Lake Valhalla

I fussed around with my new fly reel and concluded that it was a piece of junk. No instructions, just an engineering diagram of all the parts. I pretty much took the thing apart trying to figure out how to switch it from a left-hand retrieve to a right-hand retrieve, but to no avail. Susanne came over to assist. She is good with that stuff, so I figured she would sort it out. Nope. She suffered the same fate. Damn. Well, I will just have to take it back. I guess you get what you pay for.

Dogs allowed. We made sure of it this time before making the long drive to the trailhead. The pictures from the web looked great and the distance (7 mi) and elevation gain (1200′) seemed very pleasant for this part of the world, so we headed out.

The trail description described it as very popular but we were hoping that since it was Monday and after Labor Day that maybe it wouldn’t be too bad. We headed out around 8 am and got there just after 9 am. The parking lot was already pretty full, but we managed to get a spot. We loaded up our stuff and started up the hill. There were enough people that we had to keep Sadie on leash, but a least we got to have our dog!

It was surprisingly cold and we were a bit under-dressed. I had no gloves, so my Raynauds flared up and my fingers turned white. Bummer. Luckily, Susanne had some glove and lent them to me.

The Cascades are really beautiful mountains that I would love to spend more time in. Thankfully the smoke was all cleared out too! I love the fir and spruce forest and all the lush green undergrowth. The mushrooms were really out in full force and we saw a couple of people collecting them.

The trail climbs up and over a ridge that gives you a wonderful view down into the lake. It was truly amazing. There weren’t too many people when we showed up, so we found a nice spot down on the beach and set up for some fishing. Susanne tried for awhile and got squat. I changed rigs and tried for awhile and got equivalent squat. I stood there for awhile looking to see if I could see any fish. Nothing.

Then the masses showed up…and they all had dogs. A young German Shepherd was SOOOOOO excited to be there chasing a stick in the water, she was barking her head off. Sadie, who likes to put the kibosh on other dogs having fun, was barking her head off at the German Shepherd. There was a Standard Poodle a little ways away, also getting into the barkity bark bark fun. A Black Lab showed up and was the only dog that didn’t bark, but it was still loud.

After a while, we decided we had had enough of the mayhem and packed it up. Clearly, the fish were not going to cooperate. We ambled our way back down to the car and what had been a few cars in the parking lot were now about 50 parked on the road and anywhere they could. Good god, I would hate to see the place on the weekend.

On the way home we stopped at Sportsman Paradise to return the reel. I told the guy it just wasn’t going to work. He asked why. I showed him the impossibility of it. He sighed and said “you’re right. that is a piece of S%$T.” He gave me my money back.

Next up was my arch-nemesis, the Safeway. It is one of the most oddly organized stores I have ever been in and I always end up walking back and forth about 8 times to find everything. The produce section sucks. Except for apples. They have lots of apples.

Wenatchee is the apple capital of the world. Or so they claim. According to the very reliable Wenatchee government website:

“One of the first white settlers in Wenatchee, Philip Miller, planted apple trees in 1872. The Peterson orchard, started in 1884, was the first commercial planting in Wenatchee. With the completion of the Great Northern Railway Company’s route across Stevens Pass in 1893, apples could be now shipped by rail to Seattle. The first carload of apples from Wenatchee to Seattle was shipped in 1901, and the future looked bright for growers. The apples were so well received that by 1902, the Wenatchee community began proclaiming that Wenatchee was the “Apple Capital of the World” (The Night the Mountain Fell, 1973).”

But I digress. The damn store didn’t even have limes. I hate that store.

All-in-all it was a wonderfully beautiful hike and a nice day, despite Safeway!

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