Stehekin is located at the northwest end of Washington States’s pristine 50.5 mile long glacier fed Lake Chelan. It is a key stop for hikers along the Pacific Crest Trail before the trail ends in Canada.
Freshly showered Pacific Crest Trail Hikers
The hikers above told me they can no longer smell their body odor after a few days, but they can smell a clean person’s shampoo, body lotion and laundry detergent from far away!
The name Stehekin is an Indian word (more specifically Columbia-Moses) meaning “the way through”. Stehekin, according to a 2003 article I read while writing this, is the most remote community in the lower 48 states. There are only about 75 year round residents.
Kids are educated from K to 8 in a one-room log schoolhouse. The post office is one of the smallest in the country.
There are no roads leading to Stehekin. The only ways in are by boat, floatplane, small airplane, hiking or horse back over the Cascade Pass. Our family takes the two(-ish) hour, 50 mile ride from Chelan by boat.
We explore and picnic along the way
Because vehicles have to be barged in, there are very few. Most vehicles in Stehekin are old, and uncomputerized for the simple reason that they are easier to repair.
The National Park Service maintains the historic Buckner Homestead and farm/orchard as an interpretive center to give visitors a glimpse at pioneer life in the Stehekin Valley.
Buckner Orchard and wild deer feasting
Side view and backyard of my favorite house (barely visible, in silhouette, left side of this photo)
There are three restaurants in Stehekin. They are The Stehekin Lodge, which is very nice; The Stehekin Valley Ranch, more commonly known as “The Ranch”, and The Stehekin Pastry Company.
The Ranch is the most scenic dinner restaurant. Diners eat in a rustic cook house on endlessly long chunky hand hewn picnic style tables and benches. The vaulted ceiling and walls are framed with enormous logs. Pots of coffee and water are heated on top of an oversized wood stove with an open flame, centered in front of a two-story wall of windows. The wall of windows overlooks a meadow and a stunning ridge of the Cascade Mountains. Abundant servings of food are prepared with fresh local ingredients.
The Ranch’s dinner menu
The Stehekin Pastry Company, more commonly known as “The Bakery” is open for breakfast and lunch. It’s our favorite breakfast spot.
A major mode of local transportation, bikes parked next to a creative planter at The Bakery
The House that Jack Built is a cooperative shop that sells local creations. The shop carries beautiful hand carved wood bowls, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, hand knit scarves, hats, sweaters, fabric pot holders, photographs, books, baby clothes, and other treasures. Some of the items for sale are made by talented school kids.
Butterfly on BridgeWe like to drive by this cliff on our way in and our way out of Stehekin…They are somewhat tough to see, but if you look close, you can detect ancient Northwest Indian paintings on this cliff