Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Domke Lake Dream

I have great memories here.  You never forget the times you had when you were in your early teens.  Especially when you were hanging out with your childhood mentor, and of course catching fish.

Nestled in the hills above Lake Chelan 45 minutes south of Stehekin lies a remote little lake.  Unknown to most of  the outside world, it's known for its great fishing, picturesque setting, and of course history.  Domke Lake is a dream for the angler who enjoys catching trout, many of them carryovers.

 The fires of 2007 all but destroyed most of the main campground here, but hopes are that it will reopen in a couple years.  It's devastating to look at with all the shags, the main reason why they don't want people camping here.   My wife and I explored around a little while our friends were out fishing, and it wasn't too easy getting around climbing all the logs and downed trees trying to find the main trail.

When you first start the hike from Lucerne Landing off Lake Chelan you really don't know where you are going, or what you might find.  The trail is filled with switchbacks, rugged forest, and views of Lake Chelan to die for.  There's many folks that have made it a tradition to make annual trips here.  I made my first excursion when I was in my early teens, and it was a trip I will never forget.

The area didn't appear quite the same this time around, probably because 40 years is a long time.  A hermit was living here then, it is now managed by a man named Sid, a slim, soft and well spoken man who obviously knows the terrain.  He rides his Honda 110 down the trail once a week on Fridays to retrieve his mail from the Lucerne dock that is one of the stops to Stehekin for the Lady of the Lake.  He keeps himself busy every day, whether he's working on a log hauling project, or chopping wood in preparation for the harsh winter that lies ahead. 

There's no shortage for finding something to do.  You can tell Sid keeps himself in shape, you won't find much excess body fat on this man.

We had the entire lake to ourselves except for a couple Forest Service people who were working on a trail that was washed out nearby.  When we spoke with them you could tell they had a long day and were ready for dinner and a good night's sleep.  I learned their job isn't as glamorous as I once thought it might be.

So the next time you see a forest service person, give them a big thanks.  They deserve it.