Michael and I drove up to West Eagle Meadows Tuesday. We were awed by the extensive white false hellebore wildflowers. Michael fished, I rode my mountain bike as we waited for darkness. The comet was beautiful but not as overwhelming as the Milky Way and the intensity of the starry sky which included Jupiter and Saturn. That picture is Michael’s.
Mu friends, Jimmy and Shari, provided information about these flowers:
This is a slipper orchid, related to the lady slipper Cypripedium kentuckiense. They are rare
Also called Moccasin Flower.
Native American folklore tells the story of a young maiden who ran barefoot in the snow in search of medicine to save her tribe. She was found collapsed on the way back from her mission with swollen, frozen feet. The story goes that beautiful lady slipper flowers then grew where her feet had been as a reminder of her bravery. In addition to inspiring folklore, lady slipper roots were also widely used by Native Americans as medicinal herbs.
We are glad you take photos because a picked lady slipper will not rejuvenate itself. The plant has a less than 5% transplant success rate, they are often considered “off-limits” to pickers and diggers. Some species of lady slipper are listed as endangered or threatened. Others, like the common Pink Lady’s Slipper, are listed as “special concern” under the Native Plant Protection Act. Although regulations on picking or transplanting lady slipper plants vary from state to state, either practice is generally discouraged and it is illegal to pick or dig up lady slipper plants on Federal properties.
These beautiful orchids don’t transplant successfully and have declined dramatically in our area due to grazing and logging. They require specific soil fungi in order to grow from seed, so even seed collection is rarely successful unless in soil with the correct fungi and just the right amount of sunlight. Enjoy them in the woods!
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.”
If you would enter into the wilderness, do not begin without a blessing.
Do not leave without hearing who you are: Beloved, named by the One who has traveled this path before you.
Do not go without letting it echo in your ears, and if you find it is hard to let it into your heart, do not despair. That is what this journey is for.
I cannot promise this blessing will free you from danger, from fear, from hunger or thirst, from the scorching of sun or the fall of the night.
But I can tell you that on this path there will be help.
I can tell you that on this way there will be rest.
I can tell you that you will know the strange graces that come to our aid only on a road such as this, that fly to meet us bearing comfort and strength, that come alongside us for no other cause than to lean themselves toward our ear and with their curious insistence whisper our name:
Troop 514 recently took its annual September backpacking, camping, rock climbing weekend. Eleven Scouts enjoyed their time camping at Hoffer Lake above Anthony Lake and then rock climbing higher up. We have been doing this event since the early eighties.
We set up our tents in the rain. When the clouds cleared in the evening, we enjoyed a spectacular sunset that reflected in Hoffer Lake.
The Mt Emily Recreation Area is less than a fifteen minute drive from where we live. When the Boise Cascade timber company decided to sell its land for home development on Mt Emily, a group of dedicated and far sighted people raised funds for Union County to purchase this land. The MERA provides trails for hiking, mountain biking, off road motor cycles and 4 wheelers and horses. These multiple users cooperate to make maintenance and trail development happen.
Meg and I have enjoyed hiking, biking, snow shoeing, and cross country skiing here. This spring has been particularly intense for us. We have hiked here several times a week, watching the first round of wild flowers appear, peak, and slowly fade until next year. Our minds and memories have enjoyed wrapping around this nuanced and delicate beauty.
“If I could stop time and contemplate the true beauty of a given moment, my eyes would widen and my jaw would drop. (Wait, I can do that! That’s why I photograph!) ” Dewitt Jones
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.
As the winds of the political environment pull us back and forth, Henri nouwen provides some wise words.
“How can we not lose our souls when everything and everybody pulls us in the most different directions? How can we “keep it together” when we are constantly torn apart?
“Jesus says: “Not a hair of your head will be lost. Your perseverance will win you your lives” (Luke 21:18-19). We can only survive our world when we trust that God knows us more intimately than we know ourselves. We can only keep it together when we believe that God holds us together. We can only win our lives when we remain faithful to the truth that every little part of us, yes, every hair, is completely safe in the divine embrace of our Lord. To say it differently: When we keep living a spiritual life, we have nothing to be afraid of.” Henri Nouwen