Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Troop 514: Rock Climbing above Anthony Lake, OR

Troop 514 recently enjoyed its annual rock climbing event.  We leave early Saturday morning and drive to Anthony Lake, a delightful alpine lake less than an hour distance.  We then backpack up to a higher lake where we camp.  The boys day hike and then cook a variety on one pot meals as patrols.  In the morning, under the guidance of experienced climbers, the Scouts enjoy excellent rock climbing and rappelling,  The first time Scouts are usually a bit tentative in their approach to the granite wall, but after they try it once, they are exuberantly head up again, pleased with their new self confidence and sense of adventure.

Anthony lake, Union County

Troop 514, learning to rappel

Troop 514 rock climbing

Troop 514, finding traction

Troop 514, climbing wall above Anthony and Hoffer Lakes

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Regardless of with whom or without whom we journey through life, our thought life is never mindless.

"At no time of day or night are we not thinking about something.  The only real question is, What is it? What do I choose to ruminate about in the interstices of the day, in the dark quiet of the night? Where does my mind go when there is nowhere specific for it to go?

The questions is an important one because its answer defines the kind of person we are choosing to become....The fact is, we become what we think about. What we seed in our souls grows in us, forms us, becomes what drives us from moment to moment.

Prayer intends to steep me in the thoughts of God....If I pray for my enemies, if I pray to a loving God to make me loving too, however many years it takes--it will happen. Then, like a drop of rain in the midst of the sea, I will become part of the heart of the world.  I must pray to become love."

                               Joan Chittister, The Breath of the Soul

Eagle Cap Wilderness

Anthony Lake OR, Union County

Monday, September 22, 2014

Songs of the heart

I fully believe that God's Word is planted in the heart of each of us.  Many, many circumstances prevent His Word from fully blooming in us.  Yet, when we focus, our hearts indeed can sing with His Words of love and grace.

Roger Lake, Eagle Cap Wilderness

Polaris Pass, Eagle Cap Wilderness, Wallowa County

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fall hiking in the Eagle Cap Wilderness: Polaris Pass and the high lakes

Bob Carter, my hiking companion, and I, "needed" a high mountain hike to finish our summer.  And so we left the afternoon of September 7 for the nearby Eagle Cap Wilderness.  We started at the Wallowa Lake trailhead at 4400 feet, making a three day, thirty six mile loop up the East Fork of the Wallowa river and down the West Fork.  In between, we crossed over the 9000 foot Polaris Pass, a formidable shale and scree challenge. Bob and I had crossed over this pass ten years ago, when we were in our early sixties.  Geological time is not as long as it used to be -- I am almost positive that the pass has risen a thousand feet, and getting there is three miles longer!

Memory aside, we did meet all the physical challenges, stretched our legs physically and emotionally, and enjoyed the crisp air and crisp colors of early fall in this outstanding high country.

Approaching Polaris Pass

Frazier Lake OR, Eagle Cap Wilderness

Eagle Cap Wilderness, Glacier Lake OR 

Eagle Cap Wilderness, Glacier Lake

Eagle Cap Wilderness, East Fork Wallowa River

Eagle Cap Wilderness, Frazier Lake OR

Eagle Cap Wilderness, stream coming out of Glacier Lake OR

Eagle Cap Wilderness, trail to Glacier Lake

trail view coming back down from Glacier Lake

Eagle Cap Wilderness, Jewitt Lake

Eagle Cap Wilderness, lupine below Polaris Pass

Polaris Pass looking into the West Fork of the Wallowa River

Bob coming down from Polaris Pass toward the west fork of the Wallowa River

Eagle Cap Wilderness, Roger Lake OR

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Spaciousness: the Eagle Cap Wilderness of Wallowa County

Amidst the vastness of the Eagle Cap Wilderness, a statement from St Augustine considering God resonated with me: "The house of my soul is too small for you to enter; make it more spacious by your coming."  I realized as I lifted my eyes outward and upward into the mountains and lakes how minute and finite my response to God's awesomeness really is. I can witness His stunning Creation, but were I deeply to feel it and truly to appreciate it, I would need a spaciousness and reverence far, far beyond my current capacity.

Frazier Lake OR, Eagle Cap Wilderness

the trail to Glacier Lake OR, Eagle Cap Wilderness

Saturday, September 6, 2014


I am leaving this Sunday afternoon to hike in the nearby Eagle Cap Wilderness with Bob Carter.  The mornings and evenings now have an autumn tingle with lows in the forties. These are the temperatures at 2700 feet; we will be camping at 6700 feet. I find I no longer look forward to the "vigor" of cold mornings.  I would just as soon be instantly comfortable when I wake up.  

Yet I realize that I need this discomfort to keep my mind/body from contracting and getting smaller; to challenge it with what is new.  Similarly, I need the continual stretching that Bible passages and my relationship with God and Christ give me as I interact with others. My life is static and dull without the journey into the ever renewing newness of His mystery and joy.

Third Beach, La Push (click this one to enlarge the text)

Mt Harris, Grande Ronde Valley OR

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The rugged, wild Olympic coast of Washington, from Shi Shi sea stacks to Third Beach waterfall

Several weeks ago, my PCT hiking partner, Bob, and I dropped Troop 514 Boy Scouts at Camp Parsons on the Hood Canal in Washington State. While waiting to take them home a week later, we explored the coast and the rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula.

We have not hiked such a wild coast line before.  We only hiked about twenty five miles  of the available seventy three miles on the beach and forest, but indeed it was far, far different from our usual mountain terrain. We experienced continual rain and fog, with occasional sunshine. Most of the hiking needed to be at low tide, so knowing the tide tables was crucial.  At that, we had to use ropes to pull ourselves up and let ourselves down the steep trails that went up and over the headlands that jutted far enough into the ocean that beach passage, even at low tide, was impossible.

The challenge was stimulating, we enjoyed it, but we also enjoyed changing our camping routine once in a while and drying out in a motel :) The sea stacks, eroded by constant rain and wind, were dramatic from Shi Shi beach in the north at Neah Bay, to Ruby Beach in the south.  La Push, on the Quileute Indian reservation, offered up Third Beach, a delightful place we would like to return to and camp.

The photography was far different from what I was used to.  I kept hoping for spectacular sunsets.  Instead, I changed my vision to see more in black and white and accept the opportunities for simplicity that the fog offered.

Avala Beach. Bob hiking past one of the beach challenges.  Note his umbrella.

Third_Beach, La_Push

Third_Beach, La_Push

Ruby_Beach, Olympic_coast

Bob using rope to descend around a headland

Rialto_Beach, Olympic_Coast

Ruby_beach sea stacks in black and white

Ruby_Beach sea stacks in foggy color

Shi_Shi_beach, Neah_Bay

Shi_Shi_beach, Neah_Bay
Avala_beach, Olympic_coast