Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Child's Delight

Today's post was written by a 7 year old in 1992. It's about the simple pleasures of childhood in a remote community.

I live in Stehekin. I live in a big log house. We do not have power off a wire. Our power comes from a pelton wheel. I did not have power in my room until one special day.
I was on my way home from school. Papa had just got home from Chelan.
I ran acr
oss the field. When I got there Papa told me to go look on the counter. It was a light!
“Papa! How could you possibly get this for me? Am I dreaming? I just can not believe this! Will you put it in my room tonight?”
“Yes,” said Papa.
That night Papa worked hard on the light. It seemed to be forever to get the light hooked up. Papa told me to go look at my light. But, papa told me if I went up there I would have to sweep up the swirling, dusty sawdust. So I went up in the dark. But it was not dark, because my light was on!
Then mom said it was time to eat, so I went downstairs. Every minute I would have to go and check on it. It made me feel rich having a light in my room. It seemed to glow like a lantern. That night I got to read in my room!
And now whenever it is time to go to bed I read a little. If I wake up in the morning and no one is awake I just read.
The End

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Glimpses from the Past ~ Pilot Ernie Gibson

The following is reprinted from Stehekin Heritage Guidebook 2015. Ernie built Chelan Airways on service. 

Ernie Gibson, long time owner-pilot of Chelan Airways, spent much of his time transporting folks to and from Stehekin in a wide assortment of aircraft. Everything from fishing trips into Trapper and Domke Lakes to emergency flights to help someone in serious need of medical help. We remember him fondly as a quiet, superb pilot and friend.

Valley potluck for Ernie Gibson when he retired from Chelan Airways
photo by Nancy Barnhart

Ernie Gibson holing a fish he caught at Trapper Lake.
Ernie Gibson on the dock, at Stehekin, with his Cessna 180
Ernie with his airplane, a de Havilland Beaver (a 6-seater)

Chelan Airways plane, back when one could fly in to Trapper lake, on the cover of 1956 Flying Magazine

Gordon Stuart pushing Ernie's plane away from the dock at Domke Lake. Ernie spent many years transporting folks in for a stay at the lake for some great fishing.

Ernie begins loading freight and folks for a  flight from Stehekin dock to Chelan. Chelan Airways was a great, dependable service for folks based here in Stehekin.

How to Take a Mini-Cruise in Stehekin!

Smooth as glass--a perfect "Craig Cat Day!"

How to take a peaceful, beautiful cruise
while at the head of the lake in Stehekin: 

1. Find the Log Office north of the Stehekin Landing

2. Talk to the nice person behind the desk about renting 
a "Craig Cat"

3. With her/his assistance, learn the SIMPLE operating instructions
(my six year old granddaughter can operate them)

4. Board your mini-cruise vessel and you are off on
your adventure with the barely noticeable purr 
of an electronic motor as a backdrop to the amazing scenery...

A canopy is provided for shade

A calm day is best for touring the quiet marshes of the head of the lake. Look for Blue Heron, many kinds of ducks, beaver, fish jumping for bugs. You can even bring your fishing pole!


Keep your eye out for pirate ships along the way, and the Monster of Lake Chelan!!

Could this be the Lake Monster?
Homes at the Head of the Lake--yes people actually live here!
Silver Bay Inn at the mouth of the Stehekin River

Log drift at the mouth of the river--easy to find your way through--watch for a few shallow sand bars!
Weaver Point Campground --a nice place for a picnic lunch

You will find some wonders to behold directly across 
from the Landing, 
A popular spot to visit...

Check out Kayaking on Lake Chelan
Near the Painted Rocks--Head of Lake Chelan

Painted Rocks -worth the visit--Read about them here: The Painted Rocks

You may even see the passenger boats arrive. 
Waves expected. No worries, this craft cannot capsize! 

5.  After absorbing the beauty of the Lake, return your vessel
to the Log Office, and the nice person will be happy to accept your rental fee!

Ahh, your own personal cruise on Lake Chelan!

**Craig Cat Electronic Catamarans cruise at 7 miles per hour. 
Life Jackets are Available at the office
Two comfortable front seats
Two smaller back seats facing backwards
Operator Friendly
**Fair Weather is recommended
                                                               ($30.00 per hour) l.c.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Painted Rocks

Most Stehekin visitors never see the Painted Rocks. Approximately three-quarters of a mile separates the Lodge porch from where early people placed pictographs.

During the summer months the pictographs are visible near the waterline. During the winter when the lake drops twenty-one feet, you lift your eyes upward to see these drawings. An observer might wonder, "If the lake is raised twenty-one feet and pictographs are viewed near eye level, the people who created the pictographs either scaled the wall to create their work or the conditions of the lake were quite different when this white faced wall was used as a message board."
Crossing the lake in any season can offer an exquisite play of light on the water.
A trip across the lake during the winter might offer the opportunity to see some swans.

Some of the symbols painted on the wall. The figure on the left is intriguing. 

If you get the opportunity, visit the Painted Rocks.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Growing Up Stehekin Style: Swimming

A neighbor asked the little guy recently "What do you like best about living in Stehekin?"  "Swimming" he replied.  When asked if it is cold he says "As cold as snow!". True.  I once spent many hours standing on the steps at "the Cabana" while oldest girl learned to swim without her life jacket.  I didn't think I would ever feel my feet again! Went home and put on wool socks and warmed up a rice bag while the outside temperature creeped over 90. Crazy!

Friends swimming at one mile park

Same dock 4 or 5 years by Nancy Barnhart
When the oldest 2 were young, we spent many afternoons at the swimming place near the post office. Those days had moms watching young kids, snacks being shared, sometimes a spontaneous idea to grill burgers for dinner.  Lots of good memories down there.   Logs made into boat with a stick for a paddle.  Wanting to go out to "the log" with the older kids.  Making it out there at last.  Rolling the log to make others fall off. Trips to the store for an ice cream or take out nachos from the restaurant.
At "the log" with friends at the post office swim area
Life jackets and a float tube...hours of fun 

Things change. Kids grow up and are given permission to go on their own.  The girls will often bike down the road to see who is around swimming.   Sometimes little guy and I go to the park alone, but soon some of our friends will show up and join us.  We watch for Dad to row around the river mouth at the end of his fishing trip.  He can see and hear us from there and comes down to join us.   It's hard to remember those winter days with 5' of snow and 9 degrees! What a wonderful life here in Stehekin.

Raft on a rope

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Buckner Lane - A Lovely Stroll

There are many hikes in the Lake Chelan National Recreation area, and a wide variety of skill levels required. But, there is a little gem of a hike in Stehekin that is often overlooked - the Buckner Lane.
a little bit hard to find - just past the bridge over Rainbow Creek
Whether you are walking up the road to go visit the Buckner Orchard, biking with friends, or looking for a small adventure, this short trail is a pleasant excursion. I recently took my three-year-old grandson for an outing and, since he wanted to "hike", we enjoyed the Buckner trail.
starting out with enthusiasm
This short trail goes from the road just past the Rainbow Creek bridge, along the irrigation ditch, into the Buckner Orchard. The irrigation ditch has been established for such a long time that it looks more like a creek than a "ditch".
If visitors to the Orchard are planning to walk in via the long, dusty driveway from the road, this small, shady hike is a much more pleasant alternative. Even bikes can be left at the "trail head" and the coolness of a walk along the creek is the reward for choosing the path less traveled. 
one of the many little bridges on Buckner Lane
As the irrigation ditch carries water into the orchard, meandering around roots and rocks, its babbling is soothing in the quiet of the surrounding forest. There is no need to hurry. 
a resting spot along the stroll into the Buckner Orchard
With bridges and benches, the overarching feeling is that this little trail is here to provide an opportunity to slow down and enjoy the beauty. And, if it's a hot day, sitting on one of the many bridges and dipping feet in the water is very refreshing. 
Right after I said, "don't let your croc fall in the creek", and just
before I had to race along the irrigation creek to try to capture the floating croc!
If strolling with children, a contest to see whose twig can travel from one small bridge to the next can be an fun competition. Counting the bridges, or benches, or downed trees along the way help to teach powers of observation and get the children to engage with their surroundings. It's not uncommon to see deer in the area, or squirrels, woodpeckers and other birds, too. 
'Here comes my stick!"

If you get the chance, slow down and stroll along the Buckner Lane. Remember, you can choose to not be in a hurry when you're in Stehekin.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Evening Program on Saturday night, July 22nd!

When – Saturday Evening, July 22 Where – Stehekin Pastry Co.
Time – 8:00-9:00

Complimentary Transportation – a van will pick up guests at the Landing

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Stehekin Heritage Summer Presentations

Lodging in the Early Years

Field Hotel

A Saturday evening audience of approximately thirty guests gathered at the Stehekin Pastry Company  to learn about early lodges established in the Stehekin Valley. Patty Wilsey and her husband, John, put the lodging program together and will share it with valley visitors several more times this summer. 

Guests were reminded of the extraordinary imagination, labor and tenacity it took to construct and maintain the valley's historical lodging on homestead land. Today valley visitors are served by a new era of food and lodging choices. Just as in the early years of Stehekin's lodging history, contemporary services are fueled by the same extraordinary imagination, labor that inspired early valley residents. Today's private lodging exists on Stehekin's few remaining acres of private property.   

Next Saturday evening's presentation: "Stehekin's Heritage: A Gift Worth Saving" by Liz & Tom Courtney

Rainbow Lodge (site of Stehekin's New School)

Rainbow Lodge 

Rainbow Lodge

Who would have thought that the school’s basketball court, where we have so much fun today, used to be the location of Stehekin’s Rainbow Lodge? It was here that Lydia George, her sister Althea Rice and nephew Donald Rice operated the lodge along with handyman, Jamie Jamison. The Rainbow Lodge started as a boarding house in 1911 for miners, hikers and Stehekin visitors. The lodge was closed in 1946.

Lydia George was the owner of the Rainbow Lodge. She was born in 1872 in Iowa. Lydia lived in Stehekin as early as 1905 when she worked for Henry Buckner as a telephone operator. At the time, a telephone line strung to Horseshoe Basin. It must sound very strange that they had a telephone line that went to Horseshoe Basin in 1905 and that there is none now.

In the winter of 1909-1910, Lydia George cooked for a crew of thirty miners in the Horseshoe Basin mine. In March of 1910 Lydia and her brother hiked out of the mine. It took them two days on snowshoes. When they reached the valley Lydia’s brother left on the mail boat and was never heard from again.Lydia had a different idea.
Lydia decided that she wanted to work for herself so she bought eleven acres of land from Bill Buzzard. Lydia then hired Henry Buckner to build a six room house in 1911. The house became Rainbow Lodge, a boarding house for miners, fishermen, teachers and children.

In 1922, Lydia George went into partnership with Harry W Jamie Jamison. Jamie was a handyman, carpenter, gardener and a tour bus driver. He provided maintenance for the lodge and built private guest cabins for Lydia. He also drove a bus that brought visitors to Rainbow Falls and then went to the Rainbow Lodge for lunch

Lunch consisted of mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, roast beef, sliced tomatoes and cold slaw. Most of the food came from the lodge’s garden. The lodge’s cows provided fresh milk and butter. The lodge also had a telescope that visitors could look through that was sighted in on McGregor. Lydia would call the operator of the small forest service fire lookout on top of McGregor and he would come out and wave. Today this would be impossible.  You would not be able to look up at McGregor from today’s basketball court because there have been so much forest growth since the early to mid 1900s. After lunch, Jamie would take those guests not staying at the lodge back down to the landing and boat going down the lake. The lodge was operated from 1911 to 1946

Forty years later you can get off the boat, get on the Rainbow Falls tour bus and drive to Rainbow Falls. You would then stop at the bakery and then head to the boat. 
This is showing the similarity between the 1910-1946 and the twenty first century.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Evening on the Stehekin River

Starting out at Harlequin
Floating along in the evening light


Stopped for dinner and fishing as the sun slips down the mountain  

The Stehekin River:  the "other road" down the valley.  From the river you can see sights you never see any other way.  We floated down with good friends the other night, stopped for dinner and some sitting, some fishing, some beaver watching and some picture taking.  Little guy was casting like crazy every which way.  No hook, lucky for the rest of us!  Big guy caught a couple of Rainbows while the rest of us lounged on the beach.

Peaceful parking

The fisherman

Beautiful waters
On one dinner trip we watched a beaver cross this channel several times

Mouth of the river looking downlake.  We watched a family of beavers along the shore

Nice evening