Home Pacific Crest Trail PCT: Taking A Break In Stehekin

PCT: Taking A Break In Stehekin

by Lisa

Holden Village to Stehekin

Coffee! That was my first thought upon waking up – I would have fresh coffee and a buffet breakfast that I didn’t cook. Needless to say I packed my gear up pretty quickly and made my way back down the road to Holden Village. The meal hall was busy and I saw a few people I’d met the night before. And then I saw the buffet. Fresh berries. Lots of them! Plus homemade yogurt, granola, toast and fresh hard-boiled eggs. Everything was homemade and fresh. I was in hiker heaven.

So how was my head feeling? Unfortunately pretty sore. My neck was also in a lot of pain. I figured I had whiplash to go along with my headache. It was okay though because I was going to take the easy way to Stehekin where I’d have a few days off with my husband and some good friends.

After breakfast I had about an hour to myself. I knew I couldn’t sit completely still so I took a lap of the village to enjoy the local scenery. Then it was time to get on the yellow school bus with other village guests for a 45 minute ride down the valley to Lake Chelan.

Copper Mountain towering over Holden

Pookie the yellow school bus

I was pretty excited. I’d realized that I could be on the same ferry to Stehekin as my husband, Dan. Our friends Lauren & Dave were on it as well, which meant I’d get to see them a bit earlier than planned. It was so great to see them at the bow as the small passenger ferry pulled up to the dock. I could feel my worries slipping away – I had people who loved me and could help take care of me.

It was a fun boat ride to the north end of the Lake Chelan. Stehekin is a remote town on the very edge of North Cascades National Park. The only way to access the town is by boat, seaplane, or hiking. There are only 90 year-round residents and everyone else is in town is a tourist or part of the tourism industry.

The passenger ferry on Lake Chelan

Arriving at Stehekin Landing

Stehekin doesn’t really have a town center. Instead it sprawls from the ferry landing to a few miles up the wide and shallow valley. Luckily our campground was right near the ferry dock so we didn’t have to carry our gear too far. Dan had brought our 4-person tent which felt practically luxurious. He also had a bag of clothes I’d packed specifically for our time in Stehekin. Plus he’d brought wine, beer, and snacks!

Have I mentioned yet that it was my and Dan’s anniversary? We were celebrating our 6th year of marriage with this remote weekend together. Instead of cooking a meal at camp we wandered over to the North Cascades Lodge where we could enjoy a glass of wine with a yummy dinner.

Peaks on the west side of Lake Chelan

Our evening wasn’t over yet! After dinner we walked over to the National Park Visitor Centre to enjoy a presentation put on by our friend, Lauren. She’s written a book about the history of North Cascades National Park and had been invited to Stehekin as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations. She shared lots of interesting stories about the Park and even about some of the past residents of Stehekin who’d been vital in the founding of the National Park.

Truly the day couldn’t have been better. I was so glad to be with my husband for our anniversary and to share this trip with good friends too. Even better, I didn’t have to put on a heavy pack for a couple more days! Instead I got to spend my days off trail going for short walks around Stehekin Landing, renting a bike and riding to the famous Stehekin bakery, hiking to some waterfalls, and relaxing!

The infamous and delicious Stehekin Bakery

The view downlake through the smoke




Alice September 14, 2018 - 3:12 pm

Sounds like you had an amazing time!
Love your photos! Great post. xx

Sheila September 16, 2018 - 6:36 am

belated Happy anniversary–I am glad to hear you are doing okay from that horrible fall. I could tell it really rattled you and I know you were hurt.
It is nice that Dad was able to join you for your anniversary and also your friends were there.
I love the name Pookie for the bus
As usual, I love the pictures.
My husband has a cousin who is gone now but Winnie (from England) was a hiker and did hiking in Switzerland. I think somebody in the family might have some of her journals about hiking and I think I have seen pictures of her. This would have been in the early 1900’s so I quite often think of her when I read your stories


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