Eagle Cap Wilderness Day 5 – Return to the Wallowa Lake Trailhead

All good things must come to an end and it was time for our visit to the Eagle Cap Wilderness to end on the fifth day. We were up before 5am and were rewarded with a soft alpenglow.
IMG_3958

We ate some breakfast, packed up, and then made our way down to Horseshoe Lake.
IMG_3964

We then began a 3 mile descent to Sixmile Meadow along the West Fork Wallowa River. The trail up the river to Frazier Lake had been lined with wildflower meadows but this trail passed through a forest.
IMG_3989

A few flowers were present as well as some ripe oval leaf blueberries.
IMG_3972

Prince’s pine
IMG_3984

IMG_3994

IMG_3986

We had been discussing the fact that we hadn’t seen quite as much wildlife as we thought we might. A doe and her fawn had walked right past our tent on the first night and we’d seen a pair of mountain goats on the second day while heading up to the Matterhorn, but otherwise it had been a lot of birds, chipmunks and squirrels. As we came around a switchback we spotted a snowshoe hare.
IMG_3974

IMG_3979

The trail leveled out as we neared Sixmile Meadow and the temperature dropped. A light frost covered the plants along the path.
IMG_4000

Logs allowed us to cross 2 branches of the river.
IMG_4006

IMG_4008

We passed through Sixmile Meadow before turning left on the West Fork Wallowa Trail.
IMG_4012

We were now on a familiar trail but despite having seen the scenery there were some new sights in the form of wildlife.
Grouse
IMG_4019

IMG_4022

Buck
IMG_4027

All in all it had been a great trip. We had had a couple of hiccups with Heather being ill the first night and having trouble finding a campsite the second and fourth nights but the weather had been wonderful and the scenery superb. After changing and doing a little bit of cleanup at the car we stopped for lunch in Joseph at the R & R Drive-In which really hit the spot. We each had a Zeke Burger and split an order of some spectacular tater-tots.

We were able to take I84 on the way home but decided to leave the Interstate at Hood River in an attempt to avoid driving through Portland during rush-hour on a Thursday. We drove past Mt. Hood on Highway 35 to Highway 26 then took State Highways through Estacada, Mollala,and Woodburn to avoid traffic. Happy Trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/albums/72157671217618871

Epilogue – After spending five days in the Eagle Cap Wilderness of NE Oregon we found ourselves at the beach for our annual family reunion in Gleneden Beach, OR. For the first time we brought our camera and for the first time we spotted whales off the coast.
IMG_4053 (2)

IMG_4049

IMG_4046 (2)

In the course of a week we’d gone from seeing mountain goats on the way up a 9826′ peak to watching whales surface from sea level. Just one of the reasons why we love living in the Pacific Northwest.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s