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.