Troop 514 snow shoe to Hoffer Lake

On Saturday, I snow shoed up to Hoffer Lake, above Anthony Lake, OR  with five Scouts and two other adult leaders. I came back with two “day” scouts, and the others are camped up there tonight. It was a proverbial winter wonderland, but not enough to attract/convince my “elderly” body to stay overnight


Troop 514, snow shoe Hoffer Lake OR

Getting water for soup

Preparing soup at Hoffer Lake
gathering fire wood

Morgan Lake, La Grande

A ten minute drive takes me to Morgan Lake, above La Grande, OR.  It sits in a high prairie, so the afternoon sun sets unblocked by the hills. I love to walk here year round.  Each season brings it own mood. Winter’s late afternoon sun is warm and rich, filled with serene mystery.

Morgan Lake OR, La Grande
Morgan Lake OR, La Grande
Morgan Lake Union County
snow pattern
snow bundle Morgan Lake
winter sunset, Morgan Lake La Grande


BSA Troop 514, Bird Track Springs

Scouts from Troop 514, La Grande, OR, enjoyed a great November outing, practicing pioneering and cooking skills.  They lashed a ladder together, and hung up a large tarp to protect agains the weather. They also lashed a tower.  Breakfast was bacon, eggs, and french toast in cast iron skillets over a fire.  I enjoy helping them develop these skills which will last a lifetime.


ladder lashing, Bird Track Springs, Troop 514
Bird Track Springs, Troop 514, square lashing
Bird Track Springs, Troop 514


Bird Track Springs, Troop 514, Hanging the tarp using a ladder
Bird Track Springs, Troop 514
Bird Track Springs, Troop 514, boiling water using a tripod lashing


cast iron skillet french toast, Bird Track Springs, Troop 514


Bird Track Springs, Troop 514, cast iron skillet breakfast
Bird Track Springs, Troop 514


“Arriving at the first Sunday of Advent, we remember that God, out of love, came into the world in the flesh. We remember that in Jesus we see God’s love in a human face. We remember that in the midst of all the world’s pain, God’s love has draw near to sustain , restore,  and save.” Ginger Gaines-Cirelli
Unlike last year, the weather has  been warm here in La Grande.  I photographed this butterfly and bee on a Thanksgiving Day walk.  God is everywhere and we are always loved. May we all stay spiritually warm as we encounter friends and strangers during this Christmas season.


“I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I want to be. I am not what I hope to be. But still, I am not what I used to be.  And by the grace of God, I am what I am.”  John Newton

As fall leaves change into winter which transforms into spring and summer, I think of the ways we change, hopefully leaving old hurts and harms behind, and becoming more loving and forgiving. We are only stuck if we choose to be.

Psalm 17:7

Sorensen’s Family Resort, Hope Valley CA

Fall in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California draws one into intense colors and deeply refreshing air. Meg and I stayed with good friends at Sorensen’s Family resort, located in Hope Valley south of Lake Tahoe. Large meadows at 7000 feet spread out below Carson Pass and the West Fork of the Carson River.  Hiking, fishing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing makes this area a year around outdoor magnet.

Sorensen’s itself offers delightful cabins set amidst aspen trees.  Friendly service and an intimate restaurant made out stay an easy one.  We hiked through gorgeous color, which intensified after a light snowfall on our second night. Despite a two day drive to get there, we would love to do it again.

Carson Pass CA
Carson Pass CA
Hope Valley CA
Hope Valley CA


Sorensen's, Aspen leaves snow pano

Sorensen’s, Hope Valley CA

Hope Valley CA, aspen snow

Sorensen’s, Hope Valley CA

Hope Valley CA, Carson Pass CA

Carson Pass, Hope Valley CA

Be Still

“Be still and know that I am God.” I am challenged to take this call to stillness beyond the mountain top experiences and bring it to the busy valleys of life. I am slowly realizing that each breath, each encounter with people and Creation, is unique and needs to be treasured rather than avoided or endured. I pray that our loving Lord will bless and deepen our encounters, giving us rest and refreshment in the busyness we encounter each day.


Psalm 46:10, fall larch
Psalm 46:10, fall larch

Photos by Eric Valentine