In the posts about my mom Ginny Diegel I talked about how much she loved the Wallowa Mountains in northeast Oregon; indeed, for an Oregonian, it's a "real" mountain range. Not that the Cascades is not a range, but with craggy peaks and jagged ridges, deep valleys, rivers, and pristine mountain lakes the Wallowas offer a lot of alpine bang once you make the long entrance into them. They are known as the "American Alps," which I think is actually a bit unfair: they don't actually look much like the Alps and they are far wilder than the over-developed Alps, but I get that it's a magnificent little range that probably deserves more notoriety than it gets so people (back in the day) wanted to apply an impressive-sounding moniker. Generally they seem more akin to the Wind River range, the Sawtooths, or the San Juans. But regardless of what they are similar to (and who really cares?!?), the Wallowas have always loomed on the eastern horizon as Ashley and I have driven I-84 past LaGrande, and she had never been in those mountains and it had been....a lonnggg time since I'd been there.
|Different dog, circa 1980?
|Bridges like these help to keep the horse traffic down....
|I got a little carried away on the "tilt the camera to make it look steep" thing!
|the butt crawl is a proven successful log-crossing technique
|A long cool spring made for a lot of snow for us to cross, and we had to change our route choice a bit to account for it.
this photo is worth a bit of a tale. As we were heading up to a pass we saw two different couples coming towards us. The first said "The trail to the pass is impassable! The couple ahead tried it and said it was impassable!" Okay, we said, we'll take a look for ourselves. We came upon the 2nd couple who - not surprisingly - also said "the trail is impassable! My wife fell 250 feet!" Okay, we said, we'll take a look for ourselves. Our new benefactor declared, in a bit more panicky voice: "THE TRAIL IS IMPASSABLE!" Whoa dude, take it easy. We aren't gnarly, but we will take a look for ourselves. Indeed, the trail appeared to lead to a steep snow slope that had a big glissade track down the middle (visible in the lower left of the pic). But if one turned about 80 degrees, one would see that the trail actually avoided the steep snow and switchbacked back into melted-out terrain, switched back a coupla more times, then a quick shot over the snow on top of the riege, which we traversed pretty easily. While we tried to appreciated the good intentions of the advice, it was a good reminder that what one person perceives is not necessarily what everyone perceives.
|We had hoped to climb Eagle Cap, but with only running shoes and no spikes we didn't.
|Bill sharing his wine and knowledge of the area.
|Ash went straight to the greenhouse before heading to the lodge, but it didn't take long to throw the pack down on a deck and enjoy a nice beer after 5 days of marching.