Wilbur Mt. provides another stimulating discovery above the canyons of the Mt Emily country of the Umatilla National Forest. . USFS 3113 ultimately travels along a ridge between the deep, alluring canyons of Meacham Creek and Bear Creek
Indian Rocks lie above the Grande Ronde Valley, about a half hour drive from La Grande. In late spring, it is a great place for a picnic or a bike ride.
Morgan Lake lies an easy uphill drive fifteen minutes above La Grande. Hiking here any time of year is always good, but spring is especially beautiful.
Recently, a New York Times writer interviewed Bob Dylan about his latest album and his life and career. He offered this telling insight of Little Richard and why our society did not appreciate his talent as a Gospel singer:
“Probably because gospel music is the music of good news and in these days there just isn’t any. Good news in today’s world is like a fugitive, treated like a hoodlum and put on the run. Castigated. All we see is good-for-nothing news. And we have to thank the media industry for that. It stirs people up. Gossip and dirty laundry. Dark news that depresses and horrifies you.
“On the other hand, gospel news is exemplary. It can give you courage. You can pace your life accordingly, or try to, anyway. And you can do it with honor and principles. There are theories of truth in gospel but to most people it’s unimportant. Their lives are lived out too fast. Too many bad influences. Sex and politics and murder is the way to go if you want to get people’s attention. It excites us, that’s our problem.” Bob Dylan
The Summit Road going east from Interstate 84 takes one to the turnoff to this gorgeous view from the Summit Guard Station on the Umatilla National Forest. In the spring, the camas and Indian paintbrush are spectacular above Meacham Creek Canyon.!
Here is an account from the journal of Narcissa Whitman, who crossed the Blue Mountains in late August, 1836. She and her husband, Marcus, established the Whitman Mission that fall in Walla Walla. They had left from Independence Missouri, and followed what became the Oregon Trail. She was the first white woman to come west in this fashion.
“After dinner we left the plain and ascended the Blue Mountains. Here a new and pleasing scene presented itself-mountains covered with timber, through which we rode all the afternoon; a very agreeable change. The scenery reminded me of the hills in my native country of Streuben.
August 29th. – Had a combination of the same scenery as yesterday afternoon. Rode over many logs and obstructions that we had not found since we left the states. Here I frequently met old acquaintances in the trees and flowers, and was not a little delighted; indeed, I do not know as I was ever so much affected with any scenery in my life. The singing of birds, the echo of voices of my fellow travelers, as they were scattered through the woods, all had a strong resemblance to bygone days. But this scenery was of short duration-only one day.
Before noon we began to descend one of the most terrible mountains for steepness and length I have yet seen. It was like winding stairs in its descent, and in some places almost perpendicular. The horses appeared to dread the hill as much as we did. They would turn and wind around in a zigzag manner all the way down. The men usually walked, but I could not get permission to, neither did I desire it much.”
Butcher Point and Tillicum Point have been wonderful discoveries during these quarantine times.These are dramatic canyons in the Umatilla National Forest only a 30 minute drive from home. Like TS Elliot wrote, I have always been exploring, but now am home and know this place for the first time.
Buckhorn Springs lies in th extreme northeast corner of Oregon. It overlooks the canyons of the lower Imnaha River in Wallowa County. I try to make a later spring trip as often as possible. The view is sublime–a reminded that nature endures even as we fade and falter.