Friday, October 08, 2021

Eastern Oregon Part III

Hidden away in the far Northeast corner of Oregon is the town of Joseph, a small
town at the base of the Wallowa Mountains.  Sometimes called the "Little Switzerland of America", Joseph sits on beautiful Lake Wallowa under snow-covered peaks of over 9000'.  It's not an easy place to get to - only two roads lead to Joseph, and both end in town.  And one, highway 3 to the north, involves a white-knuckled switchback drive that starts at 4000', drops to 1200', and climbs back to 4200', all within 16 miles.

We took the easier route, highway 82 from Le Grande, and stayed at a neat little RV park right in the heart of town.  With only 11 sites and a gracious owner, Five Peaks RV Park featured large, fenced sites with patio umbrellas and a "misting" system.  Best of all it was only a short walk to a great Mexican restaurant that had ice-cold Dos Equis Amber on tap.  Perfect!

The town of Joseph is picture-perfect.  Shops, restaurants and museums are all beautifully maintained, and trees, sculptures and murals complete the main street views.  And always, the mountains in the distance.   


Driving around the area, we came across farms with breathtaking scenery.  How they can get anything done with the views surrounding them is hard to imagine :

There's so much to do and see in this area.  Eagle Cap Wilderness, with over 350,000 acres of high mountain meadows and lakes and 535 miles of trails.  Even larger, the Hells Canyon Recreation Area, at over 650,000 acres includes scenic overlooks, the Snake River, and the deepest gorge in North America.  

We took a drive into the Eastern Wallowas and stopped at the Hells Canyon overlook.  From up high, we couldn't see the river itself, but the view was still impressive:

On another day, we drove east to the Imnaha River gorge.  The road wound its way along a creek, getting deeper into the gorge with the hills rising higher and higher around us.  It was a beautiful drive:

Finally we arrived in the little town of Imnaha.  It's hard to believe anyone lives here - so far from any shopping or medical facilities.  The centerpiece of the town seemed to be the little post office:

While it was in the 90s in Joseph, it was just a bit toastier along the Imnaha River where it was over 2000 feet lower:

After visiting Joseph, we headed north to visit friends in Idaho and then on to Missoula.  C'mon back and see what we've been doing!