WENATCHEE NATIONAL FOREST, WA ::
The Lakeshore Trail is an incredible hike that is well worth the extra effort to reach it. After a three hour car ride to Chelan from the Seattle area, backpackers must board a passenger ferry
that takes another three hours to arrive at the trailhead near Prince Creek. Fortunately, Kristie and I were staying at nearby Campbell's Resort
for a conference, so my journey to the trail was divided into a more leisurely two days.
Aboard the ferry, I met a trio of seasoned backpackers who were taking three days to hike the 18 miles to Stehekin. I had planned to do it in two, camping at Flick Creek, 14 miles in. That would leave just the last four miles for the following day, ensuring an early arrival at the Stehekin Lodge and plenty of time to catch the express ferry back to Chelan.
At Prince Creek, the four of us deboarded as a group of about 20 other backpackers, who had just finished the reverse route, climbed on. They warned us of rattlesnakes and ticks, which I fortunately did not find. Nor did I see another person on the entire trail.
I did spot dozens of lizards, chipmunks, birds, deer and a lone mountain goat. Of course, I also enjoyed the amazing views of Lake Chelan, the third deepest lake in the United States. The weather was perfect. Sunny and warm, but refreshingly breezy. The air was filled with the sweet fragrance of ponderosas and purple lupine. At times, the sunlight filtered through the lake, producing an amazing turquoise color. I think I wore a smile during the entire hike.
At Flick Creek, my jaw dropped in awe, and then I laughed giddily in disbelief. Here lies the most beautiful campsite on the trail, and perhaps one of the best I've ever seen. The site is located alongside a bouldered shore, with views of snow-capped peaks over the gem-like lake. A floating dock, log shelter, picnic table, fire pit, bear locker, and fancy toilet are some of the other amenities. I was surprised it wasn't already claimed by another backpacker or boating party. There's really only room here for one group. Lucky me!
It was great! At Flick Creek, I soaked it all in, enjoying a most excellent evening, relaxing amidst nature in my own private paradise, thinking, "THIS is what backpacking is all about!"
The next day I walked into Stehekin, the most isolated community in the contiguous United States, where everyone waves and says, "Hello!" I washed up and changed into a fresh shirt, making it to the cozy little restaurant just in time for breakfast (9:30 AM is when they stop serving). Here I enjoyed the most tasty omelet, sausage, fried potatoes and sliced apples that I think I've ever had... It was certainly a fine way to top off a wonderful hike.
Trip report posted with additional discussion at nwhikers.net
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