Although Hells Canyon is a formidable barrier between Oregon and Idaho, extremely hot and dry in the summer, beautiful wildflowers bloom in the spring along the Snake River, and on the high benches. Heavenly is a much better way to describe it. I have day hiked the McGraw section for the last five years. It is a wonderful way to be reminded of His Creation!
My hiking partner, Bob, and I spent a delightful time in the high Wallowas, far from the “madding crowds.” A ten mile hike and 4000 foot elevation gain to us to the tundra country of the Eagle Cap Wilderness, where its short spring was just arriving. We have been here before, but it was the first time we caught it at the peak of its wildflowers.
Fall comes to a close in NE Oregon, from the Grande Ronde Valley to Wallowa Lake. Saturday was overcast, the type of day where normally I would not have gone out with my camera. But we had friends visiting from Hong Kong and we wanted to show them Wallowa Lake. As it turned out, the sky was filled with dramatically defined dark clouds and special subtle shades of light shone through.
I enjoyed a Friday overnight stay at our shared cabin at Wallowa Lake in NE Oregon. Kokanee, a landlocked salmon, are running in the Wallowa River above the lake. Their redish colors are mirrored in the beaufiful fall maple leaves in downtown Joseph. The air was fresh and clear early Saturday morning, a great befinning of the fall.
He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears.
As I read this passage a couple days ago, once again I was awed by the knowledge of God’s love. Despite the unhappy struggles we all go through during our lifetime, God prevails. He does give us life after death; He does know our sufferings, and WILL wipe away our tears.
A couple of weeks ago, as Meg and I were camped above the Snake River in Hells Canyon, a hummingbird whizzed back and forth in the early evening light. I clicked quickly, hoping I might come close to capturing the moment on camera. This hummer is obviously not in focus, but its glow is mystical. God’s presence is mystical; it is quiet; it is “be still land know I am God.” And, it is His gift to us that He will “wipe every tear from our eyes!”
Besides the “birds and the beasts,” Meg and I enjoyed the never ending vistas above Hells Canyon at the Saddle Creek Campground near Hat Point in Wallowa county. You could not find a five star hotel with any better views than we enjoyed from our campsite. We read and relaxed and enjoyed the changing shadows and highlights as the sun moved across the sky.
Saddle Creek is one of many drainages that flow down steep basalt canyons into the Snake River. Often times, Meg and I stay at a Forest Service campground above Saddle Creek that looks into the majesty side cliffs and benches that form Hells Canyon. Bird and mammal life is busy, as these pictures show. A pair of blue birds were nesting in a dead tree close to our campsite, providing us with fun sightings of their constant search for insects.
A “must see” place in the Northwest, Hat Point lies opposite the Seven Devils mountains of Idaho, high above the Snake River. The mountains and the river form the deepest canyon in the United States. The road to the top is a sinuous gravel road, with the stretch of acrophobic drop offs. But the views are spectacular, and make the driving challenge more than worthwhile.
The road crosses the Imnaha river and climbs quickly to a canyon overlook filled with wildflowers and basalt layered cliffs. Then, as one climbs and curves higher, the view moves from the south to the east, and the deeper Hells Canyon and the Seven Devils come into view.
Usually snow blocks the road until late June. With this year’s drought, however, Bob Coulter and I were able to make the trip in mid May. The wildflower progression was just starting, and we enjoyed the yellow glacier lilies, as well as the mountain goats that had not yet dispersed to parts unknown.
Imnaha river overlook on road to Hat Point
Imnaha river overlook on road to Hat Point
Balsam root and Imnaha canyon
Glacier lilies, Seven Devils Mts near Hat Point, Hells Canyon
Mountain blue bird
Mountain goats close to the Hat Point fire lookout