Eagle Cap, Oregon


A backpack trip and climb in Oregon's Wallowa Mountains, the hike offered lots of solitude and the climb of Eagle Cap was an adventure with a view.

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Every year on their anniversary, John takes Julie somewhere special.

Each year, it's somewhere slightly more challenging. He says he's going to have to work harder at this: She keeps making it back alive.

This year we chose to explore the Wallowas. After a long drive, we headed up the trail. With lots of snow still in the high country, the many waterfalls were at full bloom.

Julie makes this picture seem worthy of a cover for Backpacker Magazine.

This trail is quite popular with horsepackers, but the snowbanks in the canyon below us prevented any horses from coming up here. The snow bridges over some of the creeks were very thin, and often partially open: they almost prevented us from making it.

We were the only humans in the valley, so the wildlife was close to the trail. It was hard to get Julie to put down the binoculars long enough to get to a campsite.

After we set up camp, we did some exploring. Looking to the west from a nearby pass, the Wallowas offer lots of terrain to explore.

The next day dawned cloudy and humid. Our goal for the day was Eagle Cap, the high point in this picture taken from a pass requiring several hours of climbing. The weather didn't look too promising, but neither did it look dangerous.

From up high, we got a great view of the long, flat glaciated valleys radiating in all directions. These valleys should offer many miles of easy hiking, creating great loops with a little bit of shuttling at their ends.
John found some climber's trails to traverse the long ridge and we made it to the summit. The summit was a big flat area with fine granite gravel. There were excellent views in all directions.

Among the popular areas in the Wallowas, this lake-filled basin is the most popular. After examining the map, we saw the possibility, in better conditions, of extending our trip through these basins and down another drainage to get back to our car. All told, about 40 miles.

We'll be back.

That afternoon the threatening weather quit threatening and got on with some serious storming. The next day dawned clear and bright, allowing us to hike the whole 11 miles back to the car with big smiles.

Mr. Natural Home | 2002 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski