Bob Carter and I enjoyed a three day backpack trip up the Eagle Creek drainage on the south side of the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Bob and I have been hiking together since 2003, and we are grateful our legs still let us enjoy these trips.
We left Monday afternoon and found very few others on the trail. The flowers were at their peak, blooming in green expansive meadows beneath formidable peaks and cliffs.
” The mountains are calling and I must answer.” John Muir
When Bob Carter and I started hiking together in 2003, he was 62 and I was 60. We are older and slower now. However, we still have the legs and mental stamina to do this eight mile round trip hike over lots of downed timber and over a couple miles of snow to reach this gorgeous meadow in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. On Monday, June24, we started at the end of the Lostine River Road at Two Pan and hiked up the East Fork of the Lostine River. From tracks we saw, we were only the second people to arrive this season.
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.
Embraced by memories of mountain air, sounds of the river, and visions of green meadows filled with wildflowers beneath alpine peaks, I loaded La Grande Troop 514 Scouts into the car to travel to the trailhead that leads up the East Fork of the Lostine River into the Eagle Cap Wilderness. The trail requires more effort than earlier years, but the challenge makes the time and beauty all the more meaningful. I am blessed to live so close to such a special place and still have the legs to hike, albeit at a slower pace. And it was particularly fun to backpack with these older scouts who could carry more weight and prepare a gourmet dinner and breakfast—despite the mosquitoes!