Wallowa Mountains

July 30 2022 Lake Basin (between Mirror Lake and Moccasin Lake)

I’ve considered that the awe I have felt all day hiking up Hurricane Creek to Lake Basin is due to my thirst for mountains. That my imagination is so parched for the granite dried air, the sound of wind through firs and pines, and the distant roar of snowmelt merging with a lake is like a cold glass of spring water.

This is not the case.

These mountains really are that magnificent, that they make a mountain lover gawk and stop and stare at the geology. The metamorphosed limestone that is now marble peaks mixed with volcanic basalt dikes and then the granite, like the final word in an argument that took place over millions of years. A compromise was reached, and the showstopper that I’ll climb tomorrow, Eagle Cap, is all that granite. I’m not sure what I’ll do after I summit. Hike around and stare at these superb mountains that locals call the mini Alps. There is nothing mini about these peaks, in my opinion. They are sheer, massive, prominent, and breathtaking. I imagine what it would be like to be a big horned sheep, or, in winter, a wolverine, making my way up, up, and over each divide.

July 31 2022 Ivan Carper pass

I knew I wanted to dry camp tonight after all of the bugs last night. Troy told me that there were several established campsites up on this pass and not surprisingly he was right. I found a little perch between two snow patches that looks out over Lake Basin, where I was last night. The only problem is, there are still a ton of mosquitoes even way up here. And I got bit by something on my forehead and it swelled up. I took some benedryl and that stopped the spread of the swelling but it still hurts.

It’s been a relaxing day; I hiked up Eagle Cap early this morning and got some great views. I could see almost all of the Wallowas and even over into the valley where La Grande is. It was a quick hike, about 5 miles round trip and the grade of the trail was really nice.

It rained a bit this evening as a minor thunderstorm passes, and it made everything smell wonderful. I wish Troy was here to point out all of the geologic features and to identify all of the birds I see here.

Which reminds me, I saw a grouse this morning on the hike up Eagle Cap. So cool!

August 1 2022 Shady Campground

There’s hardly anyone here which is just the way I like campgrounds. I had planned on camping a few miles back on the trail but I felt so good hiking this morning that I ended up here. I spent most the afternoon reading The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. I read most of it; I have just a few chapters left. It’s been a bit since I spent 6 hours reading. I usually get distracted by one thing or another but here there are few distractions. Just the sound of the Lostine River. The wind. Someone chopping wood.

August 2 2022 Maxwell Lake

The trailhead for Maxwell Lake is in Shady Campground, so after a breakfast of a bar and coffee, I cruised up 2,000 feet, mostly switchbacks to the lake. I had it to myself. I swam and ate another bar before descending and meeting up with Troy.

Shower and laundry, then food. The usual post hike stuff.

Eagle Cap
Lake Basin from Eagle Cap summit
Pretty sweet perch on Ivan Carper pass.
Eagle Cap from my tent
Lostine River
Maxwell Lake. Of course I went swimming!
Glacier Lake in the background.
Snow cave!