Wenatchee Welcomes You

Wenatchee Welcomes You

The Wenatchee Indians (Native Americans) were the first to occupy the area of Central Washington where the Columbia River and the Wenatchee River confluence.

Wenatchee  is the County Seat of Chelan (she-lan) county.  Surrounded with a mountainous backdrop,  it is ideal for both city and country living.

Early History of Wenatchee

Fur traders of the British Northwest Fur Company (Hudson’s Bay Company) were some of the very first to come into the area.   These non-native settlers were mainly seeking gold.  Their groups were made up of chinese miners, cattlemen and even missionaries.

Growth in the early 1890’s came quickly as the Great Northern Railway chose Wenatchee to be one of their depot’s stopping places, just south of the city.  With that in mind, the city naturally grew to encompass the RailRoad stop.

Ideal Growing Conditions

Being surrounded by mountains did have its challenges.  Being a bit difficult to conduct regular business with the larger cities of Seattle and Spokane (spo-can), a Seattle businessman formed the Wenatchee Improvement Company in 1890 to build a township.

This in turn, would allow the potential agricultural region to grow by leaps and bounds, especially as the apple industry would soon show.

Perfect Location

Perfect Location for Water       (note  Leavenworth)

Apple Capital of the World

Being close to the famous mountain of Mount Rainier (ray-neer) and it’s volcanic soil, plus having plenty of fresh waters from both the Wenatchee and Columbia Rivers, proved to be an exceptional location for growing apples.

Quickly the entire Wenatchee Valley was covered with row upon row of young fruit bearing trees.  Within a short while, apples were being shipped around the world.  As word of this “valley of the apples” spread, more and more people came into the area making Wenatchee the most productive apple-producing region in the world.

Old-fashioned apple orchard harvest

Old-fashioned apple orchard harvest…..Apple Festival

Have a sweet tooth ?  Then you’ll simply love the famous Aplets and Cotlets.

City Growth And Hydroelectric Power

Industrial growth came quickly.  It also spearheaded much needed institutions such as, libraries, newspapers, educational systems, churches, theaters and even a highly successful commercial district.

Way back in 1940, the power created by the Grand Coulee Dam (1942) and Rock Island Dam (1932) made power readily available and cheap.  The “free water” source to turn turbines to create power was always at the ready for industry growth.

Alcoa and the Holden Mining Company (copper mine) were instrumental in the cities growth.

A Growing Community 

A beautiful community that invites you to come grow with us

A community that invites you to come grow with us.

Having a very desirable climate year round, more and more businesses are being attracted to the area.  The health community sees it as an ideal place for the Central Washington Hospital, Wenatchee Valley Medical Center and the Columbia Valley Community Health.

If you take up nursing as a profession (highly paid) then you will enjoy the benefits of the Wenatchee Valley community.

Colleges abound in the area along with Technology which is only a short trip over the mountains to the Bellevue Redmond area where the world famous Microsoft Company has always resided.

Enjoy the arts?  Then the Performing Arts Center of Wenatchee will draw you into it’s many local and entertaining events.

On the other hand, perhaps you are one of those that have the entrepreneurial spirit.  Here is the place to be.  In fact, the state of Washington encourages small business, whether home, or a store front type, to come and grow with the community.

Visit Grand Coulee Dam

Visit Nearby Grand Coulee Dam

Seattle itself was developed and has grown into a tremendous city because of self-starter type businesses.   Some are :  Amazon, UPS, Home Depot, and as mentioned above, Microsoft.

Why not come in for a visit to Wenatchee or the Seattle area?  You’ll be pleased that you did.

Written by: Tom McDaniel Be sure to share this site

The Butte from a distance

The Butte from a distance

The Butte hike, just outside of Lake Chelan (shee-lan) Washington, will give you a fantastic view of the powerful Columbia River.  The short hike is well worth it.

The Lake Chelan Washington Butte, is a well traveled “road” that most folks choose to walk rather than drive because of the potential stuck-in-the-mud areas along the way.

The Butte is only a little over 2200 feet above sea level.  Chelan Butte Road will take you to the top of the summit.  Just be aware that you may be concluding your hike by walking because of the infamous muddy, rutted roadway.

Be sure and wear some well fitted hiking/walking shoes.

Fire Watch

Original Fire Lookout Station

Original Fire Lookout Station

The Butte gained popularity when it was mounted with a fire lookout station way back in about 1938.  The Dept. of Natural Resources was responsible for the lookout station.

But do not look for it as you hike to the summit as it was moved in an effort to preserve it’s history.  It now resides in Entiat (inn-tee-at), Washington.

Instead, at the summit, you will find several fenced in towers for communications.

The Butte rock and towers

The Butte rock and towers

What Will I See

Near the fenced towers you’ll note a large rock that is accessible to the general public.  From that point, the view can be seen in all directions.  If you are adventurous, by carefully climbing the rock, you will be given an even better viewpoint advantage.

Being able to see far into the horizon you’ll note Lake Chelan itself, along with the very powerful Columbia River and Cascade Mountain Range.

The Mighty Columbia River

The Mighty Columbia River Heading For The Pacific Ocean

Often times in the early spring and late summer, you’ll be able to see pockets of wild mountain flowers that dot the landscape.  This in itself is often enough to entice folks to the summit.

Hang Gliders Galore !

Want a better view?  Many choose to pack in their hang gliders to the summit and launch from there.  It has become so popular that there is  an area set aside just for this activity.

It’s just a few hundred feet down from the summit with a great launching platform.

Be mindful though, that if you are a potential hang glider pilot, the Chelan officials require each of you to have a fire extinguisher and shovel in each vehicle that goes up the Butte.

Columbia River

From the higher elevation of the Butte, you’ll note how peaceful the Columbia River seems to be.  Its length covering a distance of some 1240 or more miles, with it’s headwaters in Canada.

However, it is far from “peaceful” at its exit into the Pacific Ocean.

Cape Disappointment is its Northernmost edge.

The name Cape Disappointment comes from John Meares a British Captain who searched for the river in vain and not finding it, believed that it did not exist.  Needless to say…he was disappointed.  🙁

The Dam River

The use of water to generate electricity is not new.  Though much of the river goes through Washington along with bordering between Washington and Oregon, the entire Pacific Northwest benefits from it.

With more than 400 dams producing hydroelectricity, it is literally, the most developed river in the world for electric power.  With so much “cheap” electricity at hand, it generated huge industrial growth in the Pacific Northwest.  Jobs are aplenty!

However, with so many dams on a single river, it does have its drawbacks.  A much noticed decline in fish runs, mainly salmon, have come about over the years.

What About The Mouth And The Pacific Ocean?

Though the name Pacific when translated, means ‘peaceful’ especially as compared to the turbulent Atlantic Ocean, it is anything but peaceful where the Columbia spills into the Pacific Ocean.

In fact, with more than 160 Million Acre-Feet of water being discharged daily, it can be quite hazardous to water craft.

Hazards at the Columbia

Hazards at the Columbia Mouth

On the other hand, the U.S. Coast Guard takes advantage of those rough waters for training purposes.

The water is so turbulent that when training for ocean rescues, the mouth of the Columbia is the place to be.   It simulates conditions of a highly volatile storm out at sea, but with land safely nearby.

Many lives have been saved because of the rescue training performed here  by individuals from around the world.

Practice Rescue operations

Practice Rescue operations  where the Columbia River empties into the Pacific Ocean

Back To The Butte

Now that you have a bit of history of the Columbia River, why not take advantage of the short hike/drive to the Butte.

Once you’ve completed your journey, getting back into the township of Lake Chelan, you’ll be able to say to all that you meet … “I’ve hiked the Butte!”

Written by :  Tom McDaniel Share this site

Images by : bestwesterntrail,seleneowners,oceanscape.aquarium

What Is Lake Chelan Washington...An Adventure!

What Is Lake Chelan Washington…An Adventure!


Lake Chelan (pronounced as :  (shee-lan) is one of those great places that once you’ve visited, you’ll be wanting to come back.  Many do, year after year.

Chelan, as the locals refer to it, is a unique community that is tourist oriented.  This is especially true in spring, summer, and autumn.

Though much activity goes on during winter (skiing mostly), it does slow down somewhat.

From Seattle To Lake Chelan

It’s a pleasant drive from Seattle eastbound on I-90.  You’ll note the steep climb as you leave Issaquah (pronounced as : (iz-ah-quaw NOT isss-ah-quaw) heading for North Bend.

Keep an eye out for “stump lake” on your right hand side as you cross over the top of the pass on your descent down the east side.  You may want to take a few photos as you pass it by.  It is unique in itself.

The time spent looking over the mountain terrain will make the time seem to fly by as you head over on your drive.  If traffic is good, then you should make it in under 3 hours easily.

What To Do In Lake Chelan

Enjoy water sports?  Then Chelan is the right place for you.  Only be aware that the lake is glacier fed.  In other words, the water is clear and COLD.

However, if you are an official Washingtonion, then you’ll get used to it very quickly.  Water skiing, jet boats, fishing, jet skis, scuba, snorkeling,  and just plain swimming, all happen on this beautiful lake.

The Water park for the kids and adults is a great alternative to the lake itself.  You’ll want to give it a look-see while you are in Chelan.

The "Big One" that never got away!

The “Big One” that never got away!

Not a swimmer?  

You’ll enjoy the 4 hours boat ride of the entire lake.  Be sure and take advantage of that.  Glaciers are interesting when you get almost next to them. Remember, lots of pictures will be good memories for years to come.

You’ll also have the opportunities to enjoy the golf courses that are in the area.  Many to choose from each set in surroundings that will keep you amazed as you walk/ride through to each hole.

Lake Chelan and snow waters.

Lake Chelan and snowy waters.

Not a golfer?

Don’t forget that since this is a small community, catering to the tourist industry, you’ll find loads of interesting small shop, eateries, and interesting folks that are more than willing to help you.

On the other hand, perhaps you just enjoy getting outside and enjoying the scenery.  Then take advantage of ‘hiking the Butte’ along with friends and family members.

Be sure and take along your Nordic walking poles for a fantastic experience.

Spring-Summer-Perfect for hiking

Spring-Summer-Perfect for hiking

But where do I stay?

You’ll have lots of places to choose from.  Just to name a few of the top rental places to pick from…how about The Downtown 4 Bedroom Penthouse?  It’s located at the waterfront and mere minutes from the downtown area.

Or you can choose from the Oasis Cove with it’s 6 bedrooms that you can fill up with friends, family, or simply share the rental expense with others.  Fifeteen people would feel right at home here.

Perhaps you’ve got children in your group?  Then you’ll love the Royal View with it’s 3 bedroom, 2 baths, and plenty of room for up to 10 people.  A great, flat yard is handy for the kids to romp in.

The water is fine...come on in!

The water is fine…come on in!

But…What About The Outdoor Camping?

Follow along here and we’ll see the great camping sites and we’ll climb the “Butte of Chelan” together.  Just wait till you see the mighty Columbia River from the top of the Butte!

Have an experience you want to share?  Leave your comments below.

Written by :  Tom McDaniel Share this information

Images by: losthorizon,seattletimesnwsource,tripster710,urbanpoling

Mount Rainier National Park – The Trip Continues

OK, now that I’ve “dried out”, we’ll continue up the mountain road, leaving Reflection Lake behind us.  One thing to keep in mind within the Mount Rainier National Park, is that all along the way up the mountain, you’ll be able to pull off the road and use your camera/video devices to be able to take in all the surrounding scenery.

Driving Towards Mount Rainier National Park...What you'll see on approaching

Driving Towards Mount Rainier National Park…What you’ll see on approaching

At the same time, you’ll meet up with others doing the same thing and perhaps be asked to take a photo of them on their way up the mountain, just as you are.  Don’t hesitate, just join in.  You may be surprised at where others are from and what they have to share with you.  I know you’ll love it, just as my family and I always do!

Motorcycle Your Way To The Top

Oh, yes, and if you happen to be riding motorcycles, it’s even better.  You can take your bikes into places where cars/trucks just can not go.  However, keep in mind also, that even though you may want to go to the top of this 14,410 foot high mountain, most choose to not do so, even if you are on a mountain bike.  (ha ha just kidding)

Mount Rainier National Park Motorcycle Riders

Mount Rainier National Park Motorcycle Riders

Winding your way up the mountain, you’ll be tempted to stop at the rivers and water falls coming from the snow and ice melting.  If you choose to do so, just make sure that you are off the paved surface.

Nisqually River

Nisqually River

I hate to say it, but there are some, who after many times up and down the mountain, choose to not obey the speed limit.  Because of that, some will “fly” up the mountain or down it.  So, be careful, especially on those sharp blind curves.

One of the many sights you’ll love is the Mount Rainier National Park Canyon Bridge.

Approaching Canyon Bridge-Tunnel

Approaching Canyon Bridge-Tunnel


You’ll know it when you see it.   If you are from another part of the U.S. or perhaps another country and have never see miles and miles of forests, then this is where you can see it first hand.  In fact, because of the miles of trees, many Hollywood studios have chosen to make movies/films that require an outdoor setting.  So, between Washington and Vancouver, B.C., there are ideal settings.

Australia At It’s Best ?

For instance, a number of years back a movie was made about a young man coming of age in the wilds of Australia.  The movie was called :   The Man From Snowy River.  If you’ve see it, then you’ve seen the scene where young Craig is riding his mountain horse and chasing after the wild horses and his run-away horse that was coaxed into joining the wild stallion.  Remember where all the other men stopped short, because of the steep mountain?   Then, Craig and his mountain horse continued right on down the mountain side, even jumping over logs and fallen trees on the way down?

Well, that scene was filmed in and area in Washington because it fit exactly what the movie makers were wanting.  If memory serves me correctly, it was in the Roslyn area.  So, it’s scenes like that, that made the movie one of the best films made that year.  Have not seen it?  Then put that on your “bucket list” of things to do.

Man From Snowy River Scene...Note Background

Man From Snowy River Scene…Note Background

Anyway, back to out drive up the mountain.  So you may be asking :  what am I going to see when I get to the end of this road?

At Road’s End…What Now?

Answer :   the Paradise Lodge.    Oh, and don’t forget the Rainier Rest Station, it’s also at the end of the road.  After all, it’s a nice slow drive up and all those cups of coffee and other liquids will be taking it’s toll.   🙂

The Rest Station (aka bathrooms)

The Rest Station (aka bathrooms)

The Paradise Lodge is one of those places that you’ll just fall in love with when you go inside.  It’s all open beamed, with extremely high ceilings along with massive open spaces.  You’ll also see in one section, a 3-D relief of the entire Mount Rainier Nation Park and all the surrounding areas.

Paradise Lodge

Paradise Lodge

Take your time here.  Locate the Paradise Lodge area, then locate the place where you are staying.  Now…notice how the mountain side (the west and southwest) have “slid”  into Puget (pew-jet) Sound and even out into the Tacoma area and Olympia?   You’ll be made aware that is where at one time, the mountain erupted and slid into the water.

Just a little bit of trivia for you.  After Mount St. Helens erupted (May 18, 1980), there were a few rumblings noticed around the Rainier area.  Needless to say, a few professionals were a bit nervous about Rainier also “popping off ” and the huge damage it would cause if it did so.  Happily, nothing happened.

FYI :  I’ll also put together a blog dealing with Mount St. Helens and how my I, my wife and son, were caught in the ash.  It was very nerve wracking to say the least.  We’ll save that for another time though.

Within the Paradise Lodge, you’ll be able to grab a bite to eat or a light snack for the kids.  You’ll also find loads of plaques on the walls and floor stands that will give you a brief but concise, education of Mount Rainier and the National Park.

The wildlife and carpets of flowers over the mountain sides will dazzle your eyes!

Up The Mountain Side

Wild Flowers

Wild Flowers

Now, onward and outward !   It’s time to walk up the mountain.  Don’t panic though, the lower trails are all paved and fairly easy to navigate.  However, keep in mind that you WILL be out of breath, especially on the initial walk/hike up to the little resting bench on the upper right hand side of the trail.  Believe me, you’ll be glad it’s there.

Wild Flowers

Wild Flowers

Wild Flowers

Wild Flowers


Now, on the other hand, if you are one of those folks that really enjoy a brisk hike, then this is the place for you.  Even in the summer, it’s not too hot or cold to do so.  Jim Whittaker is one of those professional climbers to have gone to the top of Rainier on many occasions.  Not only that, but he has been a guide to a number of others who also wanted to climb the mountain.  On the other hand, there have been groups, on their own, have scaled the mountain to the summit.

The Pros Know How To Do It

But, keep in mind, that unless you really know what you are doing, climbing to the top of Rainier can, at times, be deadly.  Many of professional mountain climber has lost his or her life, trying to get to the top. Why?  Because like any other mountain covered in snow, snow and ice, are totally unpredictable.  Anything can happen.

Mountain Climbers Heading For The Summit Some 14,410 Feet Up

Mountain Climbers Heading For The Summit Some 14,410 Feet Up

See my blog on avalanche…you’ll see why and how ice and snow reacts.

OK, so enough for this blog.  We’ll get to the very pleasant hiking trails in next blog.  I’ll connect them together so you can continue.

Like this little trip?  Please be sure and leave me a comment below because  I always enjoy hearing from others.

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Posted by :   Tom McDaniel