Friday, August 17, 2012

Escape to the Wallowa Mountains, Part 1

Life can is stressful and it is a time for a much needed escape.  Its not exactly like traveling when full timing since timetables dictate the agenda.  But it was a needed reprieve from the stresses of living with a child with challenging behaviors and getting a house ready for sale. 

The Wallowa Mountains in North Eastern Oregon are a mere 213 miles from Spokane where I have lived most of my life, yet a place that I have never been.  It is a place rich with Native American and pioneer history waiting to be explored.

 So my Auntie and I set out for a four day adventure.  The first half of our journey winds easily through the farmland of the Washington Palouse.  Is is a wonderful scenic drive through rolling hills ripe  for harvest.

Amber Waves of Grain

The road down the grade into Lewiston, Idaho and beyond was my first trip pulling my little Lolita up and down (and around hairturns) on mountain grades.  My Ford Explorer and Lolita handled the journey superbly.

Up, Up, Up, Down Down Down,  with no shoulders or guard rails!

 This was repeated over and over again.  Sometimes I just plain scared myself!  I scared Auntie too!  We rolled along sometimes at 20 miles per hour.  So the 213 miles took us six hours.  MapQuest you really ought to check that out.  Once again you lead me a stray!

Joseph Canyon
As a firm believer in stopping at historical markers we did find some along the way.  Can you imagine leading a band of Native Peoples or a wagon train of pioneers through this rugged country?  It is thought that Chief Joseph was born in a cave during the winter below this spot.

  After the up, up, up, and down, down, down,  many times we see our first view of the Wallowa Mountains. It is mid August and snow and glaciers are still visible on the mountain peaks.


I have made it my mission to learn life lessons by doing them wrong first. Then, I am sure to remember the lesson from the 'mistake' when I finally get it right.  When heading out on this impulsive trek, I neglected to  check what might be going on in Joseph, Oregon.  Well that turned out to be a wonderful learning opportunity.  We were joined in Joseph, Oregon by 20,000 other visitors to the Annual Bronze Blues and Brews Concert.  Lesson Learned....

So of course, finding a place to park Lolita became a bit of a problem.  Finally we pulled in to a little motel/RV park ran by a character of a man.  Auntie and I met a couple who took us to find the owner who found us a spot and even parked Lolita.  We had a grand time laughing and drinking coffee.


Views of Wallowa Lake

Lots of tame dear.
Momma wasn't happy though with the stare down.

Stayed tuned for more Wallowa Mountains travels....... tomorrow. 


  1. Did you get up to Sumpter? One of my bestus friends lives there. Great photos and it looks like a blast (except the hairpin curves).

  2. What absolutely beautiful photos. Great to hear you are getting out and enjoying yourself. You certainly deserve it. Planning ahead to make sure there is a spot to go to is one of the things I like least about full timing. I just want to wander around but I'm not always as lucky as you to find a spot when something is going on in the area. Well done!!

  3. Chinle, I'm not sure where Sumpter is.... I am always on the lookout for a new place to explore... Let me know where you are talking about.
    Sherry.... I hate the planning part, it seems not to go well with my exploring personality. Generally I'm ok with changing to a new spot, though this trip spots were in very short supply. I was prepared to travel farther away but was very glad it worked out this time. Yea!

  4. Sumpter's up in the mtns about a half-hour out of Baker City, southwest of the Wallowas. Guess you didn't get there. :) It's a cute little town famous for its little railroad and its annual flea market.