Life is just a bowl of cherries (or so we thought when it came to Washington). We were wrong. It’s a bowl of grapes.
As we drove into the park, I had the thought that this was, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful parks we’ve ever stayed in. That’s quite a statement considering we’ve been full-timing for over 10 years.
All the RV spots are along the Columbia River – a very short walk from the sites. The photos below were taken as I walked south on the park path. The first is a view turned right towards our RV, the second is turned left towards the dock that we could have used to moor our boat! It couldn’t have been more convenient and we have never had the ability to do this before. The park path runs about five miles along the shores of the Columbia and Entiat Rivers.
A Day in Chelan
Lake Chelan extends 50 miles and adjoins North Cascades National Park. It is relatively narrow (less than two miles) but the nation’s third deepest lake after Crater and Tahoe, about 1,500 feet.
At the North Cascades NP end of the lake is a small unincorporated community of Stehenkin. The waters there are described as “fjord-like.” There are no roads to Stehenkin, so if you want to see it, you hike or go by boat. We chose the latter but unfortunately, the wind came up that day and we only made it about two-thirds of the way. (A new entry on the bucket list.)
Washington State’s Ultimate Road Trip
There are nine regions on this 440 mile adventure. We drove the portion from Chelan to Mazama, about 75 miles each way, following the path of the Methow River. The whole trip was gorgeous. The high point was definitely the town of Twisp. Twisp is an official Creative District in Washington and boasts the work of hundreds of local artists and makers, including a thriving music and theatrical arts scene. We were there mid-week and it was very quiet, but we enjoyed the native garden, our East Indian lunch from the “Fork” food truck on site, and our visit with the tree artisan – a former carpenter who followed his bliss into furniture-making.
Driving back along the Methow River, suddenly a deer collided with our truck! It was 3PM and this deer came flying across the highway into the driver-side door. I looked up and saw it through the driver window. D.A. took quick evasive action pulling to the right, and the deer slid along the truck. D.A. came to a stop and the deer was long gone. The only evidence was some hair stuck on the mud flap. We took a moment for our hearts to come back to rhythm while we counted our blessings!
Another day I was on the search for cherries. There were none at the local produce shop, so I went south to Wenatchee and west to the Bavarian village of Leavenworth. The timber community, incorporated in 1096, had struggled over the years to revitalize itself. It was the regional office of the Great Northern Railway and housed the second largest sawmill in Washington state.
The railroad operations relocated to Wenatchee and over the years the population declined as lumber mills and stores relocated.
The city turned to tourism and recreation and even opened a ski jump in 1929. 1929! Eventually, in 1962, an improvement committee was formed in partnership with the University of Washington to investigate ways to revitalize the town. The theme town idea was created by two Seattle businessmen.
Leavenworth is now seen as one of Washington state’s best attractions and an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise: hiking, skiing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, floating on SUP, backcountry camping. Did I mention shopping?
Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries
I found them at Smallwood’s Harvest along with asparagus and Huckleberry jelly. All is well!
We’re moving east to Republic, in the heart of Washington’s gold country.