A ten minute drive takes me to Morgan Lake, above La Grande, OR. It sits in a high prairie, so the afternoon sun sets unblocked by the hills. I love to walk here year round. Each season brings it own mood. Winter’s late afternoon sun is warm and rich, filled with serene mystery.
Scouts from Troop 514 left early Saturday for their annual rock climbing weekend at Hoffer Lake, above Anthony Lake. We knew we would encounter skiffs of snow, but little did we realize we would be breaking trail in close to twelve inches.
We enjoyed true winter camping. The boys adjusted for the conditions, working together to pitch their tents, cook their food, gather firewood and stay warm.
Hoffer Lake was lightly frozen. The late afternoon light created marvelous color tones on the lake. When I awoke Sunday morning after a chilly night, I was grateful to be there, amidst this snow cover beauty, rather than simply sitting in my easy chair at home drinking coffee. Coffee outdoors by the campfire was much better 🙂
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
We have experienced a deep and long winter here in our Grande Ronde Valley–wind and snow have closed many roads, snow is piled deep, both from blowing and from drifting. However, when the wind stops and the sun comes out, there is nothing more beautiful than the snow covered fields, trees, and mountains. It is the epitome of beauty.
A short ten minute drive from home takes one to the Mt Emily Recreation Area (MERA). Mt Emily creates an iconic profile as it rises above La Grande. The MERA offers excellent recreation opportunities year around. In fact, if you go to the previous post, you will see Meg on a billboard in which she is hiking in spring in this Mt Emily Recreation Area.
Despite cold weather and lots of snow in Union County, I have found a number of great winter walks within twenty minutes of home. The air is so fresh, my spirit is vibrant, the walks are stimulating to body and soul. And, my iPhone is such an easy tool for excellent pictures 🙂
Despite societal fears and frustrations, we know Christ’s light can never be dimmed or destroyed. Let us move into the new year with courage and compassion, reflecting that light within us, and seeing it in our brothers and sisters as well. We are shepherds to others, not slaves to politicians.
“Surely this is not the time for trembling knees and pale faces among the sons and daughters of new creation. The darker the night, the brighter faith shines and the sooner comes the morning. Look up and lift up your heads; our redemption draws near.” AW Tozer
Four intrepid Scouts and three adult leaders snow shoed five miles on Saturday in five degree weather up to Hoffer Lake, above Anthony Lake, Oregon. The air was still, and the sun reflecting off the snow did help to warm us up.