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willclausen
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PostTue Sep 15, 2020 10:22 am 
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Neither of those pictures are larch, though there are lots of western larch in the Wallowas. I don't think they'd be turning quite yet. The first one looks like subalpine fir, and the second looks like white bark pine. They're both yellowing from stress.
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kiliki
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PostTue Sep 15, 2020 11:12 am 
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Oh, geez. Okay. Bummer.
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kiliki
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PostTue Sep 15, 2020 11:42 am 
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We waited out the arctic front that brought snow to the Rockies and was bringing high winds and very cold temps to the Wallowas by staying in Joseph and doing a couple day trips. One was to Hat Point Lookout. I highly recommend this if you are in the area. It's a long (24 miles) unpaved road with some miles of very steep exposed sections, but also some very good long easy sections. The USFS section, inside Hell's Canyon NRA, is quite good, and the section maintained by the county, at the beginning, is rougher. If someone is okay with Harts Pass Rd they will be fine here. The roadbed is better though the narrow exposed sections are longer. It goes through interesting terrain--dry canyons then along a high forested plateau. The lookout is at 7000' and the Snake River is down at 1200', and it's the deepest gorge in North America here.

My mid-day photos aren't great and there was smoke haze. In general the photos I've seen don't do it justice.


On the way back we stopped for lunch and beer at the Imnaha Tavern, which is an institution in the tiny town of Imnaha. I won't lie--the food wasn't good, and did they have to have so many signs and stickers about killing wolves and bears? (There was also some stuff about a snake round up that reminded me of The Simpsons "Whacking Day" episode. They have a bear and snake feed every fall). Much of the shelf space is tourist merchandise so they clearly cater to tourists, but I guess want to remind us what their point of view is. Anyway, it was a good place to have a beer, and the waitress/cook was very friendly and chatty. We learned what "open range" really means (if you hit a cow on the road that escaped their ranch, you have to pay for the removal, butchering, packaging, etc and the rancher gets to keep/eat it). I think it goes without saying that no one was masked here, but clearly, we lived.

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rubywrangler
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PostTue Sep 15, 2020 12:34 pm 
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Wow, two Katmai trips in one year would be amazing! Last year I was surprised at how many people go back every year, given the relative difficulty of getting there. But we both made plans to go back so... I guess once you go, you're hooked smile.gif The McNeil story is hilarious! That place seems so densely packed with bears. Thanks for the thoughts on the camera.
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kiliki
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PostTue Sep 15, 2020 12:54 pm 
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Last ones.

Another day trip, to the eastern Wallowas for a 8 mile day hike to Bonny Lakes. The sign at the beginning of the road said, "Road closed three days before and after Rifle Bull Season." ?? When is rifle bull season? I'd looked at the NF website and it said "road open" so we went for it, and there were other cars at the th, so I guess it wasn't rifle bull season. It was a pleasant hike with different and interesting terrain. Not as highly scenic as other parts of the Wallowas, but nice. There is an upper and a lower lake.


At the th we met a nice family that had backpacked up there, and who were excited that they had seen and heard wolves. !!
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kiliki
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PostTue Sep 15, 2020 12:55 pm 
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rubywrangler wrote:
Wow, two Katmai trips in one year would be amazing! Last year I was surprised at how many people go back every year, given the relative difficulty of getting there. But we both made plans to go back so... I guess once you go, you're hooked smile.gif The McNeil story is hilarious! That place seems so densely packed with bears. Thanks for the thoughts on the camera.

It's a little over the top, but I am hooked indeed. Also enabled by the Bears of Brooks Falls Facebook group. You can plan a solo trip and see who else will be up there, and then have others to walk around with for safety.
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drm
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PostTue Sep 15, 2020 1:59 pm 
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I would assume those islands are just due to slight variations in the depth of the marsh that allows grass to grow during the dry part of summer where it is shallower. I remember a hike I did long ago in southern Louisiana in a marshy area and they had signs measuring the altitude above sea level in inches. Every few inches more/less resulted in a different set of plants thriving. Slight variations can make a difference.
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