What's Tony Thinking

Out of the Mountains


It was a great trip, twenty-five miles beginning at the Wallowa Lake Trailhead, coming out an Indian Crossing on the upper Imnaha River.

As anticipated, it was cold — at least the first night, when we camped at Aneroid Lake. The water in my half-full water bottle froze solid, so I’m guessing it got down to 25 or so. But when the sun came up, it made quick work of the blanket of frost in the meadow where we had pitched our tents.

No wolves howling or elks bugling. Darn. Nice citing of hawks and owls. On the 10 mile stretch that was new to me, from Tenderfoot Pass to Imnaha Falls we saw only one other hiker, a guy about our age. We all congratulated each other on still being “out here.”

This first photo looks from Tenderfoot Pass east to Mt. Nebo, a pretty stellar example of a cinder cone. Mt. Nebo, in the Bible is the mountain to which God took Moses near the end of his life. From there, Moses could see the Promised Land which he would not enter.

There was a lot of fall color in the mountains. Here’s one shot that shows some of that.

The second night was warmer, partly because our elevation was quite a bit lower. But the weather had warmed up overall. So maybe it was 40 degrees. We camped near the Imnaha River.

Here’s a shot of the river shortly after dawn the next morning. After a pretty dry summer the rivers were low. Still, there was lots of water not only in the rivers, but in the many streams we crossed. Such streams are mostly spring fed.

My companion on the trip was David Laskin. David is a Seattle based writer whose most recent book is What Sammy Knew, his first venture into fiction. A wonderful tale, especially for those of us who came of age in the 60’s. Here’s David as started up Tenderfoot Pass. Imnaha Divide in the background. We angled around the right side of the Divide, then down it’s backside along the North Fork of the Imnaha.

A third companion, Nancy Knoble, started out with us. But Nancy’s dog, Bell, a shy rescue lost her zeal after an unfortunate encounter with a pit bull on the trail. Nancy reversed course. We missed her. But she joined Linda to pick us up at Indian Crossing.

Given the high heat of much of summer I wasn’t sure I would get any backpacking in this year. So this was perfect and a great joy. A happy Labor Day to all!

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