Friday late afternoon and early evening two weeks ago at the Painted Hills, near Mitchell OR in Wheeler County–the light changes softly but distinctly, subtle but intense, drawing me into an ever deepening mood of peace and relaxation, wonder and joy.
The Painted Hills, located near Mitchell OR in the John Day country, represent over fifteen million years of geological history. The colored layers were created by a variety of plants that we covered from intermittent volcanic ash deposits. The wildflowers this year at the Painted Hills were the best ever–truly a super bloom!
Once again, BSA Troop 514, La Grande, OR successfully prepared snow shelters and slept in them for the annual Klondike Derby at Mud Lake, opposite the Anthony Lakes ski area. Eleven hard working Scouts, in an excellent team effort, dug a forty foot by five foot trench down into six feet of snow. From there, they dug three snow caves into the sides of the trench. This preparation happened on Saturday and Monday of Presidents’ weekend. Last Friday night, February 22nd, they slept in the caves and then participated in the Saturday morning Klondike competition .
After living without a dog for six years, Meg and I recognized it was time to invest love and time in a dog again. So in late August, we bought a mini Aussie shepherd. Leif is a delightful creature, full of love, energy, and intelligence. Winter hiking and snowshoeing with him in the Mt Emily Recreation Area and the Meacham Divide have been filled with his joyful exuberance for snow travel! And many of these times Meg and I enjoyed the added pleasure of having son Michael and his dogs with us.
If the snow is the right temperature and consistency, Leif acquires snow balls on his fur.
“It was easy to love God in all that was beautiful. The lessons of deeper knowledge, though, instructed me to embrace God in all things.” St. Francis of Assisi
Meg and I recently saw the excellent movie, “Won’t You be My Neighbor.” This movie, about the life of Mr. Rogers, reminded us that amidst the “not good,” the evil, it is so important consciously to cultivate that which is good and loving. In our lives we must do more than merely avoid that which is bad. We must reach out and build up others, be healers and peacemakers, as best we can.
The sunrise of the Ca’ts Back and the Wallowa Mts. does not need words. The music of the mountains continues to resound in Meg’s and my mind.
Boy Scouts from La Grande Troop 514, led by Dr Koza and myself, enjoyed a most excellent June Friday/Saturday backpack trip to Strawberry Lake. The trailhead is out of Prairie City OR, about a two and a half hour drive from La Grande. The hike is a gentle mile and a half. The boys worked extremely well together, setting up tents, hiking up to Strawberry Falls, cooking dinner (backpackers thanksgiving from scratch) and breakfast (pancakes and sausage), retiring a flag, and playing a great game, “Terrain.” It was an exceptional time together.
Before leaving the Chalk Basin, Michael and I took one last hike. This hike took us cross county to an area above the lower Owyhee River knows as the chalk cliffs. On the float trips I have made on the lower Owyhee river, we have camped below these formations on the second night of rafting. I have always want to see this area from above. I finally fulfilled that desire.
PS I did successfully drive the Cherokee out to the road, although not as boldly as Michael 🙂