Umatilla Rim Trail/Nine Mile Ridge Trail
This turned out to be an easy hike with big views from the Umatilla Rim and a walk through some very pretty forest. We hiked North on trail 3080, nice and flat for about 2 miles with excellent views and wide open meadows with loads of flowers (and more to come in the next few weeks), then about 1.5 miles West on trail 3072 with a slight downhill grade through lovely green forest. Below is a photo of the map at the trail head because I couldn't find much info on the web about this particular trail head.
There were hundreds of elk tracks, but no elk to be seen, just one deer. We also kept our eyes peeled for bear, and had our bear spray handy, but did not see any. This link tells of a bear sighting here a few years ago.
|Big views to the West.|
|Strange fungus...the largest bubble is still a little smaller than a dime.|
Bear Creek Trail
For our next hike we headed East on Hwy 82 to the tiny, cute town of Wallowa, then into the mountains to Bear Creek Trail. This trail follows raging Bear Creek for many miles, we hiked about 3.5 miles before we turned around. The trail runs through pretty forest, with a few ups and downs always within sight or earshot of the "creek"...this creek is huge. Perhaps the person who named it saw it at the end of summer during a dry year! A tasty finale to this hike was an Oregon Berry Shake at the Little Bear Drive-In in Wallowa.
|Bear "Creek" surrounded by lush forest and some pretty steep rock walls.|
|Lots of neat fungus on this trail!|
|A Rubber Boa! We saw two of these...had we known how docile they are we might have picked one up!|
For our last adventure in NE Oregon we took the advice of our host at Hu-Na-Ha RV Park and checked out Growiser, a native plant conservation area. We were a few weeks late for peak bloom viewing but the grounds themselves turned out to be an interesting, unexpected delight. If you go, look for the small Visitor Parking sign just North of the large wooden Growiser sign.
When we parked at Growiser the sun hit the truck in such a way that Hans saw some prints on the right rear of the truck bed. It looks like a small bear must have tried to peek in the bed of the truck while we were out on our hike the day before at BEAR Creek!
|Those are definitely small bear prints...nothing else looks like that!|
|Though there were still some blooms on the meadows, a few weeks ago this was exploding with flowers.|
The views into the Elgin and La Grande valleys were excellent.
|We discovered several stone circles on the property.|
Each of these stones were topped with a beautiful crystalized rock.
|This chunk of pink crystal had to weigh at least 200 lbs.|
It stood in a lovely forested setting with log benches all around.
|A serene sitting area in the blooms.|
It's been a wonderful week in this quiet, rural part of NE Oregon. We stayed at Hu-Na-Ha RV Park, a small city owned park in Elgin on the banks of the Grande Ronde River. At $145/week it was a bargain for full hookups, inexpensive laundry, peace and quiet, and 3 bars of 4G Verizon.
This week has only whetted our appetite for this area, we will definitely return. Both Joseph, OR and Wallowa, OR had decent RV parks in stunning settings with low monthly rates, that just might make it into our plans for next summer/fall.
Tomorrow we're off to the Columbia River Gorge where we'll spend a week in White Salmon, WA.