Wednesday, August 8, 2018

2018-24 Washington State, Leavenworth a Bavarian Town


A Bonus Report

Lake Chelan to a remote village (Stehekin) 

Coulee City
Cashmere Washington
Leavenworth Washington

Campground:  Coulee City Community Park.  $27 50 amp full hookups, nice swimming area.  Town is almost a ghost town.  
at Coulee City park I was able to wash the truck and camper

Campground: Chelan County Expo Center. $27, full hookups, 50 amp. Flat grassy sites, restroom available. Basic camping.

another Fairground/Expo campsite

Campground:  Eight Mile Campground:  Group site, my cost $40 for 3 days.  No hookups, it was basically a tent group site with a parking lot for approx 20 cars, we were able to cram in 8 Rv's.

A group campsite, designed for tenters
but we made it work for 8 Rv's

I plan on only providing occasional reports from each state I’m in, rather than my weekly reports that I’ve done over the past 14 years of travel. I’m in the Leavenworth area to join a wonderful group of Rv friends that I’ve met throughout my years on of the road.

Continuing on, I traveled from Coeur d’Alene Idaho where I explored a bit of the area, before heading west on highway 2. My first stop for a couple of days was to Coulee City.  An interesting feature in the area is the Sun Lakes Dry Falls State Park.  It features a large carved out section looking much like the Grand Canyon.  It was created by the largest flood of water after the 12 to 15,000 years ago ice age had damned up a huge lake.  As waster was finally able to crest the glacial dam, it quickly eroded and millions upon millions of gallons of water came pouring through scouring the land eventually reaching the ocean.  This geologic event was not known about until recent years and it is believed to have occurred several times the glacier blocked the passage of water damming the water, eventually releasing it each time in torrents of  flooding, more than any other event in geologic history. 

Sun Lakes Dry Falls State Park

Sun Lakes Dry Falls State Park

a glacial dam burst, rapidly flooding the area
several times during the last ice age 12-15,000 years ago 
From Spokane Washington to Cashmere, the drive through eastern Washington state was an unexpected surprise of wonderful prairie farmlands growing golden hay in gently rolling hills. Where ever there was a farm house and outbuildings ahead, there were also tall evergreens like giant exclamation points in the sky. Just the most stunning scenery before gradually turning more rustic with rough lands of sagebrush not suitable for farming. Then I went though Douglas (how cool is that) and Waterville before heading down miles of 6% grade of winding roads. The new brake controller worked well after I had adjusted it a couple of times, making the ride down hill with 10,000 lbs of camper pushing behind me no problem what so ever.

The area I’m in is noted for the many fruit tree farms, apricot, pear, apples, peaches all about to be harvested. Where they find the workers to pick all the fruit is beyond me, though there is still a large contingent of Mexican workers in the area, but one wonders for how much longer.

The town of Cashmere, where I’m camping for a couple of days in advance of our mini jamboree has an awesome history museum with an exception collection of Native Indian artifacts and some well preserved historic log cabins and buildings from the late 1800’s. There are also a couple of huge Antique emporiums in town, that would take the serious shopper hours to browse each isle. Apple Anne’s also has the 59 Diner that even has “low Carb” selections on their menu, thank you very much. Though the milk shakes are awfully tempting.

Cashmere History museum and Pioneer Village

Holly Hocks

barber shops were often the only source of doctoring as well

an exceptional collection of NW Indian artifacts

Native Indian artifacts

museum has audio tours as well, excellent resource

Up the street about a 15 minute drive is the town of Leavenworth, a Bavarian style town which was reborn in the 1960’s after the railroad and other mining and lumber went by the wayside. It’s original name was Icicle which I think would be a great name now that it’s been transformed into a Bavarian/Swiss town. Kirsten and Cline live here during the summers and are hosting our camping group this coming weekend. It’s an awesome town to explore, nice river walk as well. The day I toured the town, there was an art show in the little park in town. Not the greatest artists I’ve seen, but still fun to walk through. Of course all the shops and Bavarian style restaurants are fun to explore. Including a few great wine shops, mostly featuring the Washington vineyards. Who knew there were so many wineries in Washington state.

Leavenworth, an old lumber/railroad town
re-invented itself in the last 1960's

Now a thriving Bavarian style town

surrounded by 5-8,000 ft high alpine mountains

creating a wonderful atmosphere

a short walk down from town is a great river walk

On Saturday I’m heading out on a 6 hour boat tour up Lake Chelan to a remote village (Stehekin) with no roads leading to it, the only access to the town in the middle of this remote wilderness of mountain ranges, forests and lake is via a ferry boat ride. Cost $61.00 round trip…. I’m not walking back folks (grin).

Saturday morning turned out to be a smoky start to the day, heading the hours drive to Lake Chelan. I ended up taking the Express ferry to Stehekin, at the end of the lake, up lake as they say. Crowded and no really good places on the boat to take pictures along the way, as the outside seating was filled way before I got on the boat. On the return trip I took the larger boat, with bigger windows, nice narrow tables and lots more seating options. Unfortunately the steep walls of the canyon like lake was filled with foggy smoke most of the way.

 a remote village (Stehekin) 

The destination community was enjoyable for a day trip, but to get the full experience it would be best to stay overnight at least a few days. This is hiking, fishing and boating country, with hiking being the main sport of choice. I saw lots of hikers with their backpacks, duffle bads filled with tents, sleeping bags et all. I enjoyed a nice lunch, joining a couple other fellow visitors who were staying overnight and hiking 5 and 10 mile hikes while here. Later I took the historic red bus to the waterfalls which was super cool. Fun to see the more adventurous folks jumping in the base of the waterfalls for a cooool splash. The history of the community is very interesting and learning about the 84 people that live here year around. Some with kids that go to a one-room school, though the new school has six rooms, it’s still considered a one room school with only one teacher.

after traveling up lake for over two and half hours
we arrive at the remote town at the end of the lake

our National park tour red bus to the water falls

I loved the light on the waterfalls this afternoon

the town of 84 permanent residents
has no road into the remote wilderness town

historic log cabins

permanent residents live year round in this most remote wilderness

many hikers come here to hike and tent camp

The upper end of Lake Chelan
it's all National park wilderness from here on out

I took a day trip lasting over 6 hours
to get the full effect it would be great to stay
overnight or a few nights

Electricity is provided by a hydro-power. A water wheel turns off of a river nearby. If more power is needed, they have a backup diesel powered generator. I can just image what it’s like after the “tourists” head on back down lake and the place becomes quiet and peaceful once again.

Love walking amongst the Douglas Fir, Western hemlock, and Red cedar. Such big trees, makes me feel kind of small.

our group campsite, where we had to line up in the parking lot
fortunately, the Washington group was awesome and enjoyable
to be together even with close quarters

A 30 minute drive to the forest group campsite where I’ll meet up with the Washington Rv group. I was the first one there with an Rv. Our group campsite is designed for tenters with a parking lot for about 20 cars. We have 8 big Rv’s coming. As the first one in, I drove into the parking lot and realized quickly that I would not be able to make the turn around in the parking lot. That said, I ended up backing out of the lot, turning around and backing into the parking lot once again. Cline and Kirsten were there to help spot me while I made all those maneuvers.

pretty cool for being in our Bavarian setting

I did the short hike, others did a longer hike along Icicle River

good friends Tom and Chris

Elaine (center) did a great job setting up the get to gether

With that, we were able to direct all the other Rv-ers into how to get into the tight situation. The site has great forest shaded campsites and sits next to a babbling brook. The river being filled with rocks and small boulders making the water dance across and around them.

It’s expected to get up to 100 degrees over the next couple of days and even though we are close quarters, I intend to use the generator and turn on the a/c for at least a couple hours in the afternoon.

A short and long hike on Icicle Creek. I went for the short hike which was pretty awesome with lots of tall pines, cedars and Douglas Firs. I hasn’t taken long for the heat to start building up, but when we got back to the campground around noon, my camper was still a cool 78 degrees. Since the other hikers wouldn’t be back for a while, I turned on the generator and a/c to keep the camper as cool as possible. Being the noise factor of the larger generator, I like running it when further away from fellow campers or when they are not around.

along our day hike

Kirsten, Erich, Sandy, and me (Doug)

a forest road, leading to many hiking
and camping opportunities

Washington state has been an adventure, and I’m discovering and the landscape is so diverse, whether along the coast line or the Columbia Gorge, or in the mountains and dryer prairie. Spending time with the Washington group has been not only pleasant, but everyone enjoys each other company that if feels like family or friends I’ve known for years. Of course some I have known for years and years, others it’s like meeting up with new friends.

our last evening together, thanks to Tom for the
gas fireplace which is approved during this high fire danger season.

Well that’s more than enough about this journey.

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