After huge photo opportunities in Central Oregon, we continued our process east to Hells Canyon, en route to the Wallowa Mountains and the town of Joseph.
One of our hiking guide books lists hikes on a scale of difficulty from 1 to 5, with 5 being the most difficult. Lately we've been sticking to hikes with a difficulty level of 1 or 2. The Hell's Canyon hikes were rated 3 to 5 because of the rugged terrain and the steep elevation gain, so we crossed them off our list.
Good thing, too, because the guide book says to be prepared for scorpions and rattle snakes. No wonder they call it Hells Canyon. Here are two views from the lookout:
Wallowa Mountains/Wallowa Lake, Joseph Oregon
First up are two photos of Wallowa Lake. The second photo shows some of the many deer cruising around the place. (Funny story about the deer later.)
We stayed at the Wallowa Lake Lodge which came highly recommended:
Mr. ChaCha is more of an outdoors person than I am. My idea of vacation in the Oregon wilderness to first go to town to visit all the stores and see if any of them have yarn. Then my plan is to relax in the lodge with a warm fire, a book on tape, a hot drink, and a knitting project. Mr. ChaCha's plans always involve hiking and seeing the sights all day long--the more hikes and sights in a day, the better.
So, of course when he read about the Wallowa Lake Tramway, which goes up to the top of an 8,150 foot mountain, he was all up for that. Even better was the fact that there were several hikes way up there at the top.
He tried to talk me into it, and I wasn't going for it. I'm afraid of heights and always manage to get raving headaches at high attitudes.
This elevated tram (each suspended car holds four people) goes a little over 7 mph. It goes 1.83 miles in distance and makes a 3700 foot elevation gain in 15 minutes. Now tell me, if you read this sign, would you go up or would you go back to the lodge?
While Mr. ChaCha was hiking, I did this:
The food at the lodge was great. It's a good thing, too, because all the restaurants in town served mostly hamburgers or things that were deep fried. From the dining room you could see the deer roaming around.
Our waitress said a city slicker woman from NYC once tipped her $20 for "taking such good care of our family all week and for letting those deer out of their cages every day so we could see them." She just pocketed the tip and didn't educate the woman about wildlife.
Joseph, Oregon, has a lot of really talented bronze sculptors. There are great bronze statues all around town. Just heading out of town toward the lodge where we stayed was the honest-to-goodness gravesite of Chief Joseph himself. (I hadn't realized how the town got it's name.)
Around the grave were many offerings of trinkets, cigars, and such. I left a little red and black knitted swatch attached to some ribbons.