To call Stehekin a small town is probably being generous. It is basically a tiny land locked island, complete with all the complications of being an island. It’s hard to get anything there, if you have to go to the doctor “down lake” you have to spend the night in a hotel, all the cars there are basically derelict and when they die they call their final resting place… their final resting place. Because it is too expensive to tow them off the island.
We started our Saturday morning out with a classic Stehekin hurdle – how were we going to get to the bakery. We had managed to secure one extra bike the night before but now Marieke was on the hunt for a fifth and final bike. After wandering the NPS compound for about twenty minutes she came back wheeling a real looker with two flat tires. “Guess we will see if these hold air!” she announced as she rummaged through someone else’s bike bag to find a hand pump. It seems almost everything in Stehekin is somewhat communal.
We all of us finally equipped with two wheels we biked down towards the Bakery with a quick side trip through the Buckner Orchards to check out the project that Wade has been working on: restoring a 100 year old cabin! Once we had all had a chance to oo and ah at the handiwork and get our daily dose of lead paint we continued on towards the Bakery. My stomach was grumbling.
Finally we were there, walking up the steps and standing in front of a glass case filled to the brim with goodies. I immediately went into a tailspin – I wanted to eat everything! I ordered a spinach and mushroom croissant and a cinnamon role. The cinnamon role was the size of my head. We took our plates outside and I was in hog heaven. Everyone shared their sweets so I also got to try a piece of apple pie, a danish and a slice of key lime pie. Best breakfast ever. I couldn’t help but wax poetic about the ways in which the Bakery had saved us when we were on the PCT. We had come in perma-frozen thanks to the downpour we had walked through to get there and I had the most amazing asparagus soup of my life. Yum.
After the Bakery we biked back towards the compound but stopped by Rainbow Falls for a side trip! A very quick little jaunt took us up to the viewpoint for the falls and a stiff mist was wafting up from the rocks below and blasting us in the face. It felt great. So alive. We stared at them for awhile – amazed at the amount of water spilling over the top from unknown sources. Incredible. Then a tour bus showed up and tourists began spilling. Our cue to leave!
Back at the compound we lounged and watched Bonnie get the zoomies and slapped mosquitos as they buzzed around us. The next big Stehekin hurdle was figuring out how to get all of us and four big floaties down to the lake. One car was located for floatie transportation and the rest of us packed up bags full of beer and watermelon and hopped back on our bikes. For being our rest day Saturday was sure turning out to involve a number of biking miles.
We biked down to a wonderful little public doc located on Lake Chelan, still a little ways outside of the “heart” of Stehekin. I was so happy to be there because my lower body was KILLING me. My shins hurt, my upper butt hurt, my quads were sore, everything hurt. All I wanted was to wade up to my bellybutton in some ice cold water and stay there as long as I could. Which is exactly what I did. I stayed there for probably thirty minutes before being lured back out of the water by the promise of a beer and a floatie. We tied the floaties off to the dock and lounged. Hard. It was beyond relaxing and just what you need after a long day of hiking.
Honestly, we probably lounged for a little too long because by the time we were packing up and heading back it was already six o’clock. We hadn’t even started dinner! I mentally prepared my stomach to be hungry for a while. After starting a fire and hand making about fifty tortillas we were finally ready to eat and it was a feast of a time. One bedbug scare and one tiny spider scare later and we were sleeping on Wade and Marieke’s floor for our second night of action-packed-day induced sleep.