Spring break at the beach (sort of)

Lake Chelan is a 55 mile long natural finger lake surrounded by foothills on one end and towering peaks at the other. At a depth of 1000 feet in places, the water is cold, clear, and seems the ideal home for a cousin of Nessy. I have yet to spot Chelanny, though.lc27There are a couple of resort towns at the southern arid end and a couple of super remote tiny mountain towns at the other along with a smattering of summer cabins. For access, you need to either hike, swim (takes about 36 hours), paddle, charter a flying object, or lounge on a ferry. A terrible swimmer…I chose the latter.lc2This time of year (early Spring) the boat drops you off at Stehekin where a 17 mile long trail begins. The Lakeshore Trail flanks the Lake on the Southwest facing shore and so melts out quickly if it holds any snow at all during the winter.lc25The first four miles were pretty brutal, as a fire several years back left a charred forest and winter winds brought down several sentinels across the tread. I had many charcoal stains from climbing the downfall. lc11Although I know it is part of the cycle of life, I still found it pretty depressing. It didn’t help that the trail was rather void of vibrance as the wildflowers were absent so far. Feeling pretty funky and unable to find a suitable campsite that wasn’t someone’s cottage deck, I spied a shelter with a bear-box. It was as if the clouds had parted and angels began to sing like something out of Monty Python.  lc22As you can see, I ignored the kiosk at the dock talking of permits and wasted no time squatting. I considered it my duty to warm up the place in preparation for the onslaught of summer boaters with their radios, pool-floaties, and herckin’ coolers. (Actually…)lc3For those who know Park regulations, that is not a dog, by the way…just the big stuffed animal I like to backpack with. I like to set her, I mean “it,” up when my photographs are missing a proper foreground.lc18The spot is amazing with views of snowy peaks up and down lake, a granite outcropping, fire pit, and actual living trees. You should know my normal “MO” is to find a secret-up-high-on-a-heathery-shelf-with-wicked-views-and-a-bug-shooing-breeze spot to set up my tent. Because of that, of course, one has to toss a line up high in a gnarly tree to critter-proof the food bag. Its always wildfire season, so a fire is out of the question. And water is typically via a 400 foot descent and a backpack full of empty bladders. Not this time, baby!lc23No, this site was very lounge-able as evidenced by this foot-up-the-tree pose.lc21And this almost painfully perfect moment of meditation. lc5The following day, my toy-dog and I decided to head upwards in search of more expansive views. The aforementioned post-burn-brutality, unfortunately continued and even multiplied. With so many downed trees and limbs, it was really difficult to gain purchase.lc13 I thought it might get better upon reaching the snow line, but the conditions were pretty postholio. This is what I like to imagine Beavis & Butthead would call snow conditions where your footing drops out from underneath you and you find yourself somewhere between shin and crotch, lucky to have your joints still intact. It can occur from soft deep snow or when the warming ground melts out the snow from bottom-up, leaving a sneaky void underneath.  lc16 Still, I managed to find some signs of life. lc17 lc14lc9lc12And this guy was a special treat lounging on his high shelf with the wicked view found in the first photo of this post. lc28

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