Friday, June 20, 2014

Eastern Oregon Captures Our Hearts

We're spending a week in Elgin, OR, a farming town set in pretty rolling green hills along the Wallowa Lake Highway. Elgin may not be the best location for visiting Eastern Oregon, we've got long drives to the things we want to see, but this is really a scouting mission for the area...we can already tell we will be back again someday, it is gorgeous here!

Taking a walk after the rain stopped near our park in Elgin, OR.

The area we are exploring surrounds the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Set in the Wallowa Mountains, the Wilderness has over 30 peaks exceeding 8,000 feet, many high alpine lakes, with streams and rivers running rampant everywhere. It is absolutely breathtaking!

Incredible scenery near Enterprise, OR.

When we first arrived we had a couple of days of rain. Not a bad thing at all, we've experienced very little precipitation since we hit the road almost two years ago. And, it's doing a great job of keeping this corner of Oregon green. Since we're staying near La Grande, OR it only made sense to spend a rainy day taking factory tours of the two local RV manufacturing plants: Outdoors RV Manufacturing and Northwood Manufacturing.

These two RV manufacturers are on our radar if we ever want to downsize our rig. They make well constructed, four seasons, rugged travel trailers, 5th wheels and truck campers. At both plants we got personalized tours and saw just about every inch of the manufacturing process.

We're up on the scaffolding getting a birds eye view of the finishing process at Outdoors RV.

Northwood had a great platform where we could see across the entire assembly warehouse.

When the rain cleared up we took a very long (for us) day trip to check out the small towns along the East side of the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Our turn around point, Wallowa Lake, lies 55 miles from our RV park in Elgin. But what a gorgeous drive it was. Rolling green hills covered in feed crops gave way to forested mountains, rushing tumbling rivers and creeks, cute small towns, and towering snow covered peaks. We saw deer, elk, marmot and possibly fox on this drive.

Joseph, OR was such a pretty little town, cute shops and restaurants and so visually pleasing, we'll likely stay there when we return to the area, maybe next summer. We even managed to fit in a short hike near Wallowa Lake to BC Falls. Hans made a brief panorama video of the incredible scenery near Joseph that can be viewed here.

Downtown Joseph, OR.

Mural in Joseph, OR.
Wallowa Lake

BC Falls.

Now that the weather has improved we've got a few hikes lined up before we leave. We'll take the bear spray with us...this is some wild country!





23 comments:

  1. I was just reading about this area of OR yesterday and thinking we should go explore it. Great intro to this spot! They call Wallowa Lake the 7th wonder of OR.
    Nina

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    1. I first heard about this area when Laurie and Odel stayed here a few years ago; her descriptions stuck with me. We are considering spending anywhere from two to four weeks here next summer.

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  2. A friend emailed the other day and suggested we check out the Wallowas, so I, too, have been researching it. Nice to hear your impressions. Sounds like just our kind of place!

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    1. AND it's a reasonable distance from Hells Canyon which is also supposed to be amazing in a more desert, rugged canyon sort of way.

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  3. Wow this looks gorgeous. The lake picture is stunning. You do find some great spots. Thanks for the scouting report.

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    1. It's always our pleasure to provide a little preview! :-)

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  4. Now that is some lake, clear and just beautiful. The tour is something that we will be interested in when we get there. Glad that you are out there for us to take a peek.

    Just in case your looking for ideas of what to do at the Columbia Gorge I have three post about our visit there. We stayed at WA side and there are some good hiking on that side as well as OR.

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    1. I will check out your posts. We are staying in White Salmon for a week. So looking forward to being in the Fruit Loop area and hoping we are hitting it at the right time!!!

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    2. We were at White Salmon too, that's on the WA side. Island girl is also heading that way, too.
      Lots to do there, enjoy and looking forward to your adventures.

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    3. Best time for fruit loop tour is September when apples and pears are ripe. Right now, cherries are at their peak. Be sure to go to the alpaca farm on the Fruit Loop Tour. Cutest darned critters!

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    4. Yep, I was just looking at the fruit schedule, I know we are a bit early...but I do love cherries! Thanks for the alpaca tip!

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  5. Gosh, everybody's in Oregon this summer!!!
    Nice, nice, photo's as usual.
    Box Canyon Mark

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    1. Seems to be someone missing from Oregon. You.

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  6. Thanks for the information. More places to visit in Oregon to add to our Oregon Pinterest board.

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  7. Sounds like another great find:) I'll have to add it the list. Beautiful lake! Looking forward to your hikes.

    Good you had a few days to tour the area. We really enjoyed the factory tours while we were in Indiana. It is very interesting to see the process.

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  8. Picture perfect. Love the mural too. It's hot and dry in SoCal so I could sit and watch/listen to Hans' video all day to cool off!

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  9. Ahhh, the north in the summer, it's all so beautiful! We really enjoyed that area as well. I believe Joseph is where, by chance, I got to take a personal bronze foundry tour!

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    1. We were going to take a bronze factory tour but it was going to be $15/each!

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  10. Great photos. It is photos like these that keep my urge to travel lit.

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  11. You know, we lived in Oregon over 30 years and never made it out to the Wallowas. Shame on us. All the photos are so amazing.

    When in Joseph, check out Valley Bronze and take a foundry tour. Their gallery is temporarily closed, but they're still giving tours. Learn about the lost wax process for bronze sculptures while you're there. http://www.valleybronze.com/

    Also, if you haven't already, take the tram ride to the top of the Wallowas. I've heard it's amazing!

    This public service announcement from travelbug-susan.blogspot.com

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    1. Well we were too cheap for the bronze tour ($15) or the tram ($28). Hans grew up with the lost wax process so he's an old pro... I wish Wallowa Lake would take a hint from Telluride with their free tram!!!

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  12. Love the Wallowa Lake pic. Have to add it to our "to do" list. Thanks for sharing

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  13. Wonderful to read a post about this part of Oregon, as we have only explored the coastline, Portland, and Eugene. We fell in love with the state and you are whetting our appetite to get back there. Great photos!

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