Thursday, November 19, 2020

Winter in Wallowa County

 I love photographing winter, but we haven't really had any yet where I live.  The neighboring county of Wallowa, however, had some serious snow a couple of weeks ago.  (Only recently, high winds and rain took most of the snow.)  

Beginning the descent into the Minam/Wallowa Canyon for 20 miles. 
From the Middle Valley of the Wallowa, impressive cloud formations are visible over the Wallowas.
This is a two-part photo:  When I photographed this, I wanted to capture the snow blowing at the top. 
A telephoto lens captures that blowing snow. 
This is a different view of the Wallowa Mountains, so impressive when it snows. 
The "foot" of Wallowa Lake 
This view is from the foot of the lake looking to the west. 
The drive to the head of the lake took us through dreamy areas of snow blowing from trees. 
One of the picnic areas of Wallowa Lake State Park, located at the south end of Wallowa Lake. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Fall in the Columbia Gorge

Fall came and went very quickly in this corner of Oregon.  Just when the trees were developing color, the cold nights arrived and bi-colored leaves froze on the trees.  The fall color was gone.   Not so in the western part of the state and in the Columbia Gorge.  

The sun was to our backs as we headed west and into the Columbia River Gorge.

Generally, Mount Hood would be visible in the distance at this point, but heavy clouds hung low. 

Across the Columbia River on the Washington side, brilliant rust-colored shrubbery dotted the bare landscape.   The geology of the gorge is evident. 

The rain began near the west end of the Gorge and continued on west to Hillsboro. This is Highway 26.

Four days later, the rain had stopped, so colorful fall foliage was on display at Multnomah Falls. Scars from the Eagle Creek Fire are still evident. 

The Historic Columbia River Highway can be accessed  at Mosier, providing a beautiful drive over the mountain to The Dalles.  The curves are frequent and the original guard rails are striking against the fall colors. 

Orchards are plentiful in the Gorge and above it, and this pear orchard is one.

In spring and summer, the grass and shrubbery are a beautiful green. 

Instead of showing the Rowena Crest "loop" view, I chose this view of the road leading down from Rowena Crest towards The Dalles.  

Friday, October 23, 2020

Fall Came Quickly; Winter is on the Way

 We had summer right until last week, and today we got a big hint of winter.  These photos are from a 20 mile drive into the Blue Mountains...from 2700 feet elevation to 5100 feet at the summit.  Poplars, aspens and the indomitable Western Larch aka Tamarack are bright yellow.  The Mountain Ash berries are a brilliant red. Throughout the "tour," the skiff of snow is a reminder of what could be the near future. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

More Landscapes in NE Oregon

 I didn't realize it had been so long between posts, but I've been "landscaping" again.  This time, I've photographed some areas in the county where I grew up.  It adjoins the county where I have lived for 45 years---and I have no idea where those years have gone!

Wallowa County has been known as "The Little Switzerland of America," although I haven't heard that term in a long while.  The high Wallowa Mountains, also known as the Eagle Caps, are impressive any time of year.  After the first snow, however, they get special recognition.  

Diamond Prairie near Wallowa, looking toward Bear Creek
Bear Creek canyon, which leads into the Wallowa Mountains
Bear Creek near the "end of the road"...a dirt road goes a bit farther and then it's trail. 
The Lostine Canyon, another entrance to the high mountains of the Wallowas. The Lostine River flows down this canyon, and just might be the most beautiful wild river, accessible in many places. 
Alder Slope between Enterprise and the Wallowa Mountains.  
Pasture land between Enterprise and Joseph, with the background of the Wallowa Mountains. 
Wallowa Lake , shaped by a glacier, which formed the perfect moraine on the east side (not pictured here).  Wallowa Lake State Park is located at the foot of the mountains in this scene. 
Zooming in on mountains bordering the lake. 

Monday, August 24, 2020

Journey to the Top of the World

 It was a trip we've made several times over the years, but not least, not during the dry season.  This trip is the one across Mt. Emily, one of the three familiar named mountains above the Grande Ronde Valley.  Mt. Emily is the second tallest at 6109 feet in elevation.  So...we start at 2785 feet in town, drive north to south across the Mt. Emily range of the Blue Mountains and down the south side into La Grande, where the elevation is 2785 feet.  In between is Indian Rock, probably the most appealing location of the trip, at 5650 feet.  

The drive starts on state highway 204 with a turnoff near the summit; this is the first view of the Grande Ronde Valley from the mountains. That is Mt. Harris in the back center; it's on the east side of the valley. 
Once you get out of the forested north side of Emily, it's a matter of looking down, a lot!
Another view of Mt. Harris and part of the valley over the forested flanks of Mt. Emily. 
This is one of two amazing dead trees ; I've photographed them in winter when they are so impressive. 

Behind the trees is Indian Rock, a geological formation that I really don't understand!  It looks like lava to me!  
Across the valley and beyond are the beautiful Eagle Caps of the Wallowa Mountains. 
This is one of those times when the feeling is really that you are at the top of the world.  At the top of Mt. Emily, at least, although this point is about 450 feet lower than the top. 
This is part of the geological landscape at Indian Rock. 

This is where my stomach gets just a bit quivery!  

My husband puts some perspective in the overlook at Indian Rock. 

This time of year, the fireweed is blooming everywhere.  
I'm still surprised at how much Indian Paintbrush is still blooming.  I always thought it was an early summer flower. 
Those little purple "asters" are thick in the shade of these trees. 

The trip down to the valley floor is much steeper than the one going up!  This is called Fox Hill, and I really don't like it.  (There is another road farther west that opens onto I84 at a higher elevation.)

This is the section of Fox Hill that makes me nervous.   I-84 is at the base of that dry hill, and La Grande is to the east (left in the photo).