Lake Chelan, Washington Has Excellent High Elevation Snowmobiling
By Scott A.Sumner
Traveling in winter can be fun as I found out on a recent trip to Lake Chelan, Washington to ride snowmobiles in the 7000 feet elevation mountains. I woke up at 5 am, dragged my bag through the snow to the airport counter of Northwest only to find out the flight had been cancelled. It was then home to sleep again before a second try at 3pm. This flight worked well and a 5 hour wait in Minniapolis allowed me to take the tram to the Mall of America, the largest in the US. After that it was a 3 hour 40 minute flight to Seattle which allowed for some sleep. I checked in to the Jet Motel at about 12 midnight for a short rest before a further flight to Wenatchee. If my orginal flight yesterday had occcurred I would have been in Lake Chelan the day before at about 3 pm. Of course when I got to the gate for my Wenatchee flight it was cancelled so then I was starting to wonder. There were 6 of us in the position so fortunately we had the plan of renting a SUV and doing a car pool.
Beautiful 7000 feet elevations at Lake Chelan
Jeff Downs of Fresno California, is the National Sales Manager for Trece, a farm chemical company, and offered to rent a 7 passenger Nissan Armada and take 5 people with luggage up with him. The Baha desert truck racer was a great driver through the passes and at this moment I knew my trip had taken a turn for the better. Also on the ride up was Sharon Lingel, from Wenatchee just back from a 5 1/2 hour flight from Hawaii, Kath Sedr of Wintrop, two hours north of Wenatchee, who had been to see her step daughter, age 21, who had open heart surgery in Missoula Montana, Rose Olsen on vacation to Hawaii and Donna Nelson who had come from LA and Salt Lake City.
Our car pool group was happy to reach our destination.
After arriving at the Red Lion Hotel in Wenatchee I was picked up for the about 45 minute remaing drive to Lake Chelan. It was great to check into the fabulous Campbells Resort and have a nap before dinner! It had been a journey that if everything had gone well would have been 1 day shorter. Travel is an adventure!
Lots of snow was evident at Lake Chelan!
My trip to Lake Chelan included some great snowmobiling at elevation. Last year I was hooked on mountain riding in Revelstoke B. Cand wanted to come back and see equally beautiful area of Washington State. When the travel goes well you can leave Thunder Bay at 7am on Northwest Airlines and be snowmobiling at a 7000 feet elevation at Lake Chelan, Washington by 3 pm. Thats pretty good and something I highly recommend after my mid January trip. Tim Agnew owns Uncle Tims Toys LLC and Chelan Rentals which rent snowmobiles, cross country skis, snow shoes in the winter. In the summer they do kayaks, canoes, skis, motor boats, roller blades, wake boards, water skis, inner tubes, peddle boats and fishing gear with a location in Echo Valley and downtown Chelan as well. This gives you an idea of the recreational opportunities in the Lake Chelan area.
"Right here at our base we are at 2700 to 2800 feet. The trail system is provided through the forest service and groomed through an independent contractor. The grooming is funded by the $10 tabs the snowmobilers pays to ride in Washington,' notes Tim Agnew. "We run 12 - 2005 or 2006 Polaris RMK 550 sleds out of Echo Valley, Lake Chelan, Washington. It gets busier each year. We also have cabins each with private hot tubs that sleep four to six. They are very popular as you can ski or snowmobile from the cabins."
41 year old Uncle Tim has 25 nieces and nephews
The resort is situated on 32 acres with the cabins are spread out there which rent for $99 to $179 per day. The sleds cost $135 for
four hours or $180 for 7 hours which includes gas and helmet. While guests mainly come from Seattle now they also are from the Tri cities, Portland and from Canada. "I got into this business because I almost slide off the road coming up here one day and in doing so I wasn't going to snowmobile in the valley anymore. I was informed this property was for sale so I thought I'd buy it to park snowmobiles. Then my friends came over and said you have to build cabins that we can snowmobile from and five years later we have 6 cabins and my home here as well as the rental facility. It was kinda a fluke,' smiles Agnew. "It snows here not a tremendous amount, say maybe 2, 3 or 4 feet but it is clear a lot of the days so people can see the elevation peaks. They have a tremendous glow to them when they come back down. As you go higher up the snow gets much deeper, say 60 to 80 inches. Once you get too deep you might as well make igloos."
"I like to see the kids and provide them something new they cant do at home say in Seattle. That is one of the reasons that keep me motivated to do this.' smiles the 41 year old Agnew who was a white collar suit and tie sales executive for a Seattle firm who left his job. "I love to snowmobile. I am a person who does everything a little bit. Snowmobiling is a fantastic way to get to the back country and perhaps cross country ski. I like doing a little of everything. We have the best rental equipment in the state. I rented for 10 years and never owned a snowmobile until I got into the rental business."
You can experience some unique high elevation snowmobiling at LakeChelan. Visit www.UncleTimsToys.com
One of our modes of transportation at Lake Chelan!!
Another highlite of the trip was taking a dinner cruise down Lake Chelan in popular singer Dean Martins' former boat. Yes a 3 hour cruise in January was unique especially after a morning of snowmobiliing.
Scott Logan and his wife, own the Innamorata Dinner Cruise and Yacht Charter. "The name Innamorata means my sweet heart in Italian,' smiles Scott Logan who is starting their 2nd year in the business. "Last year another gentleman bought the boat and it was his idea to do a dinner cruise here. Unfortunately he died in a car accident and my wife and I made an offer for the boat from his estate."
Scott Logan and his boat formally owned by Dean Martin!
The company will try to operate all year round with mostly charter work in the winter time, although if there is a group they will do a regular 3 hour cruise. In summer the Innamorata will leave the dock at 6 pm and get back at 9 30 pm. "We go up the lake for 1 1/2 hours, drift for a 1/2 hour while people eat and then head back. There is 55 miles of lake," notes Logan. "A dinner cruise is $60.00 per person with 3 main course selections - salmon, chicken dijon or prime rib plus desert and one refreshment. It was Dean Martin's boat orginally, one of 6 built that year in 1956 with three still on the water."
We were delivered right to our fabulous hotel Campbell's Resort on Lake Chelan!
"Some people think I may have lost my sanity doing this but I just liked the boat and thought it would be a fun thing to do,' smiles Logan who works for the school district during the day supervising school busses. "The Innamorata is 56 feet long at the water line and 60 feet at the deck. We want 20 people in the dining areas and 4 at the bar is possible. We can have more but 24 is a good number. There are two 6 cylinder diesel engines down below plus a three cylinder generator which propel the Innamorata at 15 to 18 MPH. It is pretty economical to operate at 8 gallons a hour. We learned a lot the first year about how to advertise, etc. We play Dean Martin music on board during the cruise."