NPS/NOCA photo by Deby Dixon
The Stehekin River at High Bridge, a point along the Pacific Crest Trail, with the late afternoon sun on the peaks of McGregor Mountain.
There are two ways to smell, touch and feel the magical waters of the Stehekin (meaning, the way through) and that is to take a 55 mile boat ride on Lake Chelan or hike or backpack on several trails in North Cascades National Park, including the Cascade Pass Trail, near the river's starting point. The Stehekin, which gets water from a number of tributaries, such as Pelton Creek, Doubtful Creek (gotta love some of those names), Basin Creek and many more, is the major source of water for Lake Chelan.
The beautiful green and blue colors of the river and lake are created from what is called glacial flour caused by glacial erosion - meaning that when the glaciers shift or melt, they grind against the bedrock and small particles of the rock are ground down into very fine pieces that become suspended in the river water, turning it gray, light brown, iridescent blue-green or milky white.