Stehekin Valley Ranch, in cooperation with Stehekin Outfitters, is offering these adventure-packed mini-vacations for your enjoyment of the Stehekin area. Visit our website for more information or to book one of these great packages!
Express Adventure Package Short on Time, but High on Adventure… 2 Nights, 2 Activities, ALL Meals! Available: June 15 – July 2, 2015 $350/person + tax, double occupancy
Deluxe Adventure Package All the Adventure you need, plus time to relax! 3 Nights, 2 Activities, ALL Meals! Available: June 15 – August 31, 2015 $440/person + tax, double occupancy
Stehekin Outfitters is happy to announce that they will be ramping up their offerings of “Hike and Like It” pack trips this coming summer. Cragg and Robbie Courtney have handed over the reins to nephew Colter Courtney and their wrangler Nancy Davis.
“Hike It and Like It” defined:
These adventures are a one-of-a-kind way to enjoy what the back country has to offer without all the work to get there. Let the trusty horses carry your overnight gear and the knowledgeable staff will take care of your camp and cooking needs.
Here is a quick peek at the 2015 scheduled trips.
Twin Springs and Blue Grouse Basin: July 13th -18th
Cottonwood Trip: July 21st – 25th
Walker Park and Park Creek: July 27th – August 1st
Hidden Meadows Trip: August 31st – September 5th
Click here for more details on these great trips, including itineraries and pricing.
It is true that owls are common around these parts. Hearing one at night is not an uncommon occurance. And from time to time, you may even see a set of those big yellow eyes following you as you go for a “midnight stroll”.
What is not common, is to see one in the daylight. A few days ago, I saw just that! I was getting ready to take down the electric fence for the winter at the Bakery Corrals, and sure enough, big as life, there was a Great Horned Owl just sitting there on the rail!
I have to admit I was slightly startled to see him just sitting there. Not that he was particularly scary. Just that he didn’t really belong there. You know how unexpected things can throw you off? It was like that. But after I got past that, I decided he was really quite neat!
Now, here is the truly amazing part. He sat there, calm as can be while I ran to my house (right next door), grabbed my camara, and came back to take his picture! He followed me with those big yellow eyes – it really is amazing how far they can turn their heads! He let me get real close to him though, which was great, because I don’t have a telephoto lens.
He finally decided he didn’t really like me getting in his space, and hopped down off the rail. He didn’t look quite so calm after that, but he still didn’t fly off. I decided to leave him alone, but still had to deal with taking down the fence, which meant I was still “following” him as he hopped away along the fence that I was taking down. I have no idea why he didn’t just fly off. Maybe he was injured, although I didn’t see any noticeable signs of that. Eventually he did disappear, and I was left to finish my work before it snowed…
I recently had the good fortune to be able to get away for a few days and head for the hills – quite literally! My destination: Cloudy Pass. I’ve been working here in Stehekin for 6 summers, and had yet to get to this spectacular location – my time had finally come!
My luck didn’t stop there though. Not only did I manage to find the time to hike the 18 miles to Cloudy Pass, but I also managed to do it while Stehekin Outfitters had a horse packing trip there. Let me tell you, if ever you have an opportunity to go on a pack trip, you should definitely not hesitate. There is nothing like hiking into camp after many miles on the trail and hearing the sound of wood being chopped, smelling coffee on the fire, and seeing a cook-tent set up with a gourmet meal being prepared for you! I’ve never eaten so well in the woods in my life!
Cragg Courtney and his niece Chelsea were great hosts, and had the camp all set up, which was great considering the weather was looking rather damp. They were leading a trip for the Wenatchee World Newspaper, and had 16 hikers with them. The Wenatchee World has been organizing trips with the Courtney family for decades. These trips have been named “Hike it and Like it” trips, since the horses pack in all the gear while the participants are able to hike with just their day packs. It is really a great combination!
I joined the trip on their 3rd night. They were base-camping just below Cloudy Pass at the head of Agnes Creek. We stayed there for another 3 nights, and were able to do some great day hikes in several directions from there. I chose to go up Cloudy Pass, and on to Upper Lyman Lake for my first day hike. It was a bit overcast as I started out in the morning, but by time I stopped for lunch, it had mostly cleared up, and was unbelievably spectacular. I got back to camp in time for dinner and a grand piece of cheesecake, complete with fresh huckleberries!
The next day I headed over Suiattle Pass and along Miner’s Ridge to Image Lake. It was lightly raining and overcast, but really quite pleasant for hiking. I got quick glimpses of Glacier Peak as I was hiking, but it never did quite come out in it’s glory. I will have to return here on a sunny day, but it is still a very magical spot.
The horse packers – Jake Courtney and Steven Bozard – showed up with the horses in the afternoon, and they packed the camp to Holden Village the next morning. My time was up, so I headed back home via the PCT in time for another tasty meal back at Stehekin Valley Ranch.
There is no doubt that I am truly blessed to be able to live in a wonderful place like Stehekin. It is a beautiful area, and the community is unique in it’s simple yet sufficient and enjoyable lifestyle. However, this trip reminded me that if I stay within the boundaries of the valley floor, and fail to explore the high country around me, I am seriously missing out!
Please enjoy the pictures I took while I was up there, but they really don’t do justice to the beauty up there. I hope that you all get a chance to witness the grandeur to be found out there!
Many people that visit the Ranch are interested in taking a horseback ride on one of our Norwegian Fjord Horses. Some guests who recently went on a ride with us sent some pictures back of the ride. It was a beautiful day, and they got some spectacular pictures!
The dayride leaves Stehekin Valley Ranch twice a day and travels along mountain trails to Coon Lake. Along the way, riders get wonderful views of the surrounding mountains, as well as the Stehekin River Valley. The trail winds through forested areas as well as sunny mountainside slopes.
The horses are very sure-footed as they pick their way along the route, leaving their riders free to enjoy the scenery!
Upon arriving at Coon Lake, everyone gets to dismount and stretch their legs. You can go on down see the beautiful mountain lake before it is time to climb back on your trusty steed and head back to the Ranch.
Just in case you haven’t noticed yet, the Courtneys have updated and moved their websites for various Stehekin businesses. If you go to http://www.courtneycountry.com, you will be redirected to one of 3 brand new sites, depending on which business you are interested in.
What are the new web addresses? Good question! Here they are, in no particular order: