Living simply in the wild

Posts tagged “lake chelan

Just Keep Pulling: On Shooting Firearms and Empaths

I did not grow up around guns. In fact Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles were outlawed in our home. Perhaps that plays into the fact that i’m sensitive. Most the time, extremely sensitive.

The first time shooting firearms it scared me. No, it terrified me and shook me at my core. It wasn’t a little BB gun or a 22, it was a 40 caliber hand gun.

We were out in no mans land back in Chelan Washington. Up in the evergreen covered hills with a giant dirt mound as our backstop. Not a soul around for days. I was both equally excited and nervous as this was my first time shooting a handgun. I’d seen photos of friends at shooting ranges smiling next to their paper cutout sprayed with holes they’d just shot. It looked like they had a blast. I was with my husband who I trust completely and who has been firing guns since he was probably younger then our kids are now.


Ranger sat there carefully explaining the gun to me. He explained the parts of the gun, how it worked, how to hold it, how to stand, i’m pretty sure he covered it all. He was very thorough and precise with his instructions.

I only had 2 questions when he finally was done with his firearms lecture.

“How loud is it going to be?”


“Is it going to kick back at me?”

He answered with, “uh, It’ll be a loud pop, and it will only kick back a little”. I confirmed his answers as I wanted to know exactly what to expect. Looking back I shouldn’t have accepted such vague answers.

I took my stance. Legs apart, knees bent, elbows locked. I took a moment to feel my breath as I took aim at the piece of plastic that was about to meet its end. I held steady feeling my breath between my lips. 1….2….keep pulling….keep pulling….3….the gun fired.

Everything went silent. The world around me seemed to start a slow spin. I looked over at Ranger who had a huge smile on his face…until he saw mine. The world was muffled and ringing and for a moment I was completely lost. My heart was beating so hard I could feel each beat pounding in my ears. I stood there for a split second not knowing a thing. Not a voice, not a thought. The sound of the gun going off was enough to paralyze my hearing (and me) for those few moments. The power of the bullet flying out of the barrel was enough to make my palms sweat and go completely numb.

Ranger came rushing towards me and grabbed the gun out of my hands, I’m not even sure how I was still holding onto it. I wanted to drop it and bury it in the dirt right then and there. But my brain had not caught up to tell my hand to drop the gun just yet.

“No.” Is all I could get out of my mouth and I walked away quickly. Tears welled up in my eyes. I had no way to stop them, they just came. I was shaken to my core and needed time to breath. Breath….somehow my body remembered to breath, I think.

Truth is i had no idea I’d have that reaction. That wasn’t something you could predict. I can’t explain why it happened or why I reacted the way I did. I’m not the tough girl. I’m strong, but i’m not tough. There are things i’m incredibly sensitive to and sometimes those things surprise me.

With three boys in the house, one being in Law enforcement, I believe its incredibly important to know how to use a gun and to know the proper way to handle a gun. I did learn that. I also learned that shooting a gun is not something I enjoy. At all. Ranger took me out just the other week to go shooting again. I was prepared this time. I knew what to expect.

I gathered myself, I grounded myself, and breathed. I kept breathing and kept squeezing that trigger. I’d stop before it fired and breathed again. I relaxed my stance and said I couldn’t do it. I held my ground, aimed, and pulled the trigger some more. Yet each time i’d stop shy of it firing.

Keep pulling. Keep pulling. I had a great battle within myself that day. My brain was begging me, hounding me, to do something and I tried so hard to do it. But something within me stopped me every time. That day my brain was doing everything it could to keep me pulling that trigger tighter and tighter and something else inside was fighting right back just as fiercely.

It’s funny how that can be translated into life. There are things you know you should do. But no matter how hard you try to do them there is a force battling against you. Think of how hard it is sometimes to apologize, to say I love you, to say that the other person is right. It’s a downright battle at times!

I finally braced myself a little harder. Let out another breath slowly and kept pulling until it shot. It fired once and I just stood there breathing again. Tears welled up in my eyes, but not from terror this time. Well, maybe a little from terror. I’d done it, I had made myself do it. I had met resistance and I pushed through and I survived. It was scary. My hands were tingling and I handed the gun off as soon as I could. But i had done it.

I know this is a small feat for most. Crying and being emotional over shooting a gun may seem ridiculous. Trust me, Ranger completely agrees with that! I can’t predict when floods of emotion will find their way into my daily life and spill over. For some reason when that gun fired it shook me. It rattled something loose and it took over a year to even think about shooting firearms again.

Just know that in life this happens and it’s ok. Especially for those of us who are extra tender. Those of us who feel with everything that they are. The empaths out there. It’s ok to feel, it’s ok to be scared. Just keep standing there grounded, breathing. Just keep pulling that trigger. Eventually things will fire and the dust will settle and you’ll see that you are still standing. Your feet may even be planted further in the ground then before.

Just keep pulling.



The Last Day in Chelan: late night knocks, missing Rangers & strangers in the house

Our last day in Chelan was a memorable day, yet it wasn’t out of the ordinary at all.

We planned on having a quiet couple of days before we moved. Of course we were busy throwing things in boxes and knocking the last of the cobwebs out of the corners, but we were determined to enjoy the last two days in sunny Chelan.


Walks along the shore, BBQ birthday parties for the Junior, and just soaking up the sunshine. Mostly we were looking forward to the late night knocks on the door, strangers walking into our home, and searching for a missing Ranger. Ha!

The two weekends prior to memorial day camping in the park really revs up. It starts to look like an actual park again instead of a secluded piece of heaven that we get to enjoy all to ourselves in the off season. It’s ok, we’ll share. It’s more entertaining that way.

Our house was known as the ‘go-to’ house. Need shower tokens? Goto the Rangers house. Need first aide? Go to the Rangers house. A tree fall on your camper? Go to the Rangers house. Need directions? Goto the Rangers house. Fire wood…camping fees…complaints…dogs barking…music too loud…just go to the Rangers house. Well I, the Rangers wife, was almost always home and almost could never help with any of those issues. But still, they all came to the Rangers house.

That particular morning the Jrs and I were bumming around in our PJs, enjoying the morning when I heard the door open. I didn’t give much thought as it is always Ranger coming in and out while he is at work. I glanced up for just a second and realized that Ranger is a 200lb man with a beard, a bright orange construction jacket, and smelled of cheap coffee.

“Can I help you?” I asked, probably with a look of complete shock on my face.

The man went on talking for a while with his eyes darting from here to there.

Mid sentence he stutters, “Is this someones home?”.

I wanted to ask him what his first clue was….the couches, the toys on the floor, or the fact that we were in our PJs. But I couldn’t because the poor man had turned a shade of red I thought I only changed to and was slowly backing up and trying to find his was out of our home.

After a few appologies and wipes of his brow he darted out of the house and disappeared rather quickly. I think he learned the lesson “knock before entering” that day and will never again open another door without knocking.

That night Ranger came in like he always did, hung up his duty gear and uniform and settled in for the night.

*knock knock*

A complaint. Another camper had their music too loud and was ruining the other campers camping experience. Well we sure can’t allow that. So Ranger suited up in his uniform and duty gear and headed out the door.

After a bit of an argument, the park was at peace again.

Ranger came in, hung up his uniform and settled in for the night, again.

*knock knock*

Ranger and I shot a glance at each other and laughed.

Back in uniform he shot out the door. I swore to myself that next time I was going to time him to see how fast he could suit up.


While Ranger was out fulfilling some more Rangering duties I noticed that a fellow employees truck was still parked in the parking lot. He was supposed to have returned two hours ago and be off work for the night. Yet there his truck sat.

When these sorts of things happens your mind starts to go every which direction.

  • Did he have an accident?
  • Did he get stranded somewhere?
  • Is he hurt?
  • What if he had a heart attack and is laying on the ground somewhere alone?

So immediately we start backtracking to find out where he was last. He went out the satellite park 10 miles up the road. There’s no cell service out there, so if something did happen there would be no way to get a hold of him.

Ranger jumped into his truck to see if he could find him. Before he even left the parking lot I whipped out my ninja computer skills to find his wife’s number. Luckily the town is small enough there was only 1 number to try and luckily it was the missing Rangers wife.

We found out that there had been an accident, and he was at the hospital. Luckily he wasn’t the one needing the medical attention. A camper had needed medical attention and Mr. Big Hearted Ranger drove him to the hospital himself and was going to drive him back to his campsite when he was good to go. Mr. Big Hearted Ranger is also Mr. Old School and doesn’t own a cell phone, but luckily he had enough sense to call his wife from the hospital and give her a heads up so she wasn’t worried sick. She was ever so appreciative that someone had called to check up with her as well as she “never can be sure what that man is doing”.

Sigh of relief.

Back at home Ranger once again hung up his uniform, the final time for the night.



It’s a wrap: Moving on

Our time in Chelan is quickly coming to a close. Just a few more days, a couple more boxes, a handful of strolls along the waters edge, and then we will be moving on.


Lake Chelan has been good to us. I don’t think we could have entered into this journey inside of a more perfect park. The Rangers and employees here have become like family to us and they did a wonderful job of showing us how a park should function underneath it’s skin. With bbqs and potlucks, bonfires and holidays. If we take one thing with us I hope it will be this facilitation of community inside the Park. Every Park is different. They all have different personalities and different voices, but one thing should remain constant: community. Community within the members running and caring for the Park.

I’ll never forget the day we pulled into Lake Chelan for the first time. The head Ranger came barreling towards us with a welcoming smile and a full tour of our home for the next year. We walked inside and a park aide was vacuuming up all of the deceased bugs around the fire place and wiping the spider webs out of the windows. There was even a toy train table waiting for the Juniors inside the garage, one that anther Rangers grandkids had out grown. We were greeted with cookies and we had help unloading our truck so we weren’t left doing it alone.

“This is what Rangers do” they said.

And that sealed our faith in this decision we’d made.

Outside of the Park everyone i’ve met here in Chelan has been oh-so kind and some incredibly generous. The people here are warm and you’ll receive a smile from just about any local you pass. It has been such an adjustment getting used to a small town but a year later i’ve settled into the town and have figured out it’s little quirks.

It has also been painfully isolating here as well. Most of the locals here are lifers and have a very close knit group of friends. They have their life they have shaped the way they want it and it is comfortable, they stick to it. Most places are like this i’m sure. But as an outsider coming in, i was in a position to see things under a new light.

Making friends as an adult is incredibly tricky. There is a fine line between being friendly and looking like a stalker. When you’re a child and you ask someone if they want to be your friend or if they want to come over and hang out…that’s normal. As an adult, it’s uncomfortable. There’s rules and social norms you must follow, there’s a courting period. It can be complicated.

I have yet to figure out how to break into the inner circles. As friendly as people are, getting into the circle of friends is something they keep sacred. Pass someone in a store? A friendly smile and a warm hello. Bump into someone on a playground? Friendly conversations exchanged and a goodbye. Want to be friends? I’m sorry, I already have friends.

The way news travels here, I wish I could tell you. I never fully figured that one out. It seemed that most kid friendly events I always heard about them a day late. I’d hear the radio announcing what a great time was had and how many people had shown up. A personal sting each time it happened twinged through me. Each time another layer of isolation would build up pushing us further and further outside the circles.

Through the feelings of isolation and many tears I did find a few people here to be added to my tribe and I am so blessed to have come across those people. If we’ve shared a meal together, a walk in nature, a conversation that digs deeper then the weather, then know that i consider you dear to me.

One of the toughest parts about this journey is the connections. Most people are passing through or we are the ones passing though.

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

Real live Lifetime friends are extremely rare. If you’re blessed to have one you talk to and get to hang out with then hold those people close to your heart.

People that come into your life for reasons and seasons are the closest in my heart. I hold them so dear but their also the most painful. Someday I hope to perfect the art of letting go but I know i’m not there yet.

So we’re going to soak up the few days we have left in Sunny Chelan before we head over to the wet side. We have one foot in and one foot out right now and we are looking forward to digging into somewhere new, finding a new tribe, and forming a new community both inside and outside of the park.


Cheap Things to do in Lake Chelan: 29 fun activities

Cheap Things to do in Lake Chelan

Lake Chelan offers so much for a family vacation. Even if we all can’t afford the lake front condo, private boat rentals, and luxery win tours. You still can have an amazing time in the valley on a budget. Use this guide of 29 cheap things to do in Lake Chelan to enjoy a nice relaxing vacation without breaking the bank.

1. Chelan State Park

If you already have a Washington State Discover Pass go there first! If you don’t have a pass it’s $10/day for the park or the Discover Pass is $30 for the year and will grant you access to:

Once inside Lake Chelan State Park you can enjoy:

lake chelan state park

lake chelan state park

  • RV and tent camping.
  • A playground your kids will thank you for.
  • 6,000 feet of shoreline
  • Roped off Swim beach area.
  • Restrooms.
  • Little Bear Trail.
  • A creek to walk along.
  • Boat launch.
  • Hose shoe pits.
  • Volleyball net.
  • Picnic tables (covered and uncovered).
  • Amphitheater.
  • And a huge green space, so bring your frisbee.

 2. Hang out at Riverwalk Park

Just park in downtown Chelan and head to Riverwalk Park (between Woodin St & Dan Gordon Bridges). It’s a great spot for a short stroll or bike ride on a paved walkway.

  • 12 acres
  • restrooms
  • picnic areas
  • picnic shelter (rentable)
  • boat launch
  • short-term moorage
  • boat trailer parking
  • one-mile paved scenic river loop trail
  • grass playfield

3. Manson Bay Park

There’s quite a few places you could hop in the Lake if you need to cool off. And I do mean cool off. That water is COLD. Head Past the safeway, past Red Apple and go into Manson, about 8miles. At the end of the downtown strip and just before the fire station there is a great swim beach.


  • Lifeguards on duty
  • restrooms
  • shallow area roped off
  • Docks to jump off
  • Green space for picnics

4. Go Hiking or Mountain Biking

Trails and Trails and more trails!

cheap things to do in lake chelan

Pick up some trail maps at the State Park or at the Chelan Ranger District 428 W Woodin Ave

5. Gone Fishing

Kids fish free (some rules apply). You can pick up an adult fishing license at Walmart or in downtown Chelan at Kelly’s Ace Hardware. You can fish the lake from a number of spots or head to fish some of the smaller lakes around the valley.

  • Lake Chelan
  • Wapato Lake in Manson
  • Antilon Lake in Manson
  • Dry Lake just outside Manson
  • Roses Lake in Manson
  • Alta Lake near Peteros
  • Chelan River at the Riverwalk Park
  • Columbia River down Chelan Falls Road (Hwy 150)

6. Get Outdoors. Go Camping!

Whether you want an place to park your RV, need amenities around, or if you really want to get back to nature Chelan has it all.

For RVs and Tent campers who like amenities:

For those looking to go a little cheaper and a little more backcountry:

There are 22 primitive campgrounds that the Chelan Ranger District has. They are first come, first served.

10 “boat-in” campgrounds are located up Lake Chelan. They do require a Dock Site Permit ($5/day or $40/season).

You can “Drive to” 7 campgrounds:

  • Snowberry Bowl (daily fee)
  • Antilon Lake (free)
  • Grouse Mountain (free)
  • Handy Springs (free)
  • Junior Point (free)
  • South Navarre (free)
  • Windy Camp (free)

Windy Camp

There are 5 “hike-in” campgrounds that are free including:

  • Boiling Lake
  • Cub Lake
  • Domke Lake
  • Hatchery Camp
  • Holden Ballpark

All Chelan Ranger District Campgrounds include some form of picnic tables, toilets, fire-rings and some include group shelters.

Be sure to check with the Ranger station at 428 W. Woodin Ave in Chelan for current status of these before heading out.

7. Head to the Shores of the Lake and watch boaters, jet skiers, and other water sports.

Where ever you can catch a glimpse of the water, you’re sure to see some water sports going on in the summer.

8. Don Morse Park

Don Morse Park is A great park with a lot to offer.

  • 2,000 feet of waterfront
  • 40 acres
  • Swimming
  • Boat launch
  • volleyball courts
  • skate park
  • tennis and basketball courts.
  • playground area
  • picnic shelters with electric, water, and BBQ

9. Head to the Library

The Chelan library moved to its beautifully remodeled building fall 2013 located at 216 N Emerson Street, caddy-corner from the Post Office.

  • Grab a good book to read
  • Play in the kids area
  • Surf the internet
  • Baby Rhyme Time every friday 10am. Ages 0-3
  • Story Time every wednesday 11am. All ages.

Manson also has a library with great events going on

  • STORYTIME Wednesday at 3:45pm. Ages 4 to 9, but children of all ages are welcome!
  • MANSON BOOK GROUP. Second Tuesday of each month at 6:00pm.

10. Drive up the Butte

As you’re heading into Town on HWY 97, right across from Lakeside Park and just before you hit Little Stone Church, turn and head up Chelan Butte Rd. This will wind you up the hillside 15-20 minutes. *This drive is not for the faint of heart*


Prepare for a bumpy ride, but the view is worth it! Lake Chelan on one side, Columbia basin on the other.

On the perfect day you may even catch a hang glider or parasailer take off.

11. Catch a Festival

Schedule your visit during and festival and you won’t be disappointed.



  • March
    • Top Dog Parade
  • April
    • Garage-a-rama aka Sidewalk sales!
    • Earth Day Fair
  • May
    • Beach-n-fly hang gliding contest
    • Manson Apple Blossom Festival
    • Spring Barrel Tasting
    • Memorial Parade
  • June
    • CruiZin Chelan Car Show
  • July
    • Manson and Chelan fireworks
    • Bach Fest
    • Chelan Man
  • August
    • Rodeo
    • Fine Arts festival
  • September
    • Car show and cruise
    • Sailing Regatta
    • Hydrofest
  • October
    • Crush Festival
    • Harvest Festival
    • Ciderfest
    • Trick-or-treat downtown Chelan
  • November
    • Veterans day parade
    • Fall barrel tasting
    • Manson winter festival and village of lights
  • December
    • Echo Valleys Ski Area New Years Eve Party

12. Farmers Market & Berry Picking

Head out to the evening farmers market in the Riverwalk Park every Thursday in the summer from 4-7pm. Snack on treats, find fresh fruits and veggies, enjoy entertainment. There’s something for everyone, literally.

Other farmers market include:

  • June-Oct Saturday 8am-12pm in the Chambers parking lot
  • Manson Market June-Oct Sat/Wed 8:30am-11:30 at the Grange Hall

Come in April to see Pear trees blooming beautifully. Apples will follow shortly after and other glorious fruits will follow. Stop by these places pick your own berries and fruits or make your own Apple Cider!

The freshest produce you can get!

13. Visit Themed towns around the area

  • Leavenworth: A Bavarian Themed town. Beautiful architecture. Great food. Fun festivals. It’s like a little Germany. There’s trails and camping and rivers to explore!



  • Twisp: Grab your cowboy boots and strap your saddle on your horse. This Western town is filled with small shops along a boardwalk for even the toughest cowboy. Rafting down the river is also a grand time.

camping leavenworth


14. Wine Tasting

With a plethora of wineries around the valley the only problem you’ll run into is which one to go visit. A lot of the wineries around offer complimentary tasting, and others have a small fee (around $5) that can be applied toward your purchase.

For info and a map of wineries in the area:…/our-wineries.html

15. Live Music

There are a few places around town that offer some live music.

The Vogue Liquid Lounge (117 E Woodin Ave), full service coffee and wine bar. They have live music on the weekends with no cover and are a family friendly joint.

Valeries Waterfront Bistro (114 E Woodin Ave) features:

  • Mindful Mondays: open forum discussion 8pm
  • Date Night Tuesday: 10″ pizza, large salad, 2 fountain sodas $24.00
  • 50/50 Thursday: Flip for a chance to win 50% off of your drink
  • Music and dancing Fridays and Saturday

16. Visit Riverwalk Books

Riverwalk Books is a fun little bookstore. The kids always head straight upstairs for a seat on the throne and to test drive new toys and books.

17. Lakeside Park

Right off Highway 97A Lakeside Park provides a great place to view Lady of the Lake, water sports, and might even see a paraglider or two.

  • Sand volleyball court
  • basketball half court
  • restrooms
  • 17,500 square feet of sandy beach
  • swimming area
  • picnic tables
  • playground
  • boat launch

18. Window Shop Downtown

Downtown Chelan has a great shopping strip with tons of fun stores to look through.

Our personal favorites are

19. Beach combing

Chelan is filled with amazing rocks and stones and even some tiny shells. Just remember to leave the treasures you find for the next treasure hunters.

cheap things to do in lake chelan

  • Don Morse Park at the beach west of the Marina
  • Lakeside Park
  • Beebe Bridge Park across the bridge from Chelan Falls (along the Columbia River)
  • Chelan Falls Park on the Columbia River has good sandy beaches.
  • Willow Point Park 1 mile west of Manson

*Some beaches are covered during high water in the summer

20. Field’s Point Landing

Field’s Point Landing is 17 miles up lake from Chelan along South Lakeshore Road. Here you can see catching the ferry boat uplake to Stehekin.

It is a National Forest Service and National Park Service site.

  • picnic tables
  • benches
  • Interpretive site
  • paved pathway  walk around the “point.”

21. Hit The Road

Pack a picnic, buckle your seatbelt and hit up a scenic drive

  • S. Lakeshore Road:You can only go so far uplake. So take a drive to the end of the South Lakeshore Road. Any further uplake you’ll have to take the boat ferry, seaplane, or hike up to one of the most remote communities in the lower 48.
  • Manson Loop: will take you along the back paved roads of Manson. You’ll wind through orchards and vinayards and will give you stunning views of the lake


  • Forest Service Roads: grab a map from the Ranger station and head up above 25-mile creek state park. Climb up creek-copper mountain. Bear Mountain. Stormy Mountain. The views are stunning! And the terrain….hold on tight in some places.

22. Tweet: Bird Watching

Head to any of the parks and lakes with some binoculars and you’ll see birds and wildlife everywhere. Visit for local bird watching guides.

23. Geocache

If geocache is your thing grab your GPS and go around to locate the local Geocaches. *there’s one inside Lake Chelan State Park

Zip codes in the area are

  • Chelan 98816
  • Manson 98831
  • Chelan Falls 98817

24. Audio Walking Tour

Goto and download the free mp3 guide and have fun on your journey.

25. Surf: The Web

You’ll find free wifi around town

  • The Vogue
  • Riverwalk Books
  • Starbucks
  • Westside pizza

26. It’s Game Time

If you want a little indoor time head over to Company Creek Pizza. They have big tables, lots of pizza and a small arcade the kids can sit and play while you sip, or gulp…I won’t judge, a nice cold beer.

Chelan Lanes also has a small arcade/bowling alley/and food for the whole family.

27. The Chelan Museum

Grab a piece of Chelans history and visit the Chelan Museum in downtown Chelan. 

  • Native American baskets, clothing, arrowheads, tools
  • Wapato Indian displays
  • A mining cabin
  • Old-time kitchen, home and store displays
  • Memorabilia of local life and families
  • Old newspapers
  • Research copies of many books on the history of North Central Washington
  • Logging tools
  • Toys

The entrance fee is only a few dollars a person, definitely worth the history lesson! Ask about their Treasure Hunt For Kids.

28. Fun in the Sun

If you want to get out on the water a lot the rental places offer specials. You can rent all types of equipment….kayaks, paddles boards, jet skies, boats, water toys, bikes  etc….. 10% discounts on their rentals during the weekdays Mon-Thurs morning 1/2 day specials Early bird special from 7am till 9am.

www.chelanjetskis.comweekday morning jet ski special 

*call or check website to confirm specials and prices

29: First Fridays of the Month

If your lucky enough to be visiting on the first friday of month from June-September you must head to Downtown Chelan. It’s family friendly and usually follows a fun theme. The shops stay open until 8pm and there are special deals, free samples, free kids activities, musicians and local artists on display and other fun things to check out.


There’s your list of 29 cheap things to do in Lake Chelan. Enjoy your stay in the Valley!

*if you have an idea or business that you feel is missing from the list leave a comment or email

Doing Hard Things: Trouble on the water. Canoeing on Lake Chelan

The lake we live on is long. Fifty-Five miles long, and that’s not as the crow flies. Surrounded by hills and bluffs that end up stretching up into the foothills of the cascades. This lake takes on many different personalities depending on which mile you are sitting on and on which time of day you are there. She’s calm one moment and then the next she’s an ocean lapping you up with white caps.

9:00am: Cruising down the road heading up lake. Today, we’re going fishing! Surely catching a fish when your out on the water is WAY easier then catching one from ashore.

9:25: Arrive and start piling our fishing poles into the hallow tin canoe that will be our fishing spot for the next hour or two.

9:25: “Mom…do we have our life jackets?”. Crap.

10:15am: Back in the tin can, life jackets included. We push off into the water.

Canoeing On Lake Chelan

canoeing on lake chelan

The placid water, the birds chirping. Mountains in the backdrop. Fishing lines trolling the bottom of the lake. It was peaceful. Aside from the 1001 questions coming from the middle of the boat.

10:30: How deeps the lake?–Really Deep

What is at the bottom?–Really Big Rocks

What is the Lake monsters name? –Ogo Pogo

What does it look like? –No one really knows

Why? –Because

When are we going to catch a fish? –Hopefully soon

Why aren’t we catching anything –Because fish are scared of questions

10:31: Why? — …..

11:00: With no bites on the lines Ranger suggests we head across the lake.

The lake was calm as we paddled over and over and over again. It’s about a mile across, but rowing a heavy metal canoe with kayak oars makes the trip seem more like 27 miles.

11:45: Our boat washed up on shore and we piled out. Being sure to tie or boat so we’d have a way back home.

The north side of the lake up here is deserted. No roads, no people. Once in a while you’ll spot a house or small shelter dotting the steep landscape. But for the most part, no one lives here. We found a creek and hiked along side it, crossing here and there. Coming across a dead deer carcass, butterflies, and spiders along the way.

The roaring water kept getting louder and louder until it almost drowned out the sound of dead winter leaves crunching beneath our boots. Finally we came across a wall of water rushing down from above surrounded by steep bluffs leading to the blue sky . We stopped to admire it and were getting ready to head back when I saw Rangers eyes.

canoeing on lake chelan

I know that look by now. The look that makes my stomach fill with hummingbirds. Most people have butterflys….but no, not with this look. This look is one worthy of something that  beats their wings against my stomach walls 80 times a second!

“Let’s go up!”

Going up meant a STEEP incline lined with loose rocks, patches of dirt,  weeds and the danger of falling all the way down. I’m not going to pretend i’m any good at math and angles, but if i had to guess i’d say it was almost 90 degrees. Ranger would say more like 50. But still… 50!

So we went up.

Half way up panic hit. And it wasn’t “i’m a girl” panic. Panic like: this has got to be one of the most idiotic things I have ever gone along with.

Ranger took one look at my face and knew not to argue when I said in a very loud, some would call it a yell, but really it’s just loud talking, “We’re going back down. NOW”.

Back on level ground the hummingbirds finally perched and I could breath again, and we wound back down past the spiders, the butterflies, and the deer carcass back to our boat again.

One look out into the water and I knew we were in for it. All i could think of was “Thank God we went back to the house to get the boys life jackets”. We were in for a rough ride back.

The wind had swept in and the placid lake was now resembling more of an ocean with waves that were falling and crashing in on themselves.

We’d taken too long on our exploration and the weather had turned, as it does most days up there. -Rookie mistake-

We pushed off into the deep water and were prepared for a hard row back. One row forward two rows back, again and again. The waves started to rock our little canoe back and forth. By this time our Junior Rangers were getting scared, hell I was getting scared. We had so far yet to row and we weren’t go anywhere, fast.

We could see the waves rolling towards us. Some little, most big. We could see the big ones coming at us from yards away. We could see them picking up speed and height as they charged towards us.  Lifting our boat up again and again. Poor little Junior K, he was bawling at this point. Watching the waves rush towards us was too much for him to handle. Again and again the waves would come and he would scream in terror.

Ranger and I were becoming exhausted quickly but we paddled on.

I thought singing might help calm Junior K.

“Row row row your boat, across the lake so wide. Through the waves, we’re safe and sound by each others side”.

A wave rolled up the side of our boat and slapped us all in the face with its bitter cold drops. Singing had now been overshadowed with standing water in our boat. Nothing was going to make this situation any easier.

Between the big waves I’d be convincing the boys that we all have to do hard things. I think I was more trying to convince myself. I know you’re feeling really scared right now (and so am I) but if we stop now we will never get through this. If we stop rowing we’ll be out in the middle of this water for a very long time. We need to keep going. We need to dig down deep and tell ourselves we’re strong enough to do this hard thing. We can cry and scream but that won’t get us to shore. Daddy and I are doing a hard thing right now, we’re rowing and rowing, and it’s tough and exhausting. And I’m asking you to do a hard thing too Juniors. I’m asking you to believe that we will make it to shore, i’m asking you to be brave and know we’re all together in this. We are all still in the boat. We’re all doing this tough thing together.

With a few nods and panic “yes'” we pushed on.

We had been on course to row into the docks but with the strong waves it had pushed us further down lake and there was no way we’d be able to row against the strong current back to the park. We made a quick decision to just get to shore, no matter where that may be.

I spotted a great open beach to head for but soon that was no longer an option and we once again were being pushed too far down lake to make that our landing.

As the waves were quickly pushing us towards shore and then back out to sea again we saw we had a small area between rocky ledges we needed to try to steer the boat.

We maneuvered the canoe in the small spot as best we could.

Finally i heard the bottom of the canoe scrape the rocks below. Just as I let out a sigh of relief  a wave came up behind us and swept into our boat. I jumped out into knee deep water to try to pull the boat ashore so the waves would stop beating us with their cruelty. The Juniors were crying again at this point. Their little faces looked at me in complete despare. Looks that crushed my heart as their eyes begged for me to make this all be over. They were officially done with being brave.

The next few minutes were a scramble. I threw the boys out of the boat and got them far enough on to shore to be out of the water. The cold waves crashed into Ranger and I one after another as we tried to get the boat on the beach. We grabbed what we could and climbed the rocky ledge upto the road so we could start our walk back to the truck.

We were all a bit drenched. Some more than others. Even with our moisture wicking and quick drying clothes, we were still wet and cold.

It was a quiet walk back to the truck. We were cold, exhausted, and had just done a really hard thing. All of us.

This isn’t a typical lake. You don’t expect to get caught in waves that lap over your boat on a lake. But this ones different. Ogo Pogo must have been angry. Maybe it was all the questions. We don’t know.

But we were fine. We were safe. We had made it. The Juniors had realized they are capable of doing hard things, even when scared. I had realized i’m capable of doing hard things, even when scared, even when trying comfort those that are scared around us.

You are capable of doing hard things.

And if you decide to go canoeing on lake Chelan, be advised that the water can turn on you at any moment.


Fire & Ice Winterfest in Lake Chelan


Tower of Fire & Ice Sculpture Lighting

There is something very charming about a small town in the winter. Same holds for summer but Lake Chelan isn’t a small town in the summer, the population swells by 20k in the summer. So winter holds a special place for the residents here. It’s small, it’s quiet and calm.


January here is all about Fire & Ice. Winterfest lasts 2 weeks and the city transforms into a beautiful scenery of Ice Sculptures and Fire. It’s truly beautiful.

Sadly many of the events were cancelled this year due to weather and lack of snow. Things like Snow Yoga, a Snow Shoe race, Sky Diving ariel show but there was still much fun to be had.


Beautiful Ice Sculptures were being carved the past few weeks all around the town and put on display.



FIfest6 FIfest7

There was even a giant slide carved from ice for the kids to slide down again and again…which they did again and again.


Ice Slide


Ice Slide

On the last night of Winterfest we filled our night! Touring all the Ice Sculptures…Watching carvings…


Sculpting a Salmon

Watching the Parade that glowed through main street


Glowing Parade at Night


Glowing Parade

After the Parade the whole town walked in a massive heard down to the waters edge.

Gathering around a huge bonfire and watching a large amount of slightly insane individuals do a Polar Plunge into the Icy Lake. Let me tell you that this lake is fed by glaciers so even in July it is a Polar Plunge stepping into the water.


Glowing Boats A Float


Bon Fire to warm the ones who jumped in the lake

We all ended the night with a beautiful fireworks display and really ended things with a bang. Yes i know, you saw that line coming.

Small town charm was at it’s best. From different wineries being set up in each store for the Wine tasting walk through town to the fire pits every couple yards, to a wish lantern lighting. It was a magical time, and perhaps one of my favorite thus far.


Captivated by the Fireworks over the Lake


Wind, or lack thereof, in our sails

No, the title of this post is not a metaphor. Always make sure you check the wind forecast before taking out a boat powered only by sails.

I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.

Jimmy Dean

We spent the fourth of July out on the water. Literally, we were out in the middle of the lake from 10am-7pm. IMG_2473

We thought it would be fun to take a small catamaran out and try our hand at sailing. Needless to say, we have a lot to learn.

It is a sport, and i’m convinced it’s a science too, but i was never any good at science so i can’t be sure.

There were moments when we were gliding through the waters. Winds lifting our sails, water rushing beneath us. We were riding the wind.


Then we would try to steer the boat to where we wanted to go and we’d stop. The wind would hit the sail and flap the other way. We’d be stuck. Out in the middle of the water.

We would turn the sails this way and that way trying to catch what wind we thought would take us in the direction we wanted to go.


And we’d sit. And we’d try to force the sails this way and that way.

Speed boats would roar past us as the spectaters would stare as the wakes bounced our boat in every direction.

Every so often when we least expected it, we would take off again. Gliding through the waters.


We had quite a bit of down time that day and it made me thing that life tends to be a lot like sailing. You try to force lifes path down a certain road. The road you think is meant for you. But sometimes that road isn’t the one that leads you home. We learned that you can’t just take the shortest route, that sometimes in order to go right you must first turn left.

Or you may have to throw your sail down quickly in order to stop your pace because someone along for the ride threw something off the ships edge.


You may have to leap into the icy cold water to scoop out a child who fell overboard.

You may just as well enjoy the journey you’re on. Whether you’re gliding through it with wind in your sails or whether you’re putting up your feet for a while until the next wind comes along.


Life is about the journey and if you’ve think you’ve reached a dead end, or if you think the road should go straight instead of turning, just know that no matter where you go it is where your supposed to be. You may not take the road you wanted to, but you’ll eventually reach your destination and the path you took to get there is exactly the path you should’ve taken.

So adjust your sails, because you certainly can not control the wind.