What's Tony Thinking

From the Wallowas No. 14


We are at the family cabin in the Wallowa Mountains of Northeastern Oregon. Lovely here.

It was, along with much of the Northwest, quite warm over the weekend. Undaunted, my son Joe, his son, Colin, and Gpa set out for Aneroid Lake. It was Colin’s first backpacking trip. By definition, that means carrying your own pack. It’s a sincere hike with a 3000′ elevation gain over the six mile route to 7,500′ elevation of the lake itself.

There was still a fair bit of snow on the upper trails and much of the spring vegetation up there was just beginning to show its green shoots. A late, cool spring here — as previously noted. Here’s a shot of the Lake and bowl of mountains which surrounds it.

I’m always hoping to see wildlife. While we didn’t see much besides lots of fish jumping and many squirrels and chipmunks, we did find the tracks of both bear and bobcat. One advantage of a slightly muddy trail — discernible tracks.

Aneroid is one 55 “High Lakes” in the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area. I haven’t been to all of them — not by a long shot — but quite a few. One of my goals has been to still be backpacking when my grandchildren got old enough to head into the mountains. So, I’m a very fortunate guy. Another trip with two other grands coming up in August.

Meanwhile back in the area of our cabin, it is the time of fawns. Swollen does give birth to one or two fawns, no triplets as yet. Although they will grow up to eat my shrubs, flowers and trees thus incurring my displeasure, right now they are irresistible. Whether it’s God’s plan or evolution, little newborns, whether deer, dogs, bunnies or humans, have cuteness on their side in the time of their greatest vulnerability.

We are blessed to have the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture in nearby Joseph, Oregon. The Center, by the way, is named for Alvin Josephy, one of the great historians of Native Americans, in particular the Nez Perce. He had a cabin in the Imnaha.

Every summer the Josephy Center does an exhibit they called, “Into the Wild,” usually focused on a particular area of Wallowa County. This year the focus is the Imnaha Valley and Canyon Lands, which lie to the east of us. A couple of my paintings will appear in this year’s exhibit. This one is based on a photo taken from the Buckhorn Lookout, looking southeast into the Imnaha Canyons. I call it “Geometries of Light.”

Wherever you are I hope summer is bringing some of its characteristic graces during the trying times in which we live.


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