“The heart of prayer is to recognize the presence and action of God and to consent to it. We do not have to go anywhere; God is already with us….Faith tells us that we already have God. The most intimate relationship with God is to be completely present to God in whatever we are doing.” Fr. Thomas Keating.
Fall comes to a close in NE Oregon, from the Grande Ronde Valley to Wallowa Lake. Saturday was overcast, the type of day where normally I would not have gone out with my camera. But we had friends visiting from Hong Kong and we wanted to show them Wallowa Lake. As it turned out, the sky was filled with dramatically defined dark clouds and special subtle shades of light shone through.
There is no steeper trail in the Eagle Cap Wilderness than the one my long time hiking partner, Bob, and I took this backpack trip the last Thursday/Friday of September. Three thousand feet up in three miles! The trail to the Legore mine and the meadow above is as close to straight up as a trail can be. I had done it several times in my fifties, but at 73, with a backpack, it is much, much steeper than I remembered. What had seemed an easy ascent–and descent (going down was more treacherous than going up)–twenty years ago, was far different now.
We did 1500 feet up to Sawtooth Peak Friday morning. We saw both big horn sheep and mountain goats. Then we headed back down to camp, packed up and dropped the 3000 feet to the trailhead. (Lots of elevation for one day) I was as tired as I have ever been, but still exhilarated by what we accomplished!
Hurricane Creek. Falls Creek. Eagle Cap Wilderness
The Falls Creek trail is steep
Where we camped above the Legore mine
Hiking up the gully to the bowl below Sawtooth Peak
I enjoyed a Friday overnight stay at our shared cabin at Wallowa Lake in NE Oregon. Kokanee, a landlocked salmon, are running in the Wallowa River above the lake. Their redish colors are mirrored in the beaufiful fall maple leaves in downtown Joseph. The air was fresh and clear early Saturday morning, a great befinning of the fall.
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!