Tag Archives: Imnaha

Hat Point, another Spring trip into Hells Canyon

A “must see” place in the Northwest, Hat Point lies opposite the Seven Devils mountains of Idaho, high above the Snake River.  The mountains and the river form the deepest canyon in the United States.  The road to the top is a sinuous gravel road, with the stretch of acrophobic drop offs. But the views are spectacular, and make the driving challenge more than worthwhile.

The road crosses the Imnaha river and climbs quickly to a canyon overlook filled with wildflowers and basalt layered cliffs. Then, as one climbs and curves higher, the view moves from the south to the east, and the deeper Hells Canyon and the Seven Devils come into view.
Usually snow blocks the road until late June.  With this year’s drought, however, Bob Coulter and I were able to make the trip in mid May. The wildflower progression was just starting, and we enjoyed the yellow glacier lilies, as well as the mountain goats that had not yet dispersed to parts unknown.

Imnaha river overlook on road to Hat Point
Imnaha river overlook on road to Hat Point
Balsam root and Imnaha canyon
Glacier lilies, Seven Devils Mts near Hat Point, Hells Canyon
Mountain blue bird
Mountain goats close to the Hat Point fire lookout
Enjoying the view
Inmate river canyon, Hells_Canyon_NRA

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

The Zumwalt Prairie and the Cat’s Back

“The Zumwalt Prairie seemed a polycultural sea of greens–springtime mint greens, forest greens, shamrock greens.  They were every hue and shine–pale, bright, dull, and verdant–and always changing from the height of the sun in the sky or the volume and cover of the clouds. The wind changed the colors as did morning and evening dew.  Morning color was heightened, noontime was flat, and late afternoon shone gold-green and shadowy.”  Marcy Houle, The Prairie Keepers

This book provides a wonderful background for visiting both the Zumwalt and the Cat’s Back, two vast high grasslands the hold the silence and awe of Creation.

Invited back to fullness

Although I do not recall the specific incidents from my childhood, I do have memories of disobeying my parents, and my subsequent attempt to hide from them, physically and emotionally, because I had not done what they had asked me to do.  I remember the terrible “lostness” of my intimacy with them. Those memories help me better understand the story of Adam and Eve.  They walked intimately with God, until they chose to follow their own desires and disobeyed His command to not eat the fruit of the Tree of LIfe.

How often do we choose to follow our own pleasure/will, starting with parents, and then with God?  And yet, He never leaves us.  He abides with us, in us, still seeking intimacy with us. In the Revelation, the last Book of the New Testament, Christ is still there, seeking us. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” We may have closed the door on Christ, but He still comes to that door and knocks, willing to share a meal, as a friend.  How amazing that God still reaches out to cross the barriers we erect!
Cat’s Back, Wallowa Mts, NE Oregon

Imnaha River country, NE Oregon

The lower Imnaha River canyon country

Formed high in the Eagle Cap Wilderness of northeast Oregon, the wild and scenic Imnaha River flows seventy three miles along a fault line that parallels the Snake River. In the lower river canyon, massive Columbia River basalt lava flows rise spectacularly above the river.  It is some of the most remote country in Oregon, yet hard working cattle ranchers make a living there.  A narrow dirt road, whose clay base makes it treacherous in wet weather, snakes high above the river. It is not a road for the acrophobic. Meg and I drove down there on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, making many stops simply to bask in the vastness of the land and our own insignificance.

Traveling to Hat Point in Hells Canyon

Last week I posted pictures from my hike down into Hells Canyon from Hat Point.  However, like a picture book, there are two sides to the views found on this trip. The rugged road begins in the the town of Imnaha and reaches a knife edge drop-off before the first overlook into the middle portion of the Imnaha river.  The Imnaha river is the second longest in Wallowa County, and its ruggedness rivals that of the Snake river in Hells Canyon. At the same time the sculpted layers of the Imnaha canyon draw one’s eyes downward, the snow covered Wallowa mountains draw them upwards.  The contrast is jarring, yet it is softened by the beautiful wildflowers that seem to divide these two worlds. This location is one of those rare places that allow the heart, mind, and soul to hang onto radical contrasts.