June 8, Union OR to Wallowa Lake SP

Today we headed over to Joseph. Our plan for the day was to do as much of the Hells Canyon Loop as we can. We knew part of the road was closed for construction and the detour was closed due to snow, but we knew we could make it to the Hells Canyon overlook. When we stopped to fill up the guy at the gas station got our hopes up when he told us the road was open. We had our doubts but we were going to head that way anyway. The drive up the mountain is on a Forest Service Road which has pavement about one step ahead of gravel.

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As usual the scenary was spectacular and quite different than the terrain we had been driving thru earlier in the week. The Wallowa Mountains get quite a bit more moisture than the Hart and Steens Mountain, and the Owyhee’s so this had a much more of an Alpine feel with evergreens up to the tree line as opposed to the high desert feel of the other mountains. Also, the wildflowers were out which is always a treat for Ton who really loves the mountain wildflowers.

We stopped at the Hells Canyon overlook for lunch and a view of the canyon. Hells Canyon is on the border of Idaho and Oregon. The canyon was carved by the Snake River and is actually deeper than the Grand Canyon. It is not as beautiful because the sides of the gorge are not quite as steep so the views into the Canyon while spectacular do not match up with the Grand Canyon.

After lunch we headed on to the loop, and as we guessed the guy at the gas station was wrong and the road was closed just past the turnoff. We headed back to spend the night at Wallowa Lake State Park near Joseph Oregon. It is a well developed State Park on the lake which is also the grave site of Chief Joseph of the Nez Pierce Tribe.

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ducksksr@gmail.com travelin tiger 2013