"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Showing posts with label hiking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hiking. Show all posts

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Ridgway State Park

Back in Colorado

We made our way to Ridgway State Park which is 5 miles from the small town of Ridgway between Ouray and Telluride for a week long stay. We had no internet service once we left Montrose but would visit the nice little library in Ridgway every day or two. Then we would have an excuse to try one of the great restaurants in town. We even found a great Thai coconut and lemongrass soup.
We could see why there had been so many wild fires in Colorado. Everywhere we looked was brown and it was hot. The lake was down 30 feet. Too hot for our planned visit to the hot springs.
Finally, on our fourth day the monsoon rains came and cooled down everything.

Box Canyon Falls 

Of course, we had to see Ouray's Box Canyon Falls. Even though the run off was low, they were still quite impressive with a loud roar in the canyon.

A stop at the Ouray Brewery

An excellent Pilsner and view


The eclectic people (old hippies, young hippies, cowboys and friends that hangout at Ralph Lauren's ranch) were as entertaining as the musicians at the Thursday evening Ridgway concert in the park. Two couples sat their chairs on each side of us and made the evening even better. They were both so much fun and had great stories.

Million Dollar Highway

Hayden Lake
We took the Million Dollar Highway to Silverton one morning and stopped for a hike. The next day the signs were flashing that the highway was closed due to a rock slide. It would be a very long drive to get back for anyone caught south of the slide.

Hiking at an elevation of 11,000-12,000 feet had our legs moving slow on our return from Sivlerton. I thought that we would be faster in the thinner air. Less resistance? Maybe not.

Barrett Mines

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Glad  we brought a lunch.

Ouray's Perimeter Trail

After an early morning hike on the 6 mile Perimeter Trail which runs around Ouray, we stopped at Gnar's Taco shop  which turned out to have some great tacos.

They must have been dirty babies leaving the tubs looking like that. 

We got an early start on our hike because it had been pretty hot. As we reached the Perimeter Trail's high point, the sun was rising over the mountains behind us.

A change of plans...

Monday, July 2, 2018

Grand Teton National Park

So much wildlife 

We had passed through Grand Teton National Park going to or leaving Yellowstone in the past and had mentioned that this park deserved a little time too. Finally, we made it back.
Lodging is very expensive in Jackson and the Teton Lodges. A couple from Australia told us that they were only staying two nights because the only rooms they could find were $300 per night. 
Some of the campgrounds are first come first serve and mostly dry camping. Gros Ventre is a huge 330 site campground but does not feel crowded and is only 12 miles from Jackson. Arriving early, we scored an electric site for $39 per night.
We usually avoid the busiest national parks but found this place to be much less crowded than expected by hitting the trails early. Also, many people head to Yellowstone after a quick peek here. Our four day stay turned into eight as we had no desire to leave this beautiful place with cool temps and still so much to see.

Jackson Lake in the morning

The multi use paths in the national park runs to Jackson and beyond making getting around easy. Our ride across Windy Point lived up to its name. I wondered if I would get blown off a couple of times.

The mandatory antler arch picture

Our hikes took us to several lakes. We arrived at Jenny Lake for an early morning boat ride to the falls and hiked back.

Almost every day, we stopped along the river to watch moose. On the way back from our bike ride, the twin moose were chasing each other and splashing in the river. They were so fast and funny to watch.
 We watched the four frolicking otters roll around each other for a while on Jenny Lake.
 The beaver in Moose Pond was serious and was not detoured from his work.

Getting wildlife pictures with our little camera is not easy. The coyote that stopped on the road to check us out on our bikes was not going to wait for me to stop and pull out the camera. The bear in the campground had better things to do than have his picture taken. It is just fun to see them.
It is a little difficult to make out the osprey in the nest. We would watch one fly out and around while the other enjoyed the sunshine in the nest.

There were too many pictures of the animals to choose to post.

There were two fawns but only one would hold still for a few seconds. They were so small and young, looking back at us as we walked down the trail.
Our hikes took longer than usual with all the views and critters to watch.
On our hike to Taggart Lake, we decided and additional 2.5 miles to Bradley Lake would be ok and headed further back into the forest. As the forest got thicker, so did the mosquitos. We didn't stop for long even with mosquito spray all over us. They were in attack mode.

Taggart Lake

Jenny Lake
Feeling inspired at Inspiration Point

Phelps Lake Huckleberry Overlook

The wildflowers were fabulous.
Oxbow Bend


Moulton's Barn on Mormon Row

It would  have been easy to be drawn to Yellowstone but there was plenty nearby to keep us happy and were glad we extended our time here. 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Wallowa Lake, Oregon

Northeast Oregon

Wallowa Lake State Park

 As we traveled around Oregon, people kept telling us that we needed to visit Joseph and Wallowa Lake. We managed to get 5 nights with full hookups in the state park, so we could checkout all of the hubbub. Our first two days were pretty cold with lows in the 30s and highs in the 50s. The space heater was working overtime as we awoke to snow one morning. The park ranger said that the campground was not too full since many people asked for refunds and left early. That just made more room for us.
  Wallowa Lake is a glacial lake at the base of the Wallowa Mountains in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. 
We had full hookups but no WIFI or Sprint service at our site. Once a day we would walk to the marina and use their WIFI and watch the fishermen catching kokanee salmon.
 We hiked along the Chief Joseph Trail on the West Fork of the Wallowa River to the BC Falls on our first hike even though it was chilly and rain was in the forecast for later in the morning.

Many of the small wildflowers were in bloom.
 We hiked through several sections of landslides that gave me the willies.
Our handy bear spray was nearby for an easy reach. But when a dog came charging and showing his teeth at us on the trail, we were glad to have our poles in our hands. He saw them and headed around us. Shewww!

The second bridge to the second waterfall had been washed out but we could see it from where we were standing.

Town of Joseph

We enjoyed the small artsy city of Joseph named in memory of a Native American chief which is just 6 miles from the campground.
Chief Joseph, respected in his Nez Perce tribe, was misunderstood by the white man in the 1800s, and especially by the U.S. government. Today, however, he is recognized as having been a strong, compassionate leader.
The Wallowa band of the Nez Perce had lived peacefully in the remote Wallowa Valley for centuries.

As white settlers began to move west and north, they eventually reached the land of the Nez Perce. Chief Joseph recalled:
“The first white men of your people who came to our country were named Lewis and Clark . . . . They talked straight and our people gave them a great feast . . . . We had a great many horses of which we gave them what they needed, and they gave us guns and tobacco in return.”
This was in 1805, and the good feelings lasted for several decades. But in the 1870s, settlers and the U.S. Cavalry started to force the Nez Perce from their homeland. Chief Old Joseph had signed a treaty in 1855, but when the discovery of gold nearby prompted the government to take back millions of acres, he renounced the treaty. In 1863, a new treaty divided the tribe into treaty and non-treaty bands.
The chiefs eventually agreed to new boundaries, diminishing their lands to one-tenth their original size.

Wallowa Lake Tramway

The small Wallowa Lake Tram carried us up the steep 1.8 miles from 4200 feet to 8150 to some beautiful views and nice hiking trails on Mt Howard.

On our last day, we trekked up the steep East Fork of the river from the Alpine Trailhead. The river was running high with multiple waterfalls along the way. Fortunately, the temps were in the low 70s.
There are so many trails to hike and small towns to explore I this area. But we chose to stay nearby the state park.
 A local man was hiking the West Fork with his son and was showing us the mushrooms and how to distinguish between different types and how to prepare them. This one sells for $24\lb in the market. We saw a few morels but left them for the deer.

La Grande, OR

Heading to La Grande, south of Joseph, we stayed at Grande Hot Springs Resort on Hot Lake. The warm hot springs were refreshing for our sore muscles.
 Grande Hot Springs hot mineral water is sourced from Hot Lake Springs. It is collected at 171F and pumped to the property. The large pool was 96 degrees and small spa 104.5 after being mixed with 77 degrees domestic well water which is geothermal mineral water.
 The hot springs were a great place to visit at the end of our hike or bike rides.
The Grand Bikeway goes through Union which has a rural charm with a population of just over 2100 and Victorian style homes, buildings and tree-lined streets. This was where we would start our bike ride through the farms and ranches towards Cove.

Cove with a population of 680 is known as the land of the big prize cherries, and the home of apple pies. As we rode by the farms and ranches the cherries trees looked ready to be picked.

The winds were strong on our final day blowing in rain. As much as we would  have liked a bike ride, we opted for a hike in the Mount Emily Recreation Area. It is a huge area and happened to be having a mountain biking event. We just chose trails that weren't in their plans for a nice hike. La Grande turned out to have much more to offer than we had expected.
It has been quite an interesting couple of months in Oregon. From the beaches of the Pacific Ocean to the Willamette Valley, Cascades and the eastern farms and mountains, Oregon has not disappointed.