The Wallow Mts above the town of Halfway in Baker County

Meg and I overnighted in Halfway a week ago before heading off to hike the wildflowers of the upper canyons above the Snake River.  Located in Baker County, about a three hour drive from La Grande, Halfway is a sleepy ranching town set in a beautiful valley beneath the Wallowa Mts. The area was evaluated in the mid thirties as a potential ski resort site that Averell Harriman wanted to develop to increase the ridership for the Union Pacific Railroad.  Instead, Ketchum, ID, was chosen for Sun Valley.

In any case, the small bed and breakfast, Pine Valley Lodge, suffices as an exceptionally cozy and comfortable place to stay without any of the fancy trappings of a resort. The community is down to earth and the people strongly connected to each other.

At this time of year, the hills outside of town are alive with the yellow arrowleaf balsam root wildflower. Its name comes from a combination of its leaf shape and the fragrance of its roots. It is a common spring flower in the Great Basin areas of the west. Native Americans used various parts of it as a pain reliever, and to treat colds, burns, wounds, insect bites and swelling.

From a photographer’s standpoint, these flowers and the snow capped mountains behind them provide some of the most spectacular pictures in Oregon!!

Wallowa Mts, balsam root, halfway, Pine Valley Lodge

Wallowas

Baker County, Wallowa Mts. halfway

Wallowa Mts, Halfway, Baker County

Wallowa Mts, Halfway

Wallowa Mts, Halfway, Baker County

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