Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Holden Village 2011: The Journey In

On Sunday our family returned from another wonderful week at Holden Village above Lake Chelan, Washington. Holden is an isolated, remote Lutheran retreat center in the mountain wilderness. It is a former mining camp that was donated to the Lutheran church in the early 1960s. People come from all over the country and world to spend time there--many just to visit, and others to volunteer and live there. It is a truly unique place in the world.

It was my sixth visit and Mike's fifth. We've been visiting Holden every other year since 2005 (most recently in 2009), but the first time we went as a family was when Chris had just started walking.
Holden in 1998 with Mom & Dad, Nadine & David,
and our friends the Barretts
Part of the adventure of Holden is the journey there. First, you drive up through north-central Oregon and central Washington to reach Wenatchee or Chelan. This year, we stayed in it took us 5 or 6 hours to get there (because of our lunch stop).
Some of the many windmills in south-central Washington

A bunny we saw at the park where we stopped for lunch--
Nick was very intrigued!
We stayed in the Comfort Suites in Wenatchee, and the kids enjoyed swimming in the pool and eating the free breakfast. In the evening, we had a lovely meal (albeit a bit pricey with our sangria, the kids' drinks, and Washington state tax) at historic McGlinn's Public House. I had a fantastic chicken pesto burger (grilled chicken, sun-dried tomato, goat cheese, tomato, pine nuts, kalamata olives, and fresh basil pesto).
Nick and Kieran with Mike at McGlinn's
The next morning we were up bright and early to drive for an hour to Field's Point, where we caught the Lady of the Lake to Lucerne, where we would be transported to the village. We went to Holden with a very large group from our church, including our friends who moved to Boise several years ago.

Chris and friend Beck on the boat dock
Kieran, Myla, and Ari

Nadine and David with Shelia (from Boise)

Nephew Garrett looking excited
Getting ready to board the boat

Make way! I want to get a good seat!
The boat takes 2 or 2-1/2 hours to reach Lucerne, where we catch the bus to Holden.
On the boat

Lake Chelan

Some of the following photos were taken by a childhood friend of mine, Devora, from her stay in Holden in June.

The Holden bus
Once the boat arrives in Lucerne (halfway up the lake), everyone headed to Holden is dropped off at the dock, where they pile onto old school buses. The school buses take people 11 miles uphill into the mountains on a road filled with treacherous switchbacks.
The shovel is not just for show--they use these
buses throughout the winter and often have to dig their way through

Lake artistry

View from the bus
The buses that arrive in the village (once a day) are greeted with applause and smiles. It's a wonderful welcome!

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