Family Vacation Journal: The Call of the Cascades

Family Vacation Journal: The Call of the Cascades

A family bonds over bikes, ice cream and outdoor fun in North Cascades National Park By: Faye Walrath, age 9
<p>The writer (far right) relaxes with her younger sister, Jem, and mother, Trisha. // © 2016 Trisha Walrath</p><p>Feature image (above): North...

The writer (far right) relaxes with her younger sister, Jem, and mother, Trisha. // © 2016 Trisha Walrath

Feature image (above): North Cascades National Park // © 2016 iStock


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Last summer, my parents, my younger sister, Jem, and I went to a special place in Washington state that not a lot of people have been to because it’s hard to get to: North Cascades National Park. We first flew from Los Angeles to Seattle, and after spending a weekend there, we drove east to Lake Chelan, where we camped for a night so that we could get on the Lady of the Lake ferry early the next morning. After a two-hour boat ride 50 miles north on the lake, we arrived at the Stehekin boat landing and North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin, our home for the next three nights.

We had heard about a famous local bakery, Stehekin Pastry Company, located about a 2-mile walk up the road. Luckily for us, it was lunch time, so we headed there for sandwiches and pie. On the way, we passed Stehekin Discovery Bikes, where we returned the next day for bike rentals, our main mode of transportation during our stay.

We also made sure to get quarters at the bakery for the “ride-through” gumball machine in front of The Garden, an organic garden paradise owned by Karl, a Seattle transplant who has lived there for years. We visited the garden several times during our stay, buying enormous carrots that we picked ourselves and taking pictures of his huge and colorful dahlias.

North Cascades Lodge was the perfect home base for our exploration of the area, which included some great hikes, role playing in the original schoolhouse and swimming at Rainbow Falls. We had a view of the lake from our comfy beds, and the homemade ice cream with flavors that changed daily was some of the best we’ve ever had.

Stehekin may be hard to get to, but it’s worth it, and we can’t wait to go back.

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