Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Early summer in the Eagle Cap Wilderness of Wallowa County

Meg and I enjoyed two exceptional day hikes in the Eagle Cap Wilderness before and after the Fourth. On Thursday, the third, we hiked six miles into McCully basin and back. The hike itself is through rather dry, scraggly forest.  However, after crossing McCully creek at the five and half mile point, the forest deepens and then opens up into an immense basin surrounded by mountains. Filled with buttercups that are the first flowers to appear after the snow melt, this basin spoke of the eternal seasons that once again, for a short time, present this palette of intense green and yellow.

Then on Saturday, we hiked high into the Eagle Cap basin, following the East Fork of the Lostine river. The trail began normally, moving through tall, stately, dense forest. As we climbed higher, we met some snow patches on the trail. Ultimately, for the last mile and half, the trail was all snow, with just a few patches of trail showing.

The trail opens up into one of the prettiest glacial valleys you will find anywhere in the world. Eagle Cap peak dominates the skyline, with boggy meadows of melting snow, filling up with buttercups. We hiked about twelve miles round trip. Yet the mileage and effort was completely dwarfed by the reviving beauty of this valley.

Entering the Eagle Cap basin

Eagle Cap

McCully basin and Aneroid Peak

Meg enjoying the serenity of McCully basin

waterfall before entering the Eagle Cap basin

East Lostine River and Eagle Cap

Meg hiking into Eagle Cap basin. Eagle Cap in background

Meg hiking past Lost Lake

Meg crossing McCully creek

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