Made by Ice; Twice

November 24, 2020

EPOD.LakeChelan x2.2020

Photographer: Thomas McGuire 
Summary Authors: Thomas McGuire

Lake Chelan (shell ANN) on the eastern side of the Cascade Mountains of Washington State is the third deepest lake in the United States It is a mountain lake that extends from a surface elevation of 1,100 feet (335 m) above sea level to a depth 400 feet (122 m) below sea level. It is 50 miles (80 km )long and about a mile wide (1.6 km) with crystal clear water. Roads extend only about one-third of the way to the end where the isolated town of Stehekin is located.

Lake Chelan owes its origin to glaciers that flowed into its mountain valley from two directions. From the west came an alpine arm of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet that covered a large part of the mountains of Western North America. The lower end of the lake was created by an arm of the same ice sheet that invaded from the Columbia River to the east creating the shallower western end of the lake. It is not known how many separate advances occurred from each direction.

Autumn is apple picking time at numerous orchards along Lake Chelan, a region that also produces quality wines.

The top image shows the steep mountains at mid-lake during smoke from fires in the West. The bottom image is Wapato Point, in the eastern basin.