stehekin, lake chelan...


Nov 3, 2009
We spent our Labor Day weekend on Lake Chelan in Central Washington, a popular summer resort, but given nice Indian Summer that we were having, it was not a bad idea. The Lake itself is rather long, 60+ miles, and the gorge is the deepest in the country.
What was really unexpected, however, was this trip to the North end of the lake, to Stehekin, a tiny community living there. The terrain is limiting, there is absolutely no way to build a road on this rocky land, so the road is only 4 miles, with hard snow in the winter, 0 F, and winds. Luckily, the lake does not freeze and two boats, the Lady of the Lake I and the Lady of the Lake II, bring in products and mail every third day. The population is 83 people in winter and 300 people in summer, including tourists. The nature is awesome, with all kinds of animals and birds there, and it is a national resort but 1/3 of land is privately owned.

They just built a new building for their school. 18 kids go to school every day, and there is one teacher who has been teaching there for 30 years. We have not been to a new school, they say it is off the road, but it is heated by wood so there are always piles of wood around it. In winter it is the "social center" of the village. In summer, there is a bakery.

No internet connection, no cell phones. They told us there are computers in the school, I do not know how they are connected. Definitely no Comcast there.

Some people have lived and died in this wilderness. Almost everyone has relatives on the other side of the lake. Pregnant women are sent out to the other side of the lake on 7th month of pregnancy, there are no doctors in the area. Kids go to school till 8th grade, after that they have options to either go to their relatives on the other side of the lake (or elsewhere) or be homeschooled.

The school was due to start the next day. We saw kids sitting near the bakery, and the teacher standing next to them. They treated him with a lot of respect, nothing compared to what I saw anywhere else.

And even a boat is a very shaky communication. Our boat, Lady of the Lake II, had malfunctioning reverse, so it cut through the wooden pier. The boat had to make a circle and slowly "creep up" to what was left of the pier. It is the second time in two weeks, from what we heard.

It is easy to lose the perspective of what life can be if one lives in a big city.


May 23, 2010
That is really fascinating, Crasru! I love stories like that, and I thank you for telling me about this! :appl:

While we're on tiny communities; You might enjoy "The Lobster Chronicles" by Linda Greenlaw. It's a book about a tiny island with 64 inhabitants, seven miles off the coast of Maine. The author is the female swordfish captain mentioned in "The Perfect Storm".

You might also enjoy this series of photos of children and the different places that they grow up: (scroll down)

It kinda relates to your story of lives that are so different from our own.


Sep 3, 2009
What a great travelogue, Crasru. Quite a wonderful discovery, that town. Sounds like many Alaskan villages. Good for you for finding it -- I love off-the-track traveling!

--- Laurie


Dec 17, 2008
What a cool place to visit. I would love for my kids to see a place like that...I'm sure they would be in shock. :-o
Be a part of the community Get 3 HCA Results