Tag Archives: Baker_County

The call of Anthony Lake, OR

When Meg and I arrived in La Grande in 1970. we had no idea we were coming to an area with alpine scenery within an hour’s drive.  We had imagined eastern Oregon as sage brush country.  Instead, we have lived in a beautiful river valley for forty five years, enjoying a wide range of outdoor activities that we can reach in less than a couple hours.

Anthony Lake, here in NE Oregon, spans Union and Baker Counties.  Our sons learned to ski here, and we have enjoyed the hiking and rock climbing these alpine mountains offer.  On Sunday, after church, we left for a wonderful afternoon of cross country skiing in sunshine after a fresh snow fall. Silence and awe surrounded us.

Gunsight_Peak_OR

Anthony_Lake_OR

Gunsight_Peak_Anthony_Lake, Van_Patten_Butte_OR

The Klondike Derby, February 20&21, 2015

Eighteen Scouts slept in their snow shelters last Friday night up at the Anthony Lakes area of NE Oregon.  Their gear was appropriate to the weather conditions–18 degrees and light snow–so they enjoyed a comfortable night.  Many of these boys were barely eleven years old, yet their enthusiasm lasted the entire time, and they were most proud of their accomplishment. And I, at the other end of the age spectrum, enjoyed sleeping out in a tree well inside a bivy sack, underneath the tree boughs.

Saturday morning they competed in Scout skill events, as well as fun challenges based on a medieval knight theme–a catapult to knock over buckets, a jousting where they held a long light pole to thrust through a small hole as they were being pushed on a sledge, a bridge to knock their opponent off of.

We had enough scouts for three patrols.  One patrol finished first, so naturally there was extra excitement. These opportunities are unique skill and confidence builders–lessons and memories to last a  lifetime.

My sleeping “quarters”

Jousting target

Snow Shelter construction

BSA Troop 514 spent this past Saturday and Monday constructing snow shelters at Mud Lake, opposite the ski area at Anthony Lake, OR. We had 16 Scouts hard at work on both days.  Many of them had just joined the troop in January, and were only fifth graders, but their enthusiasm, stamina and work ethic was outstanding.  The snow was not too deep, so we had to forgo building our usual snow caves.  Instead we made trenches with sleeping platforms and covered the trenches with tarps.  So, we are protected from the weather, but need to dress warmly for the cold. We will sleep in them this Friday night, and then participate in the annual Klondike Derby on Saturday.

Troop 514

Snow shelter Anthony Lake

Troop 514

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

Imensity

 I took Meg back to where I had hiked with the Scouts last week. Continuing upwards into a canyon that rose far above the Snake River, in the Hells Canyon NRA, Meg and I were reminded of the immensity, the infinity that surrounds us.  It is both humbling and awesome to be part of such a vast universe.   The wildflowers along the Snake river had diminished, but the higher we went, the more profuse they became, This week the red Indian paintbrush had appeared, to complement the yellow balsam root and the purple lupine. We hiked high into the deepening green of the canyon, deeply breathing the fragrances and the freshness.




Wallowa llamas

Hells Canyon NRA

Hells Canyon Snake River

Hells Canyon

Snake River canyon

McGraw Creek Snake River Hells Canyon

MeGraw Creek drainage

The Eternal Shepherd

“Love unites all, whether created or uncreated.  The heart of God, the heart of all creation, and our own hearts become one in love.”  Henri Nouwen


Kutawere_wharf_NZ, Ohiwa_NZ


And God is the eternal, ever present Shepherd calling us to Him, bringing us to Him. Thank goodness, because even now, I still wander astray and need him to bring me back and give me strength.


Baker County

East Cape, N


 “I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord. I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak.” Ezekiel 34:15.16

BSA Troop 514 fun in the snow

We took the Scouts up to Little Alps, the old ski area that nearby Anthony Lakes replaced.  We practiced winter skills such as fire starting, snow shelter construction, travel, and clothing.  And, most importantly, the Scouts enjoyed the great fun of coming down the old rope tow hill in sleds and an inner tube, hitting a bump, and then sailing into space.  Great fun was had by all!!

BSA_Troop_514, Anthony_Lake, Union_County

BSA_Troop_514, Anthony_Lake, Union_Count

BSA_Troop_514, Anthony_Lake, Union_Count

BSA_Troop_514, Anthony_Lake, Union_Count

BSA_Troop_514, Anthony_Lake, Union_Count

BSA_Troop_514, Anthony_Lake, Union_Count

With the Scouts at Hoffer Lake and Anthony Lake

Last Saturday, I joined the Scouts for the annual rock climbing event at Hoffer Lake basin above Anthony Lake, about an hour from La Grande, Union County. We ultimately got rained and snowed out on Sunday, but the sunset Saturday night was SPECTACULAR!  Bur for the Scout outing, I would have been home on Saturday, enjoying college football and reading.  I am grateful I had the motivation to be up in this alpine setting with some great scouts!!

Hoffer Lake above Anthony Lake Oregon

Hoffer Lake above Anthony Lake, Union County Oregon

Hoffer Lake above Anthony Lake Oregon

The Source of our Joy

I often return to this wonderful statement by Henri Nouwen for reassurance when I get frustrated with the state of the world or the state of my life:

“Joy does not come from positive predictions about the state of the world.  It does not depend on the ups and downs of the circumstances of our lives.  Joy is based on the spiritual knowledge that, while the world in which we live is shrouded in darkness, God has overcome the world. Jesus says it loudly and clearly: ‘In the world you will have troubles, but rejoice, I have overcome the world.’

“The surprise is not that, unexpectedly, things turn out better than expected.  No, the real surprise is that God’s light is more real than all the darkness, that God’s truth is more powerful than all human lies, that God’s love is stronger than death.”  Henri Nouwen

Romans 8: 31: What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[o]) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[p] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Powder River

Ladd Marsh



Sunset and snow

As winter draws to a close here in northeast Oregon, I enjoyed an opportunity at our local ski area in the Elkhorn Mountains to enjoy some snow scenes.  The evening before, La Grande had been blessed with a most incredible sunset.  These scenes are a reminder of the intense beauty that surrounds us if we are able to make time to see.