Day 6: Winthrop to Lake Chelan.

Stats for the day: 73 miles; 1950 feet of climbing; 3200 calories
Up at 6 and we were on the road by 6.45. The weather cool at that hour and the mountains looking beautiful in the early light.  Carolyn rode the first few miles with us before last goodbyes then we wound our way gently down the Methow valley criss crossing the beautiful Methow river.
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After 20 miles we stopped at Carlton for a good cup of coffee from the general store (which often double up as small cafes) then a further 20 miles to the end of the valley at Peteros where the Methow rover joins the huge Columbia river.
We had a longer stop at the Sweet River Bakery for breakfast sandwiches and an internet catch up. We had made great time for the first 40 miles but coming out again at about midday the heat was up again.  Even the locals had been complaining that it was far too hot with temperatures exceeding 100F+ for days. We had to ride the very busy US97 along the Columbia valley for about 10 miles. Could could definitley fry an egg on the tarmac and the tall cliffs accentuated the heat further.  It was pretty unbearable. Turning off the main road onto the ‘old’ road to Chelan, Apple Acres Road didn;t let up the heat, especially as there was quite a climb but at least we did not have traffic few  roaring past.  At the top we stopped at a house to ask for water and the next few miles took us past several apple orchards until we had to rejoin the 97 for the last 3 miles into Chelan.
At last the blue waters of the 55 mile long lake Chelan came into view. We shopped for picnic and evening provisions in town then rode a few miles along the southern shore to a shady park on the lakeside to cool down and eat.  We still had 10 miles to go along the lake to the campground so tempting though a swim was we decided to press on.  Traffic died down when we were able to turn off the main road but the wind was against us and I found the last few miles pretty tough – not surprising as it was the most I had cycled in a day for over 20 years and not helped by the fact that I found when I got there I had a slow puncture on my front tyre and the tyre was only half pumped up!   72 miles was not a bad total for the day!
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Lake Chelan State Park is full every day for 3 months of the year but it has a ‘hiker-biker’ section for waifs like us.  Surprisingly they said they hardly ever have it used. Carolyn had also phoned ahead the previous day as she was friends with the ranger there.  We were able to set up in a pleasant soft grassy area right by the lakeside and we were able to cool down by swimming in the delicious clear waters of the lake.  Perfect.
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After we had eaten Lesley found us (Rod was the ranger, Lesley his wife) and she invited us round for icecream. We chatted over cold white wine, icecream, fresh blackberries and fudge sauce. This camping lark is soooooo difficult!! Lesley and Road were charming and hospitable like most people we had met and we discussed the NHS to gun culture (they are both anti gun although Rod is required to carry as gun as part of his job as a ranger – seems a drastic way of dealing with rowdy campers!).

One thought on “Day 6: Winthrop to Lake Chelan.

  1. Methow river looks perfect for a spot of fishing.
    Great that you are meeting such a friendly and interesting set of people – it obviously adds a whole extra dimension to the experience.

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