Written By: Andy and Allison Dappen
Most of us know recreationalists who are both crazy and quirky about lists. They may be mountaineers ticking off the 100 highest peaks in Washington State or striving to reach the highest point of all 50 states. They may be cyclists wanting to ride across each state in the country or to log 10,000 miles in a year. They may be paddlers possessed about floating every class-3 river West of the Mississippi, or skiers intent on visiting every resort in the Pacific Northwest in a single season.
Recently we heard of a local with a list that was new to us. Lloyd Berry, a Wenatchee resident and retired public works director, might be labeled a ‘lake bagger’ rather than a ‘peak bagger’ for the lack of a better word. When we heard he’d hiked into every non-roaded lake in Chelan County (over 170) we felt compelled to interview this retired civil engineer with a list that was singularly unique, relatively unknown, and interestingly quirky.
WenatcheeOutdoors: Why this fascination with lakes?
Berry: To me, lakes are Mother Nature at her best. Most of our lakes are high with clear water, beautiful vegetation, and striking. You can’t beat Nature’s landscaping. And we’re blessed to have so much of it nearby.
WO: How did this get started?
Berry: My grandfather took me into my first lake, Lake Augusta (off of Icicle Ridge), when I was ten years old—in the late 1940s. I had a great experience on that first trip—which seems to make a huge difference. My brother, who was two years younger, went with me on that first trip and it struck him differently—he directed his interest in other directions.
WO: When did you decide to try to visit all the lakes in the county?
Berry: I never really set a goal to see all the lakes, it just evolved that way. I’m systematic in the way I work, but this is my recreation so I just go out to have a good time. I’m not real compulsive about making lists or documenting what I’ve done, so when you say ‘all the lakes in the county’ there probably are some little, named puddles I’ve missed.
WO: Do you try and visit a new lake on every outing?
Berry: I go where I believe I’ll have a good time that day. I’ve probably hiked the loop from Phelps Creek to Holden Village twenty times and there are lakes I’m sure I’ve hiked into a dozen times.
WO: Have you had a partner in crime in this endeavor?
Berry: Dick Parkhill, who is also now retired, has hiked into a lot of these lakes with me. I’ve also hiked solo to about half of these lakes.
WO: What about your wife—is she passionate about hiking?
Berry: (Laughing) No. She’s understanding. She’s been into a few lakes with me, but her interests have an urban focus.
WO: What do you do when you reach the lakes?
I always bring my pole and I’ve fished (catch and release) just about every lake.
WO: Which lakes have offered the best fishing?
Berry: That’s for you to discover yourself. I’m careful about giving out names–many high lakes are tough environments and they can get fished out fast. Most high lakes have small fish, but I’ve fished three lakes that had 18-inch fish. All three are difficult to reach, but I’m still not giving you their names.
WO: How about a list of some of your favorite lakes?
Berry: For color, Colchuck is beautiful. Elsey Lake also has wonderful depth and color. Some lakes are favorites because of their quirks. If you look down on Triad Lake from High Pass on a windless day, you’ll swear it has disappeared. The water reflects the rocks around it and it looks like it’s gone. Two of my overall favorites are Elsey Lake and Charles Lake. I like them for their remoteness and their pristine beauty.
WO: Many lakes don’t have trails to them. Are these horrendous bushwhacks to reach?
Berry: Before this interview, I quickly jotted down some of the lakes I’ve day hiked to. There’s 48 lakes on this list — 13 or 14 of them don’t have a trail as we know it. Most of these do have a fishing, hunting, or climbing trail to them…if you can find it. There are no trails to some of the lakes I’ve liked best like Knox Lake and Charles Lake. Obviously, these are rarely visited. I do remember Waddell Lake as being quite a thrash to reach.
WO: Any particularly interesting trips you remember?
Berry: I stayed at Holden Village a few times in the late 1950s when there was no one at the village—the mining town had been abandoned and it hadn’t yet been established as a retreat center. We went bowling, played basketball, played pool, and stayed in the empty houses. One time, around dusk, we watched a bear walk up the deserted main street. Another memorable hike was in the early 1950s. My friends and I were a few days behind schedule and, when we returned, we learned there was a search out looking for us. That was exciting for a kid.
WO: Have you really reached all the un-roaded lakes in the county. There aren’t a few still eluding you?
Berry: I’m sure there are some named potholes in the county I haven’t seen yet, but I’m retired now – I’m just getting started on this.
This post was originally published on 7/18/07.