Posts Tagged ‘Oregon’
Posted on July 6, 2010 - by Nadia
Day 32: July 5, 2010
Joseph to North of Elgin, Oregon
I felt a pang of nostalgia for something I never knew as I pass the bustling Boise Cascade lumber mill outside of Elgin. It’s a hum that defined the Missoula area for many of my friends, but was more of a culture than an employer by the time I moved to town. The truth is my personal connections to the western landscape were formed by the wind, prairie and pronghorns of Casper, Wyoming. All these trees press in on me, and can make me feel anxious. Yet, at the rest stop at the confluence of the Wallowa and Grande Ronde rivers, the garbage contained Starbucks to-go cups and tags off of new river gear. This is not foreign soil. Oregon is at once novel and familiar, and it is going to be a challenge to see the land ahead of me with fresh eyes in the moment, and not take the familiar for granted or shrink from the closer, more pressing landscape.
Michael and Sarah and I parted company around noon as they headed back to Missoula and I to finish my trip. I took an additional hour or so to update the blog, as we were out of cell range at Lake Wallowa over the Fourth. So it was that I just rode for a few hours and didn’t take time along the way to get to know people or places. The towns came up quickly, and were small but tidy and busier than the small dots of Idaho or Utah: Enterprise, Lostine, Wallowa. Each had a store that was still in business, a church or two, a bed and breakfast.
I’m still in hay country, of course, but noticed for the first time the spindle balers turning out round bales. Round bales are banned in many states. (Why?) Because the cows were having a hard time getting a square meal out of them! (Sorry, had to.)
The landscape is filling up as I approach busier urban centers such as Walla Walla. My maps no longer show dirt roads or river rapids, and route finding is getting trickier although there are more people to ask.
Posted on July 5, 2010 - by Nadia
Day 31: July 4, 2010
Day off pedaling; hiked with Michael and Sarah into the Eagle Cap Wilderness
The town of Joseph is named for Tiwi teqis, Chief Joseph, the elder leader of the Wallawa Nez Perce and the man who declined the treaty modification that would have ceded all the Wallawa country to the United States. Pursued by U.S. soldiers, Tiwi Teqis, and then his son the younger Chief Joseph, led their people on a sad and terrible journey and retreat, north and east to Canada. Being in Joseph, seeing the stunning mountain lake country, and the high green pastures that he refused to cede, lends me a visceral sense of what drove him to take the stand he did against such overwhelming opposition. Here, he is celebrated during Chief Joseph Days (and rodeo) the third full week of July.
Downtown, the town of Joseph features flower boxes and bronze sculptures along a two-block stretch of shops, fly-fishing emporia and cafés. The town’s museum is as complete as any along my route save for that of Clayton, NM. A full room is devoted to telling the native perspective of the Nez Perce flight. Elsewhere, the early settlement of Joseph is detailed. Despite being surrounded by mining prospects, Joseph was an agricultural community founded initially, according to the woman at the museum, by ranchers who received permission from Chief Joseph to graze their horses on summer pasture.
Just west of town, the Hurricane Trail threads its way into the Eagle Cap Wilderness, the first wilderness designated under the federal Wilderness Act. The area is also home to several wild and scenic rivers or recreation corridors. The mountains here are steep, rising from about 4,500 feet to 9,500 feet, with creeks booming down jagged drainages, shooting off cliffs into gushing waterfalls. Glacial moraines form scenic lake Wallawa, which attracts boaters and anglers and sets the stage for summer resorts at the south end of the lake. This area is about seven hours drive from Missoula, but just four or so from Boise and most of the license plates here are from Idaho or Oregon.
a hike with plenty of vertical, up a drainage filled with the scrap wood and rubble of a violent spring runoff, we ate. Michael brought enough burgers and franks to feed an army and I did my best to put a dent in it. Our cabin at Flying Arrow Resort overlooks a rushing creek so we barbecued in all-American splendor. Then napped. Then drove to a widespot in the lakeside road to view a fireworks display that reflected in the lake and thundered off the mountains and was all in all a great capper to a weekend with friends.
Posted on July 5, 2010 - by Nadia
Day 30: July 3, 2010
Lick Creek Campground to Joseph, Oregon
Joyful easy ride to meet Sarah and Michael for July 4th weekend.
Rubin and Mandy started my day with a cup of camp coffee and a doughnut and I was fueled for the morning climb and glide to see my friends.
The town of Joseph is mostly a tourist destination and this is its time of year. RVs and folks in a hurry to start relaxing are surging through town toward Lake Wallawa. I’m glad to be getting off the road and out of their way.
I hadn’t been worried about holiday traffic until people in Hell’s Canyon started talking about it, but now I see the wisdom in surrendering my shoulder space for this couple of days.