Camping & Geocaching Lake Chelan

Our goal was seven state park caches in the Lake Chelan area. Thursday night after work we met up with Dug at the Nelson Creek Rest Stop on highway 2 where we stayed the night (more free camping).

The next morning we found sustenance  at Louie’s Cafe in Leavenworth. I chose to have a scramble with veggies and ham. The waitress gave me an extra veggie as I didn’t want cheese. I assumed the hash browns would be on the side. Oops they were mixed in. I did my best to pick around them. It was good!

Our Qwest led us further east to Sun Lakes-Dry Falls state park. We stopped to look at the Dry Falls where I took this selfie of B and I. I could not stop laughing.


There used to be great waterfalls in this area after the ice age when glaciers cut through the land. The photo above we are at the top of the falls area.

After touring the area and the visitor center and finding a cache hidden in the park sign we were off to the Sun Lakes below. The buses in the photo below as we were coming back from the state park cache hide. Potentially A LOT of desert fauna hiding in the scrub brush. Thousands of years ago this was under water.


At the end of the road was Deep Lake. There was Cottonwood “fluff” everywhere.

Cottonwood “fluff” on the water

Couldn’t help but take another of selfie.

Dug, B and I

We moved on to Steamboat Rock state park where we planned to camp for the night. After setting up our site we decided to knock out the cache before dinner. It’s listed as a difficulty 1.5 / terrain 4. 

Steamboat Rock

B thought we could find an easier way to the cache. It was a few hours before dark and we were prepared with headlamps, water and dogs. We saw lots of flowers along the way.


Beej decided to walk with B for a while. He likes to be up front and has contests with Sausage for leader of the pack. Below Beej is winning and Sausageis stuck behind B.


We saw the sun set.

Sunset at Steamboat Rock

However, we DID NOT obtain the cache. B’s idea led us to this side of the rock which was a fairly easy hike. Once near the base we were faced with a slippery shale slope and then 800 feet straight up the rock face. Nope, we would have to try again in the morning.

We ended the eve with dinner and a campfire after I had a well deserved nap. I left the guys to their beer and hit the sack early.

The next morning after packing up we encountered wild turkeys.

Male turkey – Tom

We moved the buses to the day use area to be closer to the trailhead. B read up on the cache. 

We would need to climb to the top of Steamboat rock. 

Armed with water and hiking poles we set out. I was mentally preparing myself for a grueling hike. It soon became obvious why the terrain was a 4. It started to get steep and there was a lot of loose shale we had to walk over. Beej didn’t have a problem. I was not so sure I was going to like this. Dug had to carry Sausage. He is grinning in the photo below. All 40 pounds of him. Gus (Dug’s other dog) managed just fine.


Then it started to get really steep…


In the photo above, Dug was about ten feet above me. This was where I lost my shit and turned back. I have a slight issue with heights and combined with the slipping rock under my feet, a small dog attached to me and the thought of having to climb back down I just could not deal.

B carried Beej and I got back down to a level I could handle. He took our cache passports and proceeded with Dug. I sat at a bench and rested for a bit.

Bench still life

Below is a photo of the area where I turned back. You can kind of see where it switches back. I was halfway up the switchback before I turned around. The people in the photo give it a bit of perspective. If it had been dirt I think I would have managed.


I went back to the bus and brought out my knitting.

When Dug and B  got back a couple hours later they said it was a good thing I turned back and that I knew myself well enough to know I could not make the climb safely. B decided to stamp my passport for me since I was close the night before and made an effort to get it that day.

We decided to get Concanully next since it was sort of remote. We took a highway B and I have never been on before. We arrived in Concanully state park in time for a late lunch. This cache was an easy hike with just a little reroutinf due to some flooding of the wooded path.

On our way to Bridgeport we stopped at The Breadline Cafe to visit the owner and a friend of mine, Paula. She gave us a loaf of her freshly baked bread. It was lovely to catch up to her.

We swung by her house which is the original Omak Hotel and even has a song by the Paperboys which you can hear here.

Omak Hotel

Once arriving at Bridgeport state park we set up camp and quickly stated a fire and got dinner rolling.

Sunday morning our objective was the state park cache at Bridgeport. We are led ourselves with long pants and hiking poles and powered through tall grass and scrub brush. This was tick country.

The cache was a quick find and hidden sort of in plain site. I like to think we hid it better as the original owner intended. 

On our way to our next stop we passed Chief Joseph damn and did a few caches for their passport which we found out about that day. Hmmm another small Geotour. On the drive in to Alta Lake state park we saw evidence of charring and fire on the higheay and in the park which received heavy damage from the fires of the previous summer.


Burned trees and wild flowers
The cache was a quick one. But the view……

Alta Lake

Sadly there was not a lot to see here so we headed in to Chelan. The town of Lake Chelan or Chelan as it’s known to locals, is tucked in the rolling hills of central Washington and a destination for many a wine lover. 

Our purpose for visiting the area was two state parks and more importantly – state park Geocaches!

It was lunch time and I googled breweries in the area. We ended up at Lake Chelan Brewing for lunch and beer for the guys (I was still on the Whole30). Once we wakes in I knew I had been there before.

I remembered this very wall of graphities brick when I spent a couple days with my mom on a winery tour a few years previously. After lunch B wanted to check out Stormy Mountain brewing which was on the way to our next state park. We stopped in, Dug had a pint and B tried a flight of their four beers. The ambiance was good. The beer was just OK.


Old leather and hardwoods
Refreshed and ready to carry on we headed to Lake Chelan state park. Upon arrival we loaded up the dogs and headed out for an adventure.


Beej at the trailhead
The trail took us under the highway and through a lovely hiking trail full of flora and lots of signage to describe what we were seeing an experiencing. Some of the signs were very poetic. 

After finding the cache (hidden by a Geofriend Grievous Angel) we continued along the path. As we rounded the final bend back down to where we had come there was a disturbance in the brush. Later on we would find the two deer we had bothered watching us.

We continued out of the park on a loop that led us pastries of waterside camping spots.

Further along the lake we came to our last sto of the weekend and where we would spend Sunday night. Twenty-Five Mile Creek state park is way off the beaten path. We drove through the mostly deserted campground and found two excellent spots right on the rushing creek. Boy was it loud!

B and Dug went to pay for sites and I started setting up camp as well as performed tick inspection on Beej. He gets flea and tick medicine but that didn’t stop TWO of the little buggers from hanging out for a joyride. I promptly tossed them in to the fire and continued about my business.


Dinner was quickly made and eaten. Then it was time for a nice rousing game of Guillotine. Soon it was bed time and I was lulled to sleep by the rushing creek only a few feet away.

Monday morning after breakfast we quickly nabbed the final state park cache de the weekend. We thought a bit more caching was in order and followed up on some that B had stored including the one pictures in the photo below. There were a lot of ants. 


Off to Leavenworth and Icicle Creek brewing for the boys. This brewery serves one of my favorite porters – Dark Persuasion, it’s pretty much like drinking German chocolate cake (which was my dad’s fave). We had some munchies and on the way back to the car chatted with some local roller derby gals.

We returned home tired but satisfied. Only five state parks left in this challenge. With the deadline a scant two months away – we have the gold in our sights.


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