trail. Much of the area had fires recently. The combination of freshly cleared areas and perhaps the right weather made for some interesting contrast between the scorched trees surrounded by colorful blooms:
Our two weeks of training have started well. Most of the job centers around the Golden West Visitor Center, which is just above the ferry landing. From there we'll spend a fair amount of time manning the visitor desk and giving talks and presentations around the center:
There are also some tours with the bus to a historic orchard and a nearby waterfall. Our orientation to the Rainbow falls tour was quick, since the spring runoff made for a very wet view of the falls from the viewing platform blasted by mist:We spent some time in the orchard for our training, soaking in the warm sun and beautiful scenery around us:
We've been excited about our first five days here and we look forward to a full season of adventures. We're looking forward to visitors to break the occasional loneliness, and we already have some names on the calendar. We welcome all friends to visit and stay with us--just check with us ahead of time if you want a guaranteed guest room. Otherwise, there are lodges and campgrounds all over the valley.