The Chelan Chronicles, Part III of IV
Sunday 14 October 2012 — Category: Outings
While on my four-day outing to Lake Chelan in Washington state — iPad in hand! — I chronicled my entire journey from Chelan to Stehekin and back throughout each day, as I had opportunity to sit down and write a few words. This is the third of four reports of my adventures there.bear country, from what the ranger told me a couple of days ago ... I shall see!
You can read Part One of this series in The Chelan Chronicles, Part I of IV
You can read Part Two of this series in The Chelan Chronicles, Part II of IV
I’m at the restaurant once again, hoping that my French toast will not take too long, so I can be in good time for the bus. The restaurant opens at 7:00, the bus leaves at 8:00, and the service is really slow. Tomorrow I’m not taking the bus, so I won’t be in a hurry, and I will probably eat a big breakfast a bit later, and not have much of a lunch.
I went to bed at 9:00 last night ... I was very tired. I didn’t really feel like getting up this morning, but I guess it’s good to go out for one last hike here. This should be that last intense day of my trip ... the remaining four days after today should be more relaxed.
Well, time is ticking away ... I sure hope my breakfast comes soon. I really don’t like being on a tight schedule like this ... and someone else’s schedule at that. It seems like I’m constantly hurrying up to wait! Be back later....
Now I’m on the bus ... no thanks to the restaurant. It took a LONG time to get my food, and I scarfed it down quickly, left money on the table without getting a bill, and rushed back to my room to make my last-minute preparations.
Luckily I had been smart enough to make as many preparations as I could the evening before, instead of imagining I would have enough time after breakfast. After brushing my teeth, I quickly ran to the ice machine to fill up my bucket, so I could have a nice cold beer once I get back about 4:00 in the afternoon.
Now we are parked at the bakery, and I’m the only one left on the bus! There were not as many people on the bus as yesterday, but today EVERYONE got off to get food and drink, and even the driver got out to stretch his legs and enjoy the fresh air. I guess I’m not part of the “in” crowd. I don’t like being in another hurry and fighting the crowd ... I prefer the tranquility and silence of the empty bus.
It’s now 8:30, and the bus had dropped me off at the upper-valley, northern trailhead for the Rainbow Loop Trail. The map I got at the visitors center says it’s a four-and-a-half-mile hike to the southern trailhead back on the main road, but the sign here indicates that it’s five miles — hard to say which is correct. Time to hit the trail!
Well, here I am, at 3:20, sitting on a log by the side of the road, close to Rainbow Falls, waiting for the bus to drive by and pick me up ... it should arrive around 3:30. Mosquitos have been eating me alive on and off for the past couple of hours ... what do they eat when I’m not here?
I’m SO glad I went on this hike today ... it was really worth it! It was definitely harder than yesterday’s, with about a 1000 foot (300 meters) gain in elevation, and then the same back down again ... not on the same path, it was a loop. But, I made it OK, and it wasn’t too hard.
Well, it’s 5:10, and I’m back in the restaurant for dinner. Gosh ... seems like I’m always in the restaurant! Well, not really, but it’s one of the few times during the day that I’m sitting still long enough to have time to write something. Oops ... gotta go!
OK ... now it’s about two hours later, and I’m back in my room. The dinner was good ... the best meal I've had here. A nice, thin steak, cooked just right. A baked potato with butter and sour cream. I couldn’t face the cooked veggies again, so I was able to get a salad instead ... and it wasn’t just a couple of handfuls out of a sack! A roll with butter and a glass of wine ... all in all very nice! Too expensive for what it was, but that’s life at this end of the lake!
When I got on the bus at Rainbow Falls this afternoon, there was a woman with a young girl ... the girl was very talkative ... she reminded me of my youngest daughter, Olivia. Seems like these two are hiking part of the Pacific Crest Trail together. Wow! I don’t think Olivia would be willing to walk so many miles each day, carrying a heavy pack. Nope!
I saw them at dinner, and I would say the girl is younger than Olivia, maybe 9? The woman seemed older than I had first imaged ... mid 30’s, or even 40? That must be quite an adventure, a woman hiking the PCT with a 9 year old girl! Gosh! I wonder if they were inspired by that ten-year-old girl who thru-hiked the entire 2,650-mile trail?
Anyway, back to my walk. Even though the ranger had said there had been lots of bear sightings on that trail, I didn’t see any. But I think I saw some bear poop. And I might have heard a bear, because at one point there were loud noises in some bushes not far off, and it sounded a lot larger than a bird or squirrel. Yikes! At the end of my hike, the mosquitos were a lot more deadly than the bears!
There were some really gorgeous views on the trail, both in the forest and of the surrounding mountains, valley and lake. Up to this point, I have a bit over 1,200 photos ... not bad considering that on some past trips, I've taken nearly that many in one day! Some of them are coming out really nice. I’m going to have a lot of work processing them once I get home.
After the Rainbow Loop trail, I walked a mile to Rainbow Falls. I’m glad I had time and didn’t skip it, because it was worth it. I've seen quite a few falls in Oregon, but this one was unique and worth seeing. I spent a good hour photographing it from two different viewpoints. I had about ten minutes to just sit and rest before heading back to the main road to catch the bus.
Now that I’m not going on any more hikes this trip, I need to take some time and repack my stuff, so everything is in the right bag tomorrow. I REALLY like that black camera backpack I bought a couple of months ago. It’s awesome for a day pack to carry most of my camera equipment, plus a handful of other items. That’s what I’ll be using tomorrow, and when I walk around Seattle on Saturday.
Well, I guess that’s it for now. In less than 24 hours I’ll be back in Chelan — back to cell phone coverage, the Internet, my own wheels, and the rest of civilization.