Tag Archives: Hells_Canyon

Love is patient and kind

Love is patient and kind. ..Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13: 4, 7

Paul’s statement about love is the most profound ever written on this topic.  It makes an excellent template for thinking about our mothers, and what part—or parts—we would choose to describe their relationship to us.  I would choose “endures through every circumstance.”  As I think of my mother, and as I watched the mothers of men who came through my courtroom, all of them maintained their love despite what was going on in their sons’ lives. Nothing could sever or lose that love; nor is that love ever wasted.

Hells_Canyon, Wallowa_County

The Matriarch, Great gray owl

Maynard the Rotary Duck and Kenny the Kiwi

You may recall “Flatiron Freddy” who used to travel to worldwide destinations. Well, last fall, Beth, our La Grande Rotary president, acquired Maynard the Duck. She sent him out with Rotarians who were traveling to help them document their travels. I took Maynard to New Zealand over Christmas. Since he felt “lonely,” far from home, I acquired Kenny the Kiwi to keep him company. Last week, Meg and I went with friends high above the Snake River with a guided llama tour. Wallowa Llamas is operated by Raz Rasmussen, out of Halfway, Oregon. It was a great trip. I will be posting scenic pictures later, but in the meantime, you can see the trip through the eyes of Maynard and Kenny 🙂

“We didn’t get to ride a llama.  Instead, Eric carried us.”

“Meg hiked faster than Eric.  He stops to take so many pictures.”

“I got to sleep next to Meg.  She told me Eric used to be a frog before she met him.”

“Have you ever kissed a llama?”

“Our guide, Raz, made delicious Swedish pancakes!”

“Spring is gorgeous in Hells Canyon.”

Raz made great coffee every morning!”

BSA Troop 514 at the historic Kirkwood Ranch

This past weekend, six scouts from Troop 514 and three adults drove to Pittsburg Landing on the Idaho side of Hells Canyon, the deepest canyon in the United States. From there, we took a Forest Service jet boat six miles up the Snake river to the Kirkwood Ranch, an old homestead that dates back to the late 1800’s. Our “payment” for this ride was a service project in which the scouts cleared brush and branches from an ATV trail that leads to the ranch from high above the canyon.

The boys enjoyed examining the history of this sheep and cattle ranch and were awed by how these rugged ranchers survived so far from civilization.  They did a great job of cooking dinner and breakfast from scratch with food they had brought in.  After breakfast on Sunday, we packed up and hiked the six mile trail back to Pittsburgh Landing.

The jet boat that took us to the Kirkwood Ranch

The landing at the Kirkwood Ranch

Our campsite at Kirkwood Bar

The scouts enjoyed the pioneer farm implements at the Kirkwood Ranch

The hike out

Balsam root wildflowers along the Snake River canyon

A service project at Pittsburg Landing

Pittsburg Landing

Troop 514

Kirkwood Ranch

Enjoying the ride up the Snake River

a great meal!


Meg and I have been dog sitting a friend’s golden retriever. Once again, I am reminded how absolutely loving devoted these creatures are.  They seem to believe that God created human beings to give them constant love.  And again, I ask myself, how devoted am I am to loving God as deeply and as constantly?  I am grateful He is merciful.

Wallowa County, Hells Canyon

Wallowa Mts, Zumwalt Prairie


 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

Troop 514 spring camping in Hells Canyon, Snake River

BSA Troop 514 set off in the rain this past Friday afternoon and headed to Hells Canyon in the Snake River country of NE Oregon.  We camped at the end of the road, setting up our tents in a light drizzle just before dark.  The next day, after breakfast and a flag ceremony, we headed downriver, into verdant green hillsides, carpeted with yellow balsam root, pink phlox, and purple lupine.  Five new scouts enjoyed their first outing, enthusiastically learning new skills of cooking and fire building, identifying plants and animals, pitching tents, packing backpacks, as well as playing games, all under the excellent, caring leadership of the older Scouts.  

I have enjoyed my return to the troop.  Without this outing, I would have stayed indoors, at home, in the rain, not creating anything memorable. Instead, memories of youthful enthusiasm and brilliant colors resonate in my mind!
Balsam root, Hells Canyon

Troop 514 fire starting

Troop 514 flag ceremony, Snake River

Snake River, Hells Canyon

phlox, Hells Canyon, Snake River

Troop 514

Troop 514, Hells Canyon, Snake River

Troop 514

Troop 514, Snake river

Troop 514, crossing McGraw creek

Some deep thoughts about forgiveness from Father Thomas Keating

“Vulnerability means to be hurt over and over again without seeking to love less, but more. Divine love is sheer vulnerability–sheer openness to giving.  Being vulnerable means loving one another as Christ loved us.  If we did not have to forgive people, we would have no way of manifesting God’s forgiveness toward us.  We pass on the mercy we ourselves have received. The best way to receive divine love is to give it away, and the more we pass it on, the more we increase our capacity to receive.”  Father Thomas Keating

Feather Woman Falls near Sperry Chalet

Hells Canyon and the Seven Devils Mts

The always present Presence

I realize with prayer that I truly do may myself available to the presence of God, to His holiness.  This awareness, at least briefly, lifts  me beyond thoughts and words and actions. it is a delightful place to be, knowing also that God delights in each of us, His children.

Looking into the Imnaha river canyon, near Buckhorn Springs, OR

Saddle Creek, Hells Canyon