Cruising the Columbia River

Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler

Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler

Is it a river boat? A paddlewheel boat? A paddle steamer? A sternwheeler? A boat operated by paddle wheels appears to be known by all of these names. But on the Columbia River, it’s referred to as a sternwheeler. I’ve always wanted to take a ride on one and finally we had a chance on the Columbia Gorge, based in Cascade Locks, Oregon. My mother-in-law’s birthday had been earlier in the month and since we prefer to give experiences rather than “stuff,” we wanted to take her on this cruise.

As we drove into town, traffic was bumper to bumper. Then we notice the sign on the side of the road – “Sternwheeler Days.” “Oh, no, I hope we’re not caught up in a parade!” I quickly pulled out my iPhone and looked up the celebration. Whew! The parade must have just ended. We crawled along for just a few blocks until we spied the well-marked sign to the turn-in for the boat, at the Cascade Locks Marine Park. We easily found a parking spot, and headed into a small building, the Visitor Center and Locks Cafe. Inside was the ticketing desk off to the left, a small food area to the right, and behind that was a gift shop.

Visitor Center and Locks Cafe, Columbia Gorge

Visitor Center and Locks Cafe

The whole building had fascinating old pictures and bookcases with antiques highlighting life years ago.

Old Items in the Visitor Center, Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler

Old Items in the Visitor Center

We already had our tickets but stopped at the ticket desk to ask if we were OK wearing sandals (we were) and if it was OK to take the camera on the boat (yes we were, as a matter of fact it was highly encouraged!) Then we stepped outside on the deck to enjoy the view until the boat came back from its trip upriver. It runs about ½ hour downstream, turns around, comes back to the dock and lets some passenger off and others on, then goes upstream about ½ hour and again returns to the dock. So there are different lengths of cruises you can take, as well as dinner cruises. We were taking the two-hour cruise.

When the boat came back to the dock, it was moving pretty rapidly. David and Josh were debating between themselves if it was truly operated by the paddle wheels or if it had supplemental power. Later we would find out, yes, it was truly operated by the paddle wheels! And its name was – Columbia Gorge!

Paddles, Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler


Before getting on the ship, there was a sign that said for safety reasons everyone had to have their picture taken. We wondered if this was because we would be going close to the dam. Group pictures were allowed so we had ours all taken together. I did have to wonder later if it really was for safety reasons, because later, staff took all the pictures around to the guests and people could choose to buy one if they wanted. We had already planned and pre-paid for two pictures anyway, so we got ours.

Sue, Josh, Nancy, David. Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler

Sue, Josh, Nancy, David

Inside the Sternwheeler, Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler

Inside the Sternwheeler

Inside the vessel was gorgeous, a combination of antique looking decor with modern amenities such as a restroom and snack bar. There was a lower dining area for the lunch dinner cruises, and seating upstairs where the snack bar was located.

Snack Bar, Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler

Snack Bar

As we pulled away from the dock, looking north we were awestruck to see the scar on the land where a massive landslide happened hundreds of years ago. The captain, Michael Cain, explained how this landslide had completely blocked the river, backing it clear up to Idaho. Eventually the river broke through underneath, creating a natural land bridge, named, “The Bridge of the Gods” by local Native Americans. Crossing under the new steel Bridge of the Gods built to replace the natural bridge that eventually collapsed, we were taken back in time as we thought about how we were re-enacting a trip Native Americans might have taken under the natural bridge.

Josh and the Bridge of the Gods, Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler

Josh and the Bridge of the Gods

Under the Bridge of the Gods, Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler

Under the Bridge of the Gods

One fun unusual thing that happened – kayakers and paddleboarders would catch the waves from the boat and ride along on them!

Paddlboarder riding the wake, Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler

Paddlboarder Riding the Wake

Kayakers and Boarder Riding the Wake

Kayakers and Boarders Riding the Wake

Strong winds blasting up the Columbia River were a welcome relief from the heat of the day, even though the sky was overcast. On both sides of the river were odd-looking docks. The captain explained that Native Americans used to fish the falls in the area before the dam, and now use these docks to fish.

Native American Fishing Docks, Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler

Native American Fishing Docks

We continued on up near the dam, passing a rock that the captain told us was named, “Hermiston Rock.” Apparently rocks are named after the boats that crash on them! Yikes, let’s not have one named “Columbia Gorge Rock” OK?

Hermiston Rock, Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler

Hermiston Rock

Bonneville Dam from the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler

Bonneville Dam

We went as far as we could then turned around and headed back upriver. I overheard someone say, “Anyone can go in the wheelhouse” so of course, we headed in. Inside was the captain and two young men, crew members. The captain was more than happy to answer all of our questions, and then the dream of a lifetime – let Josh steer the boat! He was thrilled! He did it for quite a ways, until we got back closer to the bridge, then the captain took over. We finally left the wheelhouse but Josh just stayed in there, visiting and asking questions until we docked again.

Captain Michael Cain, Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler

Captain Michael Cain

Wheelhouse, Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler


Josh Steering the Sternwheeler. Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler

Josh Steering the Sternwheeler

We waited while the other passengers boarded, then headed upriver. By now the sun was coming out, the clouds were disappearing, and it wasn’t near as windy going east. The views along this route were more rural with lots of beautiful hills and trees. By the time we turned around and headed back, I think we were all relaxed as Jell-O. I didn’t want to get off the boat, I felt like all stress had drained away into the river, and all that was left was thoughts of the here-and-now.

Gorgeous Views, Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler

Gorgeous Views

We highly recommend this little cruise. The price is extremely reasonable, with different rates for different lengths of trips. For prices, check out their website at


Categories: Boating/Kayaking, Historical, Oregon, Outdoors, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Water, Wine, and Friends – Girls Weekend, Poulsbo, Washington


View from Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort Patio

A sunny weekend, dark blue waters, drinks on the patio, and old friends – what more could a girl want?

Joanie, Brenda and I have been friends for over 20 years but because we were all busy raising families during that time, we never really thought about going away together. But now we’re there. So for our first Girls Weekend, we decided to head up to Poulsbo, Washington.

Poulsbo (pronounced Pauls-bow) was settled in 1892. In case you’re wondering what on earth kind of name that is, it’s Scandinavian. The location on the bay with the Olympic Mountains in the distance reminded the first settlers of Norway. The town has made a great effort at keeping the heritage alive in the architecture of the buildings as well as the local events, such as Lutefisk dinners, and the big one – The Viking Fest held in May each year.

We stayed at the Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort, mainly for the location and nice rooms. It’s situated right on Puget Sound across from Seattle and the patio looking out over the water is beautiful and classy. We could walk down the beach and look for critters or rocks. We could just sit outside and enjoy a drink from the hotel bar right inside the door. It was perfect. We did go into the casino to enjoy the buffet and play some Keno.


Kayaking in Liberty Bay

Joanie had researched activities to do and we all wanted to kayak. So the next day awoke with some fog so we were a little worried that our kayaking plans might not work out. But we headed on down to Liberty Bay to Olympic Outdoor Center and the sun started coming out. It turned out that we were going to be going out in 2-person kayaks and tour the bay looking for wildlife with a guide. Since there were three of us one of us had to share a boat. Luckily, there were three young men who were there to go out in the kayaks as well. Two of them were from California and were visiting their friend who had moved to Tacoma. Brenda joined one of them in a kayak.


Seal Sunning on the Docks

I love that feeling you get immediately when you hit the water and start floating. It’s so freeing and relaxing. We slowly paddled out and away from the marina to start looking for wildlife. Birds were everywhere. Seals were lying around and I swear they were smiling as we floated by. “This is the life,” they must be thinking.

The water was smooth as glass, the temperature was perfect, the company was fun. We got everything out of that experience that we wanted. Our guide was friendly and knowledgeable and, turns out he is a local chef by night.


After paddling around the bay for about an hour, we headed back and then went into the little downtown area of Poulsbo (also known as “Little Norway”) and its adorable little shops. Craft, antique, nautical décor and yarn shops, bakeries and restaurants were set up in the historic old buildings. Of course we were good tourists and supported the local economy by eating lunch and buying trinkets and souvenirs!

We headed back to the hotel for more drinks on the patio and another delicious dinner in the casino. Later were amused by a bachelorette party that had WAY too much to drink and provided interesting entertainment (what happens in Poulsbo stays in Poulsbo?)

On our way home the next day, we decided we had so much fun that we started making our plans for the next Girls Weekend. So if you’re looking for a place for a quick getaway, Poulsbo is the place to go. The range of activities available in the area will keep you entertained and occupied for that weekend trip, whether it’s with family or with those cherished long-time friends.

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The Waters of Yellowstone

1-100_0691Ahhh, the waters of Yellowstone National Park. Pools, geysers, lakes, rivers. The blues you will see rival the deep blues of the south Pacific. Steam can make the pools look smoky, lighter blues contrast to dark blue skies. In all different parts of Yellowstone you will see some sort of water and how it is central to the beauty of the park. As it starts getting stormy here in the northwest I always start dreaming of and planning our next vacation, and next year we will be going back to Yellowstone! It really is not too early to start planning, you want to make Yellowstone vacations well in advance because they fill up quickly. So to get you in the mood for thinking about planning your Yellowstone stay, here are some of my favorite sights of the incredible water:

Norris Geyser Basin has many pools and geysers. It’s made up of Porcelain Basin, Back Basin and One Hundred Springs Plain. The hottest temperature in the park has been recorded there. They drilled down 1057 feet and the temperature was 459 degrees! This is also believed to be the oldest part of the park. There are dirt and wood boardwalks in areas of the basin so you can walk around and check it out.


The Yellowstone River runs through the park and you can see all sorts of wildlife. You can also fish in the park but be sure to check the regulations before you do. Helpful staff at the park stores can assist you to figure out which lures are working to hook that big one.1-100_0789


Yellowstone Lake is a great place to rent a boat and get up close. It’s large enough you have to be sure to watch the weather if you decide to go out in a boat. Calm can quickly change to stormy.


The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is a magnificent sight. Formed by years of lava flows, erosion and glacial melt have created this well-known feature.


Beautiful pools are out in full sight for you to exclaim over their beauty at many roadside stops in the park:




The Amazing Old Faithful

Yellowstone National Park is a vibrant, living place with so much to explore and admire. Water is the lifeblood of the park and the variety of ways it shows itself will amaze and delight you. There is simply no way to get through the park without seeing water and its impact on the park.

We hope this starts you thinking about your next trip to Yellowstone. Plan a few days, you won’t want to rush this experience!

You want to see what’s going on all the time in Yellowstone? Check out all the webcams!

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Fishing, Kayaking, and Walking at Carlisle Lake

Back Camera

Kayaking on Carlisle Lake

It’s not much of a lake. It’s only about 22 acres. Carlisle Lake used to be a mill pond for the Carlisle Lumber Company. The mill shut down in 1942 but the smoke stack from the mill is still standing on the site. It’s quite the landmark. David was very excited when we flew over it one day on our way back from Las Vegas because he could see the smokestack from the jet.

The lake has been stocked with trout since 1953, and Coho Salmon are raised in pens in the lake. It is a cute little lake, and perfect for a quick afternoon fishing trip or kayaking. We can stick our kayaks in the back of the pickup and be there in 20 minutes, then spend a few leisurely hours kayaking from one end to the other while Josh does catch-and-release fishing. Most of the fish that we have caught are small and bony but some people have caught larger fish.

Back Camera

Interesting Things in Carlisle Lake (yes, we put it gently back)

There is a trail going all the way around the lake and people have made trails down to the water so you can fish from the bank and you don’t need a boat. It’s a great lake to take little kids to since it’s not only easy for them to fish, you can run them on the trail around the lake and tire them out.

Onalaska Alliance, a non-profit group, was formed to restore the lake and surrounding area.  The previous owners, the Southwest Washington Development Association, donated the land, which measures 72 acres, to the group. The Alliance intends to develop it for better recreational use as well as an environmental education aid. This past summer they received a grant and paved the parking lot. It’s a fabulous upgrade because it used to be a pothole-filled gravel and dirt mess. They now plan to clean up the trail around the park. Future plans include a fishing dock and wheelchair accessibility.

Back Camera

David and Josh

Getting there: Take exit 71 off of I-5 and head east on Hwy. 508 for about eight miles. When you see the grocery store/gas station on your left you will take a left on the street right before the store. The street will take you about 2-3 blocks north and you will end up in the parking lot at Carlisle Lake. You can also look for the smokestack as you get into town.

Categories: Boating/Kayaking, Fishing, Historical, Keatons Out and About, Outdoors, Parks, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There She Blows! Whale-Watching in the Puget Sound



One of the best things about the Pacific Northwest is being able to go whale watching. So one cloudy day (hey, it you wait for perfect weather in the northwest, you won’t get out much) David, his mother, Sue, and Josh went up to Anacortes, Washington and headed out with Island Adventure Cruises on the Island Explorer III. (I couldn’t go because I was having my own outdoor experience at the Washington Outdoor Women Weekend Workshop.)


Josh always enjoys himself…

The boat was fairly large at 101 feet long and 24 foot wide. It had a range capable of going clear to Ketchican, Alaska without refueling! It was two stories tall and had food and beverages available, but they took a lunch since they weren’t sure if there would be food available. There were 149 other guests on board with them. One of the most interesting aspects of these kinds of excursions is talking to other people and find out their interests and their stories, so they met some very nice people that day.

The boat left at 11:00am and headed north past Cypress, Guemes, Orcas and Lummi Islands. After they cleared Lummi Island, a thick heavy fog set in. The captain was communicating with other boat captains trying to locate whales and he was concerned that with the fog they may not be able to see anything. Then the call came in that a “superpod” of Orcas was spotted south of Pt. Roberts, Washington, in the northern part of Puget Sound.

Orcas are black on top with a white stomach. They weigh between three and 11 tons and are 17-32 feet long. They can live up to 95 years! Orcas are actually part of the dolphin family. Pods are family groups, and there are three pods in the area. A superpod is when all three of the pods are together.


Other whale-watchers

It took about 2 ½ hours to get up to the spot where the whales were reported. As they got closer to the location, they were also getting closer to Canada, so the captain advised them to turn off their cell phones so they wouldn’t get charged international fees. First they spotted two moms with two babies. Then the fog lifted and they started seeing more and more Orcas. Several other boats were also in the area watching the whales breaching (jumping out of the water), frolicking, and playing in the water. Everyone was so excited, clapping and “oohing” and “ahhing”. Boaters have to stay 1000 feet away from the whales, however, it’s hard to control if they come towards you. The captain had to shut the boat down to try to stay the distance. They spent about 20 minutes watching them before they had to head back for the long ride home.

Fortunately, there is also a lot of other wildlife viewing in the Puget Sound, so the ride wasn’t boring. They were thrilled to see harbor seals and stellar sea lions swimming around and peeking up out of the water. Cormorants and loons were drying themselves on rocks. Humpies (pink salmon) were also busy jumping around them.


Cormorants drying their wings

Whales can usually be seen from April through December, with the peak time being May through September. You don’t always have to be out on a boat to see whales, they can be seen from shore, but you do increase your chances of seeing them from a boat.

Overall, they all reported it was a great experience! Accommodations on the boat were top notch. The staff was very friendly and knowledgeable. David, Josh, and Sue recommend that everyone take the opportunity to go whale watching at least once, and Josh would love to do it over and over. Island Adventure Cruises has a guarantee that if you don’t see whales, you’ll get free tickets to another cruise and they honor their policy. They can be reached at or 1-800-465-4604.

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Forest, Fishing, Fun – Taidnapam Park, Washington


Mother-in-law, Sue, very happy with her catch!

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Beautiful forested camping spots

It’s the perfect family camping spot. A lake for fishing, boating, and a swimming area, a playground, tent sites, RV sites, trails – what more could you ask for? This perfect little spot is Taidnapam (pronounced Tide-nuh-pom) Park, hidden off of Highway 12 in Washington, just west of the town of Morton. It is operated by Tacoma Public Utilities and is located on the shores of Riffe Lake.

Riffe Lake is a 23 1/2-mile lake that was created in 1968 when the Mossyrock Dam was created and flooded the towns of Riffe and Kosmos. Taidnapam Park is located at the east end of the lake and has 139 RV sites and 24 tent sites. There are also primitive sites and group camps. Shower facilities are available. Prices range from $18 to $33. A boat ramp is also available and can be used without camping at the park.

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Ready to fish on the Fishing Bridge!

But my favorite part of the park is “The Fishing Bridge,” also known as the “108 Bridge.” You can easily walk (or bike) to it from any of the camping spots. There is a section just off the parking lot that is wheelchair accessible. But wheelchairs would also not have any problems getting up the short ramp to the bridge. The bridge has a fence on both sides that is about 3 ½ feet tall, tall enough that many parents bring their children up on the bridge while they fish. There’s a picnic table nearby, as well as restrooms and the very important fish-cleaning station for all those fish you will catch!

Once up on the bridge, you just pick a spot and drop your line into the water. What you hope to catch there are called “silvers” or “land-locked salmon” but one time I caught a beautiful 14-inch small mouth bass. I was Queen of the Bridge that day! Some days you can sit there and fish all day and end up with nothing, other days within seconds of your line touching the water, you will get a hit. Some days it can be pretty crowded but since most people just drop their lines in and aren’t trying to cast out, it really isn’t too difficult to stand almost shoulder-to-shoulder to fish.


Tunnel to playground

If the kids aren’t interested in fishing, they can simply walk through a tunnel under the Champion Haul Road which runs next to the Fishing Bridge, and reach the playground. There is also a roped-off swimming area but you’ll want to go early in the summer to use it. The water gets down pretty far by the end of summer.

You don’t have to camp at the campground to use the Fishing Bridge or the playground. Then you would just pay the $5 day use fee on weekends and holidays. Weekdays there is no charge! We often just run up there for the day to try our fishing luck.

Taidnapam Park is easy to get to, not too far from the nearest town, yet far enough off the highway to feel quite remote. Cellphones still work while on the bridge but when you head back to the campground, you may lose reception.

So with all the activities you can do in one spot – fishing, swimming, boating, bicycling, hiking, camping, playing – Taidnapam Park makes the ideal family lake-and-forest getaway.

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Wheelchair accessible fishing dock

Getting there (courtesy of Taidnapam Park website:
Taidnapam Park is about 110 miles south of Tacoma in Lewis County, near the town of Morton. From Tacoma, take I-5 south to Highway 12 East (Exit 68). Drive east on Highway 12 for approximately 37 miles (5 miles past Morton). Turn right on Kosmos Road, then left onto Champion Haul Road. Drive approximately four miles to the park entrance.
An alternate route from Tacoma is to take Highway 7 south to Morton. At Morton, turn left onto Highway 12 and drive 5 miles. Turn right on Kosmos Road, then left onto Champion Haul Road. Drive approximately four miles to the park entrance.

Categories: Boating/Kayaking, Fishing, Keatons Out and About, Outdoors, Parks, RV/Camping, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lake Wynoochee, Washington


Lake Wynoochee (Photo by Brandy Kirkendall)

Clear lake

Beautiful Wynoochee Lake












Tucked away just 30 minutes from the town of Montesano, Washington, lies the small pristine body of water called Lake Wynoochee. Located in the southern part of the Olympic Peninsula and created when the Wynoochee Dam was built to provide a reservoir, the lake is exactly what you expect of the northwest – deep blue and surrounded by a thick forest.

We decided to go up and check out the Coho Campground and take our boat (lovingly named “Lawn Art” since it sits as a decoration on our lawn more than we would like.) We headed west to Montesano and right past the exit to the town was Devonshire Road. We headed 34 miles up the twisting narrow road, then made a left when we saw the sign for the campground. Important note: cell phone service ends about 4 miles up Devonshire.


(Photo by Brandy Kirkendall)

Pulling into the campground, there were two options for sites. Loop B can be reserved online. We didn’t have reservations so we headed into Loop A which is first-come, first-serve sites and there were plenty available. The cost was $20 a night. There are also walk-in sites for $16 a night. There are pads for RVs but no hookups. Three yurts are also available for rent. There is a campground host, but no amenities. There are normally regular restrooms but unfortunately, they were closed due to a septic failure, so there were port-a-potties and hand-washing stations set up.

The weather cooperated pretty well and while it wasn’t warm and sunny, it didn’t rain while we set up camp. Then we jumped in the truck and took Lawn Art out on the lake. So this is where I have to tell you that we rarely do anything that doesn’t involve an adventure. There is no dock on the lake. We had to back the trailer into the lake, Josh then pulled away from the ramp and had to nose up to the bank so David could jump on. That worked pretty well actually. Until we pulled away and out into the lake. All of a sudden I looked that the floor and said, “Oh, we’re taking on water!” My 9-year-old grandson, Anden, started freaking out – “We’re gonna sink, we’re gonna sink!” I told him, “No, we’re fine, you have your lifejacket on and we’ll get back to shore.” Meanwhile I was thinking, “We’re gonna sink, we’re gonna sink!” I really hate it when I have to be the adult and act calm! So we had to quickly nose back to the bank so David could jump off and run and get the truck and trailer, while we then pulled back around to the ramp. David admitted, “I think I put the plug in the wrong hole.” Yes, dear, you did.

camp spot 2

Trail to Day Use Area

Clear lake w boat

Boating on Lake Wynoochee

Since fishing on the boat was too traumatic to do again that evening, Josh and Anden went to the day use area of the park and were able to do some fishing there. The day use area has the swimming area, picnic tables, and trails where you can get to the lake away from the swimming area.

Back at camp we ate dinner and made S’mores. That always makes life better. The next day dawned sunny and clear. I was worried Anden wouldn’t want to go in the boat again, but he was fine. The lake was like glass and while we knew there had to be other boats out there, there were none in sight. We really liked the fact that this lake is a lot less populated than other lakes that we usually go to. We fished awhile and didn’t catch anything, so headed back in to meet up my daughter, Brandy, and her fiancé, Jason. After they arrived, we went back out in the boat twice, fishing, puttering around, and just plain enjoying the sun and the company. A few more boats were out in the afternoon but still nowhere near enough to feel crowded.

Another evening back at camp eating dinner and S’mores and enjoying visiting. The best part about camping at Lake Wynoochee was the time alone with family. No cell service, no internet, no TV, no interruptions. Truly rustic. If you really want to get away from it all, there are several levels at Lake Wynoochee – RVing, tenting in the campground, walk-in sites in the campground, yurts, or even places where you can take your boat to isolated spots along the shoreline.

It’s not too far away from a town yet far away enough away from it all to remember what is really important – unforgettable, precious time with family.


Brandy, Anden, Nancy (Photo by Brandy Kirkendall)

Categories: Boating/Kayaking, Fishing, Outdoors, Parks, RV/Camping, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making Memories – Campbell’s Resort, Chelan, Washington

1-2012-07-26 11.36.521-IMG_1025

Just three hours from downtown Seattle, the small town of Chelan swells from a population of 3800 to 38,000 during the summer. It seems that everyone you talk to, from store clerks to other visitors in the wineries, has some connection to Seattle. There is a lot to do with the gorgeous deep blue 55-mile-long Lake Chelan providing miles of water fun. So where should a family stay when they visit Chelan? That’s easy to answer – it’s the incomparable Campbell’s Resort.

Campbell’s Resort is the heart of Chelan, both physically as well as emotionally. It’s the place where families come back year after year, generation after generation and is located right on Lake Chelan. Of course, there are several nice facilities in Chelan, so what makes Campbell’s stand out so impressively?


Kayaks for Use by Guests

The first thing that makes this resort outstanding is the variety of family activities. Kids of all ages can take out the resort’s kayaks or stand up paddle boards. On Wednesdays, Campbell’s hosts a Kids Fishing class. There’s craft hour, movie night, and organized activities on the beach. But the parents have not been forgotten – there is also a convenient beach bar for the adults. To keep guests secure, Campbell’s actually has their own security force and web cams. That eases a parent’s mind who wants to be able to let their children branch out and have some fun without mom and dad hanging over them. Guests also have a wristband to help identify them as customers. Co-owner, Tom Campbell said this job is first memory-creating, then property management. Everything has to run like clockwork. “There’s never a time there’s not a Campbell on site,” smiles Tom. Tom and brother, Eric, are 5th generation Campbell’s to work at the facility and are very proud of their family tradition.

View from Veranda

View from Veranda

The customer service is top-notch. Just talk to the staff and you will see how much they enjoy working for the Campbell’s. An enjoyable workplace always translates to the staff passing on that attitude to their customers. Taylor Growth was our waiter when we enjoyed a tasty meal on the open-air veranda. He has worked for Campbell’s for five years, year-round. One of the perks he appreciates is that Campbell’s provides season passes for two employees at one time to go skiing at Mission Ridge.

For those interested in history and architecture, the story behind Campbell’s resort is as fascinating as the experience of the stay. The original structure, known as the Chelan Hotel, was built in 1901 by Archie Campbell who came out from Sioux City, Iowa and served as lodging and meals for miners from Holden Village which was once a copper mine. Tom and Eric’s grandfather dug out the dirt below the hotel to make the restaurant. The original structure is now listed on the historic registry.

Door Knob in Original Building

Window Over Room Door in Old Building

Room in Original Building Left As Is

Room in Original Building Left As Is

Over the years the original building has been added on to, creating the surrounding motel rooms, Bistro, and Pub & Veranda. Today there are over 170 rooms which includes two cabins, some two- and three-bedroom suites, rooms with adjoining doors as well as regular single rooms. In 2008 the Campbell’s chose Dawson Design to completed a $3 million renovation to create a more cohesive style to their rooms. With so much variety, there are facilities to accommodate any size of family.




View from the Veranda

Campbell’s Resort now encompasses eight acres, including 1200 square feet of beachfront. Across the road from the original site sits more meeting space and a full spa. The resort hosts events such as weddings, bachelor parties, and family reunions.

Campbell’s Resort is a well-respected business and a valued member of the community. Their reputation is a testament to the hard work of the previous generations. The Campbell’s intend to continue the fine service and community involvement that their ancestors started. As future families return to Chelan year after year, there will be future Campbell’s to help create those cherished memories.

Check them out at

104 West Woodin Avenue
Chelan, WA 98816
Phone: 509-682-2561

Getting there (courtesy of website):

From Seattle/Tacoma and South on I-5/I-405

  • Take I-90 East toward Spokane
  • Just after Cle Elum, take Exit 85 to Wenatchee
  • At the top of the ramp, turn left and then turn right, following the signs for 970 East toward Wenatchee
  • US 970 becomes US 97 North
  • After about 35 miles, turn right onto US 2 East
  • Just before entering Wenatchee, exit onto US 97 ALT North toward Okanogan/Spokane. The off-ramp will loop around to a stop light – go straight through the stop light
  • Take the second right after the stop light labeled 97 ALT north to Chelan. The exit will loop around to US 97-ALT North
  • Take 97-ALT North approximately 33 miles. You will enter the Chelan Valley and follow the lake for three to four miles
  • As you near Downtown Chelan, you will see a sign that says City Center and another lodging sign that says Campbell’s Resort. Turn left, following those signs. Just over the small bridge, turn left into the entrance of Campbell’s Resort

From Everett and North on I-5

  • Take US 2 East through Monroe, Goldbar, Leavenworth and Cashmere to Wenatchee (about 120 miles)
  • Just before entering Wenatchee, exit on to US 97 ALT North toward Okanogan/Spokane. The off- ramp will loop around to a stop light– go straight through the stop light
  • Take the second right after the stop light labeled 97 ALT north to Chelan. The exit will loop around to US 97-ALT North
  • Take 97-ALT North approximately 33 miles. You will enter the Chelan Valley and follow the lake for three to four miles
  • As you near Downtown Chelan, you will see a sign that says City Center and another lodging sign that says Campbell’s Resort. Turn left, following those signs. Just over the small bridge, turn left into the entrance of Campbell’s Resort

From Spokane

  • Take I-90 West
  • Take US 2 West thru Davenport, Coulee City, and Waterville to Orondo (about 130 miles)
  • In Orondo, take a right on to US 97 toward Chelan Falls (about 22 miles)
  • Just after crossing the Beebe Bridge, turn left onto US 150 towards Chelan (about three miles)
  • Turn left at the stop sign onto US 97A/SR 150 toward Chelan/Manson
  • Go through straight through the stop light and straight through the stop sign
  • Campbell’s Resort will be on the right hand side, before the bridge

From Portland via Yakima & Blewett Pass

  • Take I-84 East toward Hood River
  • At The Dalles, take Exit 104 toward Yakima/Bend
  • Turn left at the top of the ramp on to US 97 crossing the bridge into Washington
  • At the top of the hill, turn left at the stop sign following the signs for SR 14/ US 97 North
  • Take an immediate right, following the signs for US 97 north. After about 59 miles, US 97 becomes WA-22
  • Merge on to I-82 West toward Yakima
  • Merge onto I-90 W/US-97 N via the exit on the LEFT toward Seattle
  • Take the US-97 N exit 106, toward Wenatchee
  • Continue to follow the signs to US-97 through a series of turns
  • After about 12 miles, turn right to stay on US-97
  • After about 35 miles, turn right on to US 2 East
  • Just before entering Wenatchee, exit on to US 97-ALT North toward Okanogan/Spokane. The off-ramp will loop around to a stop light
  • Go straight through the stop light
  • Take the second right after the stop light labeled 97-ALT north to CHELAN. The exit will loop around to US 97-ALT North
  • Take 97-ALT North approximately 33 miles. You will come into the Chelan Valley and follow the lake for three to four miles
  • As you near Downtown Chelan, you will see a sign that says City Center and another lodging sign that says Campbell’s Resort. Turn left, following those signs. Just over the small bridge, turn left into the entrance of Campbell’s Resort

From Okanogan/Omak, Oroville and Penticton, BC

  • Take US 97 South
  • Turn right on to US 97 ALT/ST 150 toward Chelan
  • Follow the highway into Chelan, going straight through the stop sign at Walmart
  • Go straight through the second stop light and straight through the stop sign in the middle of town
  • Campbell’s Resort will be on the right hand side, before the bridge


Note: As is common in the travel industry, we were provided with complimentary meals for the purpose of review. While this has not influenced this review, we believe in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.

Categories: Boating/Kayaking, Fishing, Historical, Outdoors, People, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lake Scanewa, Lewis County, Washington

September_11 006

Beautiful Lake Scanewa is great for boating as well as fishing! (Photo credit: David Keaton)

Lake Scanewa (sku-NEE-wuh) is a 610-acre reservoir located in Lewis County, Washington, south of Hwy. 12 between the towns of Morton and Randle. It was created by the Cowlitz Falls Dam and is stocked with trout and hatchery salmon. Cowlitz Falls Day Use Park is located on the east end of the lake. By the way, don’t go looking for the falls – they don’t exist anymore. There is a boat launch, picnic tables and restrooms (although not much better than port-a-potties).

We like to go to the day use park because you can do so many things right there. You can fish (starting June 1) from the bank for salmon or trout. There is a small lagoon where kids can swim plus it is blocked off at the beginning of fishing season and stocked with trout for kids to catch. This year’s Kids Fishing Derby will be on Saturday, June 8.

Often you can see the trout jumping and the silver flash of huge salmon rolling around in the water. But nothing is more exciting than hooking that amazing salmon and slowly reeling it in and landing it. And nothing is more heart-breaking than when it gets loose…

Back Camera

He said his was bigger. But I think he just measured wrong…

Back Camera

My first salmon! (Photo credit: David Keaton)


You can launch your boat from the boat launch and troll around the lake or up the river, with hopes of increasing your chances of catching that big salmon.





But to really get up close and personal with the area, a kayak is the ideal method of transportation. You can get right in to the shallow tight spots that you can’t get to any way else. We even found a small stream just slightly wider than the kayaks and took a ride up it until it got too tight and we had to turn around. You feel very intimate with nature when you can do something like that.


Another fun thing to do is watch the fish delivery. To stock the lake, Tacoma Power employees must go downriver to capture the fish near Barrier Dam and load them into a big truck. They then transport the fish past the dams, which have no fish ladders, and stock them at various sites including Lake Scanewa. You can also check out Tacoma Power’s website at to see how many and what kinds of fish they stock each week.


Tiny islands (Photo credit: David Keaton)

Tacoma Power releases the fish several times a day, including on the weekend. It’s fascinating to watch the truck back up to the boat dock, open the hatch, and dump out hundreds of fish. It’s quite the sight – and quite the tease for fishermen!




Getting there: From Morton, take Highway 12 east to Savio Road (If you get to Randle, you’ve gone too far). Turn right and go to Kiona Road. Turn right and follow Kiona Road to Falls Road. Turn right and continue to the Day Use Park on the left.

From Yakima take Highway 12 west past Randle to Savio Road (if you get to Morton, you’ve gone too far). Turn left and go to Kiona Road. Turn left and follow Kiona Road to Falls Road. Turn right and continue to the Day Use Park on the left.

Categories: Boating/Kayaking, Fishing, Outdoors, Parks, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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