Tag Archives: Hells_Canyon

Hells Canyon vistas

Needless to say, the views into the massive Snake River canyon, and the side canyons, lift one up beyond one’s tiny self.  If only we had wings to fly, to soar, to see deeply into the intricacies of these canyons, filled with flowers, grasses, trees, and wildlife.

looking over Freeze Saddle, the main trail into Hells Canyon

Scarlet gilia

lupine and the Seven Devils

Camping in Hells Canyon

Meg and I try to make an annual trip into Hells Canyon every year around the Fourth of July, when the wildflowers are at their fullest.  Hells Canyon, reputed to be the deepest in the US, is formed by the Snake river, and separates Oregon from Idaho. A narrow dirt road leads out of the small “town” of Imnaha and travels steeply toward the fire lookout at Hat Point. This is the only road into this magnificent country.

The views from our campsite would be worth a thousand dollars a night were this a five star resort.  Our campsite is more simple, but it is all we need to enjoy the tranquility of this magnificent scenery.

Meg, morning devotions

There is no end to prayer

“There is no end to prayer. It echoes on forever in your soul. Long after the visible demonstration has been made and forgotten, the prayer that produced it continues to work for your spiritual advancement, for the creative power of a God thought is unlimited and eternal.”  Emmett Fox

“In prayer, we need to speak whatever truth is in us: pain and grief, fear and disappointment, yearning and desire, questions and doubts, hope and faith, failure and weakness, praise and thanks, despair and sorrow, anger, and yes, even hatred.”  Marjorie J. Thompson
I enjoy envisioning my prayers as spreading far, far beyond my mere ego mortality. They certainly are more “treasures in heaven” than anything else I try to do by myself here on earth.
Hells Canyon, Seven Devils Mts, OR

ells Canyon, Seven Devils Mts, OR

Called back

Henri Nouwen writes, “I trust in you, Lord, but keep helping me in my many moments of distrust and doubt. They are there and will be every time I turn my eyes, ears, or hands away from you.  Please, Lord, keep calling me back to you, by day and by night, in joy and in sadness, during moments of success and moments of failure. Never let me leave you.  I know you walk with me.  Help me walk with you today, tomorrow, and always.”

Over the years I have I come to realize how amazing God is:  I think I am seeking Him, whereas He is always seeking me.  Indeed, He is the good shepherd who seeks all of us who have gone false, separate directions!
Ohope Beach sunrise, North Island, NZ

Below Hat Point in Hells Canyon, OR

God’s Mercy

“In the world of the Bible, the real explanation for the force shaping the course of things is gathered up in one radiant word: mercy. Creation in its entirety is a work of God’s love and though it is fractured by every sort of strife, it cannot escape the gravity of mercy.  God’s mercy fills the earth (Psalm 35:5). Mercy is the deepest quality of God’s love, the most stunning, unexpected evidence of God’s generosity, the most enduring commitment of God’s sovereignty…. Flexible and strong, mercy is capable of bearing sorrow’s weight and of supporting every honest effort to build new life.”

                                                         John S. Mogabgab
Seven Devils Mts in Idaho, taken near Hat Point, OR

Whale Island, Ohope Beach, North Island, NZ

With You there is light, help, patience–and wisdom

“God, let my thoughts be gathered to you.  With you there is light; you do not forget me. With you there is help. With you there is patience.  I do not understand your ways, but you know the way for me.”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Eagle Cap Wilderness, OR

Hat Creek bench, Hells Canyon

Saddle Creek overlook, Hells Canyon

Hells Canyon hiking

Of all the hikes I have been privileged to do in Oregon, the Hat Point trail into Hells Canyon is one of my top three.  Marshal, our Chinese MBA student, Bob Carter, my PCT hiking companion, and I spent two nights and three days in the canyon this last week of June.  The trail drops a couple thousand feet in three miles down to spring time green benches and massive ponderosa pine trees. Filled with wildflowers and bird songs, this is one of the most peaceful and awe inspiring place one could spend time.  The geologic forces that formed this canyon include volcanoes, inland oceans, tectonic plate collisions, more lava flows and the slow cutting force of the Snake river, which now forms the boundary between Oregon and Idaho. Measured from the heights of Idaho’s Seven Devils mountains to the river, the canyon is 7, 993 deep, deeper than the Grande Canyon.  Its long sculpted, layered benches remind one of the Grand Canyon, although the colors are shades of green and brown, rather than reds and tans. One is humbled to think of the Creator who spoke all this into existence and whose Presence is still there. Indeed, I felt I was truly in His holy temple.


As a photographer, I am obviously wrapped up in the nature of light. I spent four days this past week hiking, camping, and taking pictures in Hells Canyon, both below the rim and on top. As I enjoyed the delicate gentleness of early morning light and the subtle strength of evening light, I contrasted those times of day to the hot, harsh light in between.  In much the same way, I considered how our lives develop.  We enter the world in the cool morning of our early years, move into the harsher realities of day to day living as adults, and then, with the strength we have gained, transition into senior years which hopefully are wiser in recognizing the nuances of people and their situations.

I have chosen the writings for two pictures from this trip in the context of a very dear saint, wife, mother and teacher who recently passed away.  Her life was a call to all of us in La Grande to live gently and confidently in the Lord and His compassion and comfort for all His children.
Wallowa Mountains

Bench below Hat Point, Hells Canyon

The Word of the Lord endures forever

I love the book of Isaiah. Despite Isaiah’s dire warnings about the consequences of Israel’s apostasy, despite the geopolitical attacks against Jerusalem, the Lord speaks through his prophet of His sovereignty and compassion, His justice and mercy.  Nations fade, we fade, but throughout the book of Isaiah, God reminds us that He and His Word are eternal; no matter what our circumstances, we can rest safely in His comfort. Isaiah’s message is well worth our time to read and re-read.

Painted Hills, Oregon

Hells Canyon, Oregon