Lynden Wa. Welcomes You

Lynden Wa. Welcomes You

Lynden Wa is another one of those uniques city townships in Washington that constantly draws people from around the country and  around the world.

Located in Whatcom County and established in 1874 on the Squahalish Indian village.  Early beginnings of the location was to establish a place for early pioneers to settle.

Lynden Wa & Northern Neighbor…Canada

Lyden is a mere 5 miles to the Canadian border.  The wide open valley near the Nooksack River certainly does give you feelings of those early pioneer days.

The Nooksack River empties into Bellingham Bay near the city of Bellingham some 15 miles south of the city.

Nooksack Indians (Native Americans) were well established in the area long before the 1860 non-Indian settlers began to arrive.

Nooksack River running wild and very cold...brrrrrrrr

Nooksack River running wild and very cold…brrrrrrrr

Dutch Influence

Today, Lynden is well known for its orderly, conservative, and highly religious community.  The Dutch influence is clearly evident when observing the township.

Up until the early 1900’s the mainstay industry was logging as was much of the state of Washington.  However, because of being such an inviting place, many Dutch settlers moved into the area because of its fertile soil.

Now it was clear that dairy farming was taking over the area.  Quickly it became the dominant industry.   Ideal for vegetables too, such as beans, carrots, beets, barley, oats and hops, the railroad barons could see fortunes being made by exporting these goods.

The only downside to the railroad and to the town, was that the R.R. was 6 miles away in Clearbrook to the northeast of town.

Here Come The Hollanders!

D.J. Zylstra ( a Dutch Hollander) was considered to be one of the early city “fathers” that encouraged other Dutch families to move into the area.  In fact, his home on Front Street  was the first place Dutch families would go to when arriving in Lynden.

The “Hollanders” as the non-Dutch folks would call them, influenced the life and lifestyle of all who lived in Lynden.

Most Hollanders would follow the teachings of John Calvin (Calvinists) and were regarded as very conservative in socially and theological matters.

However, as the community grew with businesses and schools, the next generation grew up speaking English as their first language rather than the Dutch language spoken by their parents and grandparents.

Captivating downtown streets

Captivating downtown streets

Religious Schools Influence the Community

In the fall of 1910 the Lynden Christian School opened.  By 1945 the school grew to offer classes from first through high school.

Because of the Dutch way of thinking when it comes to religion, they would keep business and religion separate.  Not working on Sundays was a normal thing for the Dutch township.

Sometimes though, this proved to be a bit inconvenient for the rest of the non-Dutch businesses.  Restaurants, hardware, sundries stores of all kinds, would be closed.

However, the non-Dutch community learned to live with it because of the pleasant surrounding and living conditions that the Dutch families offered.

Dutch influence is seen

Dutch influence is seen everywhere

World War II

The second WW had displaced many thousands of individuals in  European lands.  Many chose to immigrate to the U.S. to start over.  Lynden was the ideal location.

During the 1950’s the percentage of Dutch families was well past the 50% mark.  Making the city of Lynden a “Dutch” community.

During the 1980’s a Dutch festival started with a two day festival and Dutch theme throughout the city.  Especially was this evident on Front Street with windmills, bakery and restaurants highlighting Dutch themes.

Lynden Today

Though the twenty first century has its influence on Lynden, all in all it remains a Dutch city.  The  ambiance that is found there is enjoyed by all who visit this peaceful, clean, friendly city here in Washington.

One thing you’ll note right away are the uniquely wide streets with pristine lawns on either side.  The story goes that in the early days the streets needed to be wide enough so horse drawn carriages and buggies could turn around anywhere in the streets.

Fair grounds

Northwest Washington Fair grounds

Unusual Entrance To Lynden

Strange but true, Lynden is one of the very few cities in the entire world with the main entrance into town running between two cemeteries.

Lynden also has the world record for having the most churches per square mile and per capita.  That may have a bearing why it has such a low crime rate even though it is a border town to Canada.

During the month of August, the city grows to some 200,000 people as they make their way to the Northwest Washington Fair grounds.

Whatever your reasons are for visiting Lynden, you’ll come away with that “warm and fuzzy feeling” because of the wonderful environment you’ll be immersed in.

Bald Eagles along the Nooksack River

Bald Eagles along the Nooksack River

Why not come and see for yourself? Share this site with your friends…

Written by:  Tom McDaniel

Images by:maggiewilliams,thenowtroopers,sevenstreetfarm,homeaway,livingwilderness

Deception Pass Bridge

Deception Pass Bridge

South of Anacortes and La Conner, you’ll come to Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound (pew-jet) area.   If you love the out of door like most folks here in Washington, then the North end of the Island where Deception Pass State Park is located is where you want to find yourself.

What is Deception Pass?  It is a 4,134 acre state park.  Thousands of feet of salt water shoreline and some 33,000 feet of fresh water shoreline is what will greet you as you enter the park.

Rugged cliffs dot the shoreline where they drop off into the highly turbulent waters that make up Deception Pass.

The bridge on a foggy morning

The bridge on a foggy morning

Here, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, you will still find some the famous “old growth” that made Washington a logging capital to the U.S. lumber markets along with  Massive forests, tremendous amounts of wildlife, dunes of sand, lakes, fantastic shoreline views and don’t forget the beautiful Pacific Northwest Sunsets.

NAVY Noise

While enjoying the park, from time to time you may also enjoy the “show” the local Naval Air Station puts on from time to time.  Some times it goes for a couple of hours.  These are the training missions for the fliers that can occur during the day or even into the nighttime hours.

What To Do

Stocking Cranberry Lake with trout

Stocking Cranberry Lake with trout

It’s not really a matter of trying to figure out what to do, but more like which will I choose to do?!   You’ll have so many choices that it would be almost impossible to enjoy all of the activities.

There’s picnic time, crabbing, snorkel or scuba diving, boating (be sure and bring your boat), freshwater and saltwater fishing, kayaking, beach walking and finding trophies along the way, mountain biking, hiking, challenging someone to horseshoes, sailboarding, circle fires, along with two amphitheaters.

Don’t forget the horse trails, hiking trails, and biking trails.

So…which will you choose?

Deception Pass beckons you to visit.

Deception Pass beckons you to visit.

Playground For The Kids

Bring the kids.  The playground can round out your full day of other activities by letting the kids burn off all that “extra energy” while you relax.

Bridge Connects The Islands

Crossing between Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands could only be done by boat, up until August 1934 when construction on the bridge finally began.

Wallace Bridge and Structural Company was used to build the two spans that would eventually connect the islands.  Labor was done by locals that were out of work along with those of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

Before the bridge though, was a small ferry system run by five foot tall Berte Olson, the first woman to be a ferry captain in the state of Washington.

Since the ferry system she used was a bit unstable to say the least, often times not running because of the choppy water and windy conditions, it was frustrating to those who needed to cross.

Being her source of income, she fought tooth and nail to have the bridge building stopped.

She lost her battle, but her story is very interesting.

The Park

Once you have discovered the bridge, then you’ll want to continue your enjoyment of the park by visiting  Cranberry Lake, the West Beach, Rosario Beach along with the Tide Pools, Pass Lake, North Beach, Hoypus Forest, Cornet Bay, Bowman Bay and Kukutali Preserve on Kiket Island.

Welcome to Deception Pass

Welcome to Deception Pass

So you see, there is an entire plethora of activities here in the Pass.

Plan your visit and come see what you are missing.  Leave your comments below.
Share this site…

Written by:  Tom McDaniel

Images by:60before60,visitskagitvalley,evertrail,goskagit,delzane

Welcome to the North Cascades National Park

Welcome to the North Cascades National Park

If you enjoy “getting away from it all”, the North Cascade Travel Guide is what you’ll be wanting in order  to locate those enjoyable places that most folks know nothing about.

The Pacific Northwest is known for it’s beautiful wilderness and wild areas.  However, there are many, many places that have wonderful recreation sites also.

Green Lake Falls No. Cascades Park

Green Lake Falls North Cascades Park

The North Cascades National Park draws thousands of visitors to it each year.  Why?

Let’s see what there is to do.

North Cascades National Park

Perhaps one of the first things you’ll want to do is to contact one of the Rangers of the park.  She or he, will answer all your questions and even give you more to think about.

You never know what you'll see

You never know what you’ll see…..Elk

Guided tours or guided ‘talks’ with the Ranger will make for an enjoyable trip.  An outdoor ‘education’ of the park, it’s ecosystem, cultural history, geology, and it’s many carnivores living in the wild will be fascinating for all.

While you are there, don’t overlook the “Lady of the Lake” cruises up Lake Chelan (she-lan) on your way to Stehekin.

Within the park you’ll see and hear animals with fur, feathers, and scales that are scattered throughout.   If you keep a sharp eye out, you may be one of the lucky ones to see the gray wolf, fisher or even the wolverine that wanders through the forests.

For the fisherman

For the fisherman

All along the way you’ll be entertained by the antics of the Douglas squirrels and pikas that are in abundance throughout.

Have you ever see a Dragonfly up close?  Here you will and be able to examine them closely.

Hiker’s Guide

It’s been described as a hiker’s smorgasbord for the huge variety of trails, strolls, scenic, steep, or even grueling hikes that are at your fingertips.  All that is needed is for you to choose which one.

We are here.

We are here.  Top of map.  

With some 400 miles of trails, you’ll be pleased no matter which one you choose.  Deep valleys, dense forested areas, switchbacks, steep pases that lead to the higher ridges dot the entire park.

Be on the lookout for the more than 300 glaciers that protrude from the mountains and some 130 alpine lakes in the valleys below you.

Two Million Acres

Some 94 percent of the entire park has been deemed the Stephen Mather Wilderness and is the central core of more than two million acres of Federally Protected Wilderness.

During the hiking season, usually from April – October, you’ll be met with many others on the trails.  But if you are and intrepid hiker, backpacker or semi-mountain climber, keep in mind that the hiking trails are open year round.

For the serious backpacker

For the serious backpacker

A trip planner schedule should be put into use before you begin your adventure though.

Camping – Bicycling – Fishing – Horse Riding

Bicycling is one of the next best ways to travel through the park. It’s a little bit easier and you can see more than just walking.  Either way, you’ll get a scenic tour.

Come join us.

Come join us.

Perhaps you have little ones or older folks with you, then the North Cascades Highway will be just right for you.

Why not get your horse out for a little change of scenery too?  Many of the trails are horse friendly.

Regardless of which areas you choose, the Park has something for everyone.

Have comments about your favorite park?  Be sure and leave them below.

Written by:  Tom McDaniel

Images by:  shannontech,pinterest,seeyosemite,nationalparkcenterreservations,gonorthwest,truenorthathletics,spokesman

What is night? Beautiful!

What is Anacortes at night? Simply Beautiful!

Anacortes (anna-core-tess) is in the state of Washington.  Located on the north end of Fidalgo Island.  Many ask what is Anacortes?   Some think of it as some type of wild animal.  For instance, a big snake like the Anaconda.

Sorry to disappoint you, but it is not a snake but what it is, is a unique place to live and visit.

The name Anacortes comes from a very early settler to the area named Amos Bowman.

Amos wanted to do something special for his beloved wife, so he named the area Anacortes which comes from his wife’s name of Anna Curtis.  A little “short cut” with her name and up comes Anacortes.

Welcome to Anacortes

Welcome to Anacortes

March Point

My first visit to Anacortes was the March Point area where my family and friends went crabbing.  If you like crab, then you’ve got to check out the fantastic crabbing in the area.

We had a small boat and a couple of crab nets with floats attached to the top so we could find them after tossing the basket nets into the water about 100 feet from the shore.

With a huge fish head wired to the inside of the basket, we waited about 20 or 30 minutes and then went to haul up the net basket.  This had to be done super fast as you can see the basket getting closer to the surface, the crabs literally are jumping out!

The faster you pull, the more you come up with.

What made this crabbing taste so great, is that with a beach campfire, and a large pot of the local salt water, we just cooked them on the spot.  Minutes later, dipping in melted butter, we all had our complete fill of crab.  All 12 of us!


After reading a few of my earlier posts on Seattle, the Seattle Space Needle, the Aquarium, Floating Bridges and Ferry systems, along with the GreenLake Park area, you’ll want to expand your understanding of the state of Washington, Mount Rainier, and the Seattle area to include it’s surroundings.

Directions To Anacortes

From Seattle head north along I-5 till you get to the Mount Vernon area and then head west on West Division Street which will connect you to Hwy. 536 which in turn, connects to I-20 that takes you directly into Anacortes.

On the other hand, if you stay on I-5 northbound a bit further you’ll come to Burlington.  Look for the westbound sign for I-20 which takes you past March Point and right into Anacortes.

“New York of the West”

Similar in nature as La Conner located just south of Anacortes, in the early days, many Indian groups or tribes, dotted the area.

The Samish and Swinomish tribes abounded.

Not having industry to contend with, the entire region was home to some of the largest trees in the U.S.

(Go to “Home” at top of this page and scroll all the way down to the bottom.  You’ll see some of those early trees that grew in the area.)

Old growth Douglas fir absolutely dominated the skyline.

Amos Bowman envisioned a “Western New York” and tried to promote Anacortes as an urban center for all to enjoy.  He failed.

Anacortes Today

Now famous for the Washington State Ferries terminal and docking port, Anacortes serves Lopez Island, Shaw Island and beautiful Orcas Island along with all of the San Juan Islands and up into British Columbia Canada with Victoria and Vancouver Island.

Enjoy a ferry ride for whale watching

Enjoy a ferry ride for whale watching

With ideal surroundings, boaters, fishermen (and women) flock to the area.   Outdoor camping and travel trailers are all welcome.

Enjoy tent or motorhome camping

Enjoy tent or motorhome camping

Being so close to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, whale watching has proven to be a real drawing influence to people from all around the world.

A Scenic Hike

Some 50 miles of mountain biking and hiking trails wind there way throughout the region.  Even for those adventurous souls that  enjoy rock climbing, you’ll be pleased at the many challenges that Anacortes offers you.

Mount Erie is also a challenge if you enjoy hiking.  It’s 1273 foot peak will give you a view that you’ll not soon forget.

Hiking scenery

Hiking scenery you’ll enjoy in Anacortes

On the other hand, if you are not into walking or rock climbing, then don’t forget the long-distance cyclists.  It is sponsored by Adventure Cycling Association “Northern Tier” that will get you started near Anacortes and end in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Don't forget about Anacortes shopping!

Don’t forget about Anacortes shopping!

Fun Stuff

Shipwreck Day , Anacortes Arts Festival, and Oyster Run are events that will bear looking into for young and old alike, and don’t forget to see the “Pirates” of Seattle!

Oyster Run downtown

Oyster Run downtown Anacortes…Come join the Fun!

Why not come in and join us?

Anacortes would welcome your visit. Share this site.

Written by: Tom McDaniel

Leave your comments below…I love to hear from folks!

Images by:anacortes,visitanjuans,activerain,shipharborinn

City of Leavenworth Washington

The City of Leavenworth Washington Welcomes YOU!

After Bob and Ted purchased the small restaurant named Coles Corner Cafe and renamed it The Squirrel Tree, the transformation to a Bavarian Alpine theme for the city of Leavenworth was underway!

Leavenworth at night

Leavenworth at night

Today, most folks no longer ask “what is Leavenworth Washington” without getting a response from anyone that has been there such as:  ” It is a wonderful, almost euphoric atmosphere that permeates the entire city.”   (see part 1)

Major Changes With Immediate Success

With the final touches on the newly named Squirrel Tree Restaurant now in place, the two business men realized that they had a highly successful operation.  In fact, about one year later, the two built the The Squirrel Tree Chalet Motel.


The Squirrel Tree Lodge

The Squirrel Tree Lodge  (Chalet)

It too, became an overnight success.  Flushed with so much success, both Ted and Bob had plans for extending their Alpine – Bavarian theme by creating an authentic style “Old Bavarian Village” that would be next to the restaurant.

However, because of difficulties, that project was never fulfilled.

One of the main attractions that caught everyone’s attention while dining at the Squirrel Tree was the wild bears that would come to the restaurant for food scraps.

Soon, they became so “friendly” that they would take scraps of food out of the hands and sometimes, the mouth, of those working in the restaurant!

Penny Ells with Ole George

Penny Ells with “Ole George”

But all had to beware…because after all, these animals were still wild.

Leavenworth Takes On Bavaria

With the city of Leavenworth only a few miles away, the city officials began to rethink their own success.   Ted, too, came in touch with the city officials to further the Bavarian theme throughout the city.

With the help of the University of Washington (a.k.a. the “U” District)  Ted spearheaded the L.I.F.E. project.

L = Leavenworth

I  = Improvement

F  = For

E  = Everyone

It began by encouraging tourism to the area.  As travelers slowly began to drift into Leavenworth, Ted quickly realized that the  Old Bavarian Village that he originally wanted, could be fulfilled right there throughout the small city of Leavenworth.

However, it had to be more than storefronts with Alpine – Bavarian style facades.  To be successful, the entire city needed to have a makeover, along with the local residents.

With many “bumps” in their way, Ted and the city officials, began in earnest to have this dream fulfilled.

A Struggle To Become Successful

For many years after the Great Depression, the small town of Leavenworth was considered to be a ‘welfare town’ that would never amount to anything worthwhile.

Having their little school building condemned and needing a new one, there was difficulties to overcome.  After all, both Ted and Bob were “outsiders” from Seattle and were not to be trusted.

On the other hand, those that realized the potential of an Alpine – Bavarian Village, undertook the challenge.  Many had to go into deep debt to have their storefronts and interiors totally changed over.

Being a very risky venture, almost all of the business owners would have to make huge sacrifices and risk all of their futures on this venture.

Massive changes needed to be made if they were to survive.

Even their everyday dress attire had to be in the Bavarian styles.  It was all so different to the locals!

Leavenworth "Official" dress code

Leavenworth “Official” dress code

Project Alpine Gets Underway

Only a few of the longtime residents (at first) would give both Ted Price and Bob Rodgers any support.  That was back in the early/middle 1960’s.

However, with the early support of Owen and Pauline Watson, LaVern Peterson, Vern and Ann Herrett,  the project got underway.  These early pioneers into the then, unknown, would soon realize that their venture would quickly pay off.

With the purchase of several of the local storefronts in very bad condition, Bob and Ted set out to renovate all of them.   Often on the verge of bankruptcy, they pushed ahead.

Leavenworth Today

Leavenworth Today

Leavenworth Today

It did not take long for others to join in with the facelift of their small city.   Total remodels were the thing of the future.

Needed changes in the city building codes  were needed.  Once done, it allowed the changes to the realism of the Bavarian theme by the steep slopes in the shapes and styles of the roof tops of each building.

Now with the Bavarian roofs, ironworks, balconies, and the burying of all telephone and power lines, the city began to take on the Alpine-Bavarian township look that was most desirable.

In order to promote tourism, both Ted and Bob instituted the Four Seasons Events…the Autumn Leaf Festival…the Christmas Lighting…the Mai Fest…and finally the Art In The Park.

Mai Fest

Mai Fest held in Leavenworth Washington

Leavenworth Waterfront Park was also promoted in the early 1970’s and now draws thousands of tourists to the town’s frontage area located on the Wenatchee (wee-nat-chee) River.

Wenatchee River

Wenatchee River


Why Not Come Join Us?

Leavenworth Washington has undergone some major changes over the past 100 years.  It will continue to do so…but in the Alpine – Bavarian style.  Why not come see for yourselves?

If you are intrigued, then the first seasonal fest would be the Oktober Fest beginning the last week of September.  Each year it draws thousands to its festive atmosphere, beer gardens, food courts, Bavarian style dances and much, much more.

Leave your comments below if you’ve enjoyed your “mountain visit” to Leavenworth.

Written by :   Tom McDaniel Share this site

Images by:universityofwashington,leavenworthorg,flicr,venuelust,cityofleavenworth,seattletimes

Welcome to Leavenworth

Welcome to Leavenworth Washington

Rugged snow capped mountain peaks.  Multi-colored spring flowers.  Art-in-the-park for summertime enjoyment.  Oktoberfest (October-fest)  beginning the last week of September with autumn leaves of red, orange, yellow, and gold everywhere you look.  That will answer the question of : What is Leavenworth Washington.   Part 1

However, just reading about something is one thing,  to experience it is something that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Captain Charles F. Leavenworth, along with a group of financiers, began the small settlement with hopes of ‘striking-it-rich’ in their own way.

A Glimpse Of Leavenworth History

The state of Washington, though not really a part of the so-called “old west” did have it’s own history with the native Indians.  Now called, Native Americans.

The main Indian tribes that lived in and around the Leavenworth area were the : Yakima (yak-kah-ma), the Chinook (shen-nook), and the Wenatchee (wen-nat-chee).

The heavily forested mountain ranges of the Pacific Northwest Cascade Mountains were ideal hunting grounds for elk and deer.  Along the many creeks, streams, and rivers, the fishing was quickly recognized as some of the best in the region.

The Icicle Creek (river) had many braves from the local tribes,  fishing for salmon to bring home to smoke, or cure for later use during the winter months.

Settlements Began

As pioneers slowly moved into the area in search of furs, gold (the gold rush of the 1860’s), or perhaps a good plot of land to farm.  Soon stakes were claimed and property rights began to show up.

Family groups would arrive, building homes near the Wenatchee River.

As word spread, the Leavenworth area was soon teeming with settlers that began the townships early building stages on Icicle Flats circa 1890.  In 1893, it was officially platted for township recognition.

Not until the turn of the century did Leavenworth really become something more than a stopping place for wanderers and seekers-of-fortunes.

The Great Northern Railway Company Comes To Town

With the arrival of the railroad, the town seemed to explode almost overnight.  With dreams inspired by railroad tycoon James Jerome Hill, the so-called ‘Empire Builder’ a northern route across the United States was planned.

With jobs-a-plenty, the fledgling community of Leavenworth came into existence.  Now that the men had  steady incomes from work on the railroad,  small business’, families, churches, schools and city run government came into being.

Soon after the railroad was finished, other financiers began to look with envy at the tall timbers that surrounded the region.  Soon, a large lumber mill was set up by the company of Lamb-Davis near the railroad tracks.

Logging was now the main industry for Leavenworth.  With an almost unquenchable thirst for lumber and wood products in the eastern United States, Leavenworth was truly blossoming into a small city.

The Winds Of Change

Always looking for the next “shiny penny” the Lamb-Davis company decided to sell off their mill along with all their land holdings.  Then the Great Northern Railroad moved their main operations out of Leavenworth to the Wenatchee (wen-nat-chee) area.

The old saying of “when it rains, it pours” was about to come true for Leavenworth.

Now that the lumber mill and railroad had moved on, the town was hit by another disaster.  The year was 1929.  The disaster was the economic market crash which started the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

The former prosperous little township was looking more and more like a ghost town of the old west.  Within its two block business section, some 24 empty storefronts were now making up most of the town.

Leavenworth...almost a ghost town in the early days

Leavenworth…almost a ghost town in the early days

Death of the town was near.  Lack of economy was squeezing the lifeblood out of the community and its local residents.

Alpine – Bavarian Village Begins

Struggling for survival through the 1930’s, 1940’s, and  1950’s, the local residents realized that they needed to make some major changes in order to survive.

Capitalizing on what two of Seattle’s residents had done, they followed suit.

Who were the two Seattle residents and how did they influence the beginnings of the now famous Alpine – Bavarian village of Leavenworth to what it is today?

Bob Rodgers, Ted Price, And The Squirrel

Bob Rodgers fell in love with Bavaria while serving in the military during world war two.  In fact, he so enjoyed its culture, music, dress and atmosphere, he returned to Europe in 1955 to be immersed once more.

Ted Price, a native of Portland, Oregon, also enjoyed the outdoor atmosphere of Europe while in the Marine Corps.  He became a representative of the Pfizer (fi-zerr) company.

The two WW II friends soon were tired of life in the city of Seattle and wanted to get away from its hustle and bustle fast paced lifestyle.

Both men enjoyed the outdoors and would hike throughout the Cascade Mountains.  At one point, they chose to hike near Leavenworth.  Enjoying its beauty so much, that they decided to make some changes in their lives.

Simple...yet appealing The Squirrel Tree Restaurant

Simple…yet appealing    The Squirrel Tree Restaurant

Then they saw it…the then future Squirrel Tree Restaurant…The transformation of Leavenworth had begun.  But how?  Part 2 is here.

Share your thoughts below about Leavenworth…or another Alpine-Bavarian experience.

Written by: Tom McDaniel Be sure to share this

Images by:reddit,leavenworthhistory,yelp,livingnow

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

Enjoy Mount Rainier From It’s 14,410 Foot Peak!

Mount Rainier Climbers

Mount Rainier Climbers


Mount Rainier climbers enjoy  some of the most beautiful scenery in the entire world.  Why can we say that?  Several reason.  First, because of the rain that the western side of the state of Washington gets, the air is usually very clear.  The lakes, ponds, rivers, mountains and valleys, are all within eyesight as you ascend the mountain.

Another “plus” for climber/hikers is the almost constant rainfall, and because of it, the air is always being “cleansed” of pollution, allowing you to see clearly for many miles.

Now, don’t get me wrong here, I am not a professional hiker or climber of mountains by any stretch of the imagination.  On the other hand though, along with my family in tow, we have enjoyed several day hikes up Mount Rainier.  It’s great fun !   See how much fun and enjoyable it can be as you follow along on just one of our little day hikes.

On the other hand, being at the Paradise Lodge on many occasions, we’ve encountered several serious climbing parties that are heading to the summit of Rainier.  These Mount Rainier climbers really know what they are doing.

I can recall watching these groups get prepared for the hike.  Usually their guide is world renowned climber, Jim Whittaker or another highly experienced climber.  In times gone by, it could have been Jim OR Lou Whittaker.  Mirror twins of one another, (one left handed, the other right handed) would climb Mount Rainier as the group guide.


Oooooo,  I Think I’m Going To Be Sick!

At the age of 16, most boys seem to think they can do most anything at all, even climb the 14,410 foot height of Mount Rainier!

Jim and Lou in the early days.  At 6 ft. 5 in. they are ready.

Jim and Lou in the early days. At 6 ft. 5 in. they are ready for the climb.


Jim and Lou today Photo: Seattle PI Scott Ecklund

Jim and Lou today
Photo: Seattle PI Scott Ecklund

Jim and Lou  Photo by  Seattle Met

Jim and Lou
Photo by Seattle Met


Once these two twins set their Boy Scouts mind’s to the task of climbing Mount Rainier, they just do it!  As has been reported by the boys (now both in their 80’s), that first time up the mountain made both of them sick.  Being determined to accomplish the task, but far from being prepared, the two set off to conques Rainier with “a bunch of grapes that mom packed for us”.   That was about all they had!   Can you imagine that?

If you are not familiar with heights on mountains, it’s a well know fact that  as you climb, the air becomes very “thin” and breathing becomes labored.  With the lack of  oxygen in the mountain air, you naturally breath deeper and more often.  With every breath you exhale, you are also expelling body moisture.   As your body begins to become dehydrated, you crave liquids.

Snow was handy, so were the grapes.  The boys would melt the snow in their mouths and have a few grapes.  However, when they got to the top (yes, they did indeed reach the 14,410 foot level)……………….up came the grapes !

That was their very first experience as a pair of  Mount Rainier climbers.   That was in 1945.

Since then, the two have made themselves the most prominent mountain climbers in all of the Pacific Northwest.

Jim feels right at home in Port Townsend and Lou at his Mount Rainier area, motel.

14,410 foot Mount Rainier

14,410 foot Mount Rainier

Scary Stuff…That Snow

Over many years of experience, the two knew what areas were safe to climb and which areas were open to the dangers of avalanches.  Take a look at the avalanche information below.  I know you’ll enjoy it.

If you enjoyed this article or want to share a story about your hiking/climbing up Rainier, leave me a comment below.

 White Dragons On Mount Rainier

White Dragons, or better known as avalanches, are wonderful to watch………..from a distance.  But many want to know why, where, and what can be done in the never ending battle regarding the prevention of an avalanche and being able to safely enjoy a mountain climb.  Let’s find out together as we explore this great “sea” of white wonderment.

This is part 1

A Mountain Riddle

Several centuries back, there was a riddle that went something like this:  “What is it that hits without hands, sees but has no eyes, and flies but has no wings?”

The answer?  White Dragons…………or as we now know them, avalanches!

Tremendously powerful, these white dragons are.  They can engulf a person within seconds and at times they have been known to swallow entire villages.  Many lost their lives in these icey tombs, giving them the name, ‘white death.’

So where do they occur?  Well, if you live in the tropics or perhaps in lowland areas, more than likely, you’ll never need to worry about them.  On the other hand, if you live in a mountainous terrain with snow capped peaks, then beware, you are in the white dragons lair!

High up in the snow capped mountains where free-fall  snow occurs on a regular basis, is where these “creatures” live.  They come to “life” when enough build-up of snowfall gets too heavy, breaking itself free from  the mountain sides.  As these avalanches descend, the air pressure that precedes them can devastate bushes, trees, small towns, and people, and much more if they are in the path of these “creatures”.

Why and when does it happen?
Light fluffy snowflakes can be beautiful when we watch it from the comfort of our warm homes.  However, high in the mountains, when snow falls, it begins to change.  These snow crystals change because of the differences of the air temperatures on the ground as compared to the temperatures high in the sky.

As these flakes accumulate, they begin to pack onto each other.  As snow continues to fall, say, over a period of about 24 hours, a foot of nice fluffy snow can compact into as little as 4 inches.  Making it very dense and heavy.

Since we know that snow comes in different shapes such as, crystals, pellets and granules, they pack together differently at greater heights.  Depending on which type of snowflake is falling and packing together will explain why certain areas have more avalanches than others.  For instance, the crystal flake which has 6 points on it, will interlock with others of like kind.  Making it more “sturdy” than other flake types.

The granules and the pellet type flakes do not have that capability.  They will usually just roll over the top of each other.  At the same time,  if there happens to be a type of “solid” layer underneath,  it makes it that much easier to have an avalanche to “slip” from the firmly packed snow to do it’s damage on anything in it’s downhill cascade.

Not only the type of flake but the temperature, the steepness of the mountain terrain, the movement of wind, animal or human movement on the snow, and the depth of the snow all determine whether or not the white dragon will begin to move.

Crystal snowflakes

Crystal snowflakes

Granule snowflakes

Granule snowflakes

Pellet snowflakes

Pellet snowflakes

 Moving the Dragon

The white powder that so many skiers desire, is the perfect type for an avalanche.  How so?  The so-called powder snow is usually made up of either the granules or pellets. (see images)   Their ability to slide over each other can make for treacherous conditions.

Never expect to out-ski or out-run an avalanche………..that is, unless you can move at MORE THAN 200 miles per hour!  That is how fast or even faster, this white death can travel.  The tremendous air movement in front can blow off rooftops long before it arrives.

The Hard-Slab Slide

But which is the deadliest type of slide?  It has it’s own name.  It is known as the “hard-slab” avalanche.  They come about by old snow being built up over a longer period of time.  These hard slab slides can be very deceiving to many.  Looking like they are solid, then suddenly breaking away, causing a cascade effect.  Chunks of hardened snow come crashing down at some 50 miles per hour.

If you do decide to ski, do so in the middle of winter.  Why so?  Because that is when the snow is at it’s lease likely point of breaking away and causing a slide.  Spring time is just the opposite.  Spring has been deemed to be the time of year when most ski accidents from avalanches occur, along with loss of life.

Be careful whenever you ski.

But what parts of the earth do they occur?  Can they be prevented?  And what about rescue missions for those that are caught?  Do these same type of avalanches occur as Mount Rainier climbers tackle this mountain?


Leave me a comment below along with any stories that you have.   I love comments!

Written by :   Tom McDaniel Share this site…

Seattle Floating Bridges –  Do They Really Float?

Can a concrete and steel bridge really float on water?  The Seattle Floating Bridges have done so for decades! You say:  ” But it just does not seem possible!”  Let’s take a quick look at why and how it is possible, OK?  You’ll enjoy this little “trip” down the memory lane of Seattle Floating Bridges.  🙂 Why would the city fathers ever consider building Seattle floating bridges in the first place?  Let’s look back at the reason and a brief history.

I recommend that you read my blog about the Seattle Ferry Boats to give you an idea of their history as the two of them are related to each other.  Makes interesting reading too.

Now, in your mind’s eye, go back to the late 1800’s when there were no paved roads, no large bridges, no cars or trucks.  People and goods were transported either by ship, boat, or ferry over the water.  On land it was by carts, or large wagons.

The rather small island of Mercer Island (see map as it looks like today)  was in need of regular transportation to and from the island to the center business area of Seattle.  It was mainly accomplished by canoe or rowboats, carrying other types of goods and if you were fortunate, you could “hitch” a ride.

Seattle on Left Mercer Island in Center Bellevue-Kirkland-Redmond on Right

Seattle on Left Mercer Island in Center Bellevue-Kirkland-Redmond on Right…click for larger view

One man by the name of James Mortie came to the area with it’s first powered vessel way back in 1890.    Because of his success, others jumped on the “power vessel” wagon and made small fortunes by carrying goods and passengers over Lake Washington.

Typical circa 1900 steamer between Seattle & Mercer Island

Typical steamer used between Seattle & Mercer Island Circa 1900…click for larger view

Seattle’s Entrepreneur Spirit


Anderson was a real entrepreneur,  a spirit which still dominates the Seattle population.  He began shipbuilding  in Kirkland.  His first vessel was his famous 95 foot “Atlanta.”

Within the next few years, he became very successful, especially when the year 1909  came around and the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition came to the area that is now called “The University of Washington” or known by the locals as :  The U District.

However, Anderson was quick to recognize that his great fortunes came about by sightseeing and cruise tours, not ferrying passengers.   He decided to concentrate only on cruises.

Since progress continued on land as well as on sea, roads were being built throughout Seattle and all over Mercer Island.  So the idea of building a bridge from Mercer Island to Seattle began to take shape.

It was short lived though, when in 1929, the stock market crashed, sending all hopes of a bridge to the bottom of Lake Washington. However, 10 years later in 1939, the bridge idea once again was revived and in 1940 the Mercer Island floating bridge was officially opened for traffic.

Seattle Floating Bridges to Mercer Island Opening Day July 3, 1940 Some chose to wear life vests as they crossed!

Seattle Floating Bridges to Mercer Island Opening Day July 3, 1940 Some chose to wear life vests as they crossed!…click for larger view

Opening Day 1940

Opening Day 1940…click for larger view

How Was It Built ?

Originally named Lacey V. Murrow Bridge, it was the longest and largest floating bridge ever built.  Way back in 1922 it was deemed necessary as the traffic coming through Snoqualmie Pass (snow qual me) over what is now I-90, was the only road that was open year round.

It was loaded with heavy traffic that needed to get to downtown Seattle and the shipping docks.  Detours were set up to re-route traffic through  city streets and residential areas.   From the North Bend area, to Seattle was about 42 miles.  Fourteen of which went through city streets. A bridge needed to be built and quickly!

At first there were ideas thrown around about a suspension bridge.  But the cost was staggering.  Then Homer Hadley, a designer, proposed a floating bridge made of concrete and steel.  It’s cost?  It was a mere  1/5 th of the cost of a suspension bridge. But how to keep it stable was an issue that now surfaced.  An anchor system of concrete and cable ties to the underside of the bridge was considered.

Will It Float Away?


However, because of the soft lake floor, it did not sit well with anyone.  From the water surface to the lake floor was some 400 feet with another 150 or more feet going through the soft lake mud to the more firmer soil.

That idea was discarded in favor of building concrete pontoons for the roadway to ride on.   Once the contractor was decided upon, the pontoons were built on Harbor Island.  As each section of the pontoons were completed, they were towed across Elliott Bay through the Ballard Locks and into position on Lake Washington.

Each section was some 350 feet long, 60 feet wide and more than 14 feet deep, allowing the road surface to rise just above the water level.  Each had 8 separate “cells” in 12 watertight compartments with  6 to 8 inches of roadway surface on top. In order to accommodate ships, it had a draw span section that was successfully used until  the early 1990,s  when the draw span was replaced with fixed-in-place, pontoons.

Each end of the floating bridge was raised and restructured high enough,  to allow marine traffic to pass underneath.

But What About the Open Water “Bulge?”

Note the "ramp" that can take you up & into the open hole.

Note the “ramp” that can take you up & into the open hole. museumofhistory&art

What of the bulge?  I can recall as I was growing up living in Bellevue, that my dad would from time to time, take the family across the bridge into Seattle.  Just as we began to cross the bridge from the Bellevue side, there was this “ramp” looking area that, if a driver was not paying attention to, could drive up and over right into the lake itself!  Each time we went by it, it scared the stuffing out of me.  🙁 Needless to say, no one ever  knew whether or not anyone ever went up and over it…..down into the deep, cold, dark  200 or 300 feet deep waters under the end of the  bridge.  NOT a pleasant thought!

A Very Sad Note.

It was not until years later (around the early 1980’s) when the above mentioned renovation of the bridge began.   As  one of the dredging companies working on the bridge project began it’s work, a car that had been missing for more than 20 years, was pulled to the surface. It’s occupant?……….A young teenage girl coming home at night after her high school prom dance.  She was still inside the vehicle.   🙁

Today’s Seattle Floating Bridges

Today, though, the Seattle Floating Bridges are unique in themselves.  In fact, because of it’s success, the Evergreen Floating was built just north of the Mercer Island Floating Bridge. Take a trip across it, the view is great as you are practically “walking on water” as you ride along!

Splish Splash I Was Taking A Bath…..All On A Saturday Night

Having made the “crossing” literally thousands of times, it never ceases to amaze me when my wife and I cross on a stormy day. Because of the bridge design, it’s laying flat in the water, it acts much like a windbreak where you can see and feel the spray from the windward side of the bridge with the lake water splashing and blowing up against your car, and at times, watching as  waves cross over the entire bridge!  And at the same time on the opposite side of the bridge, it is almost as smooth as glass! It is something you’ll love to experience!

Are you a brave one?  Then try driving the bridge with your windows down during that same windy crossing!  You’ll love it!

What the bridge looks like today.

What the bridge looks like today. JoshuaTrujilloPhotoP.I.   …click for larger view

It's like "walking" on water!

It’s like “walking” on water! JoshuaTrujilloPhotoP.I.   …click for larger view


Like this little bit of trivia?  Leave a comment below.  🙂

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