Monday, July 27, 2009

The Wallowa Diaries

We are home safe and sound from Wallowa Lake, unpacked and easing back into reality. I thought I would share a few highlights from our trip ...
I typed this on our laptop during our return trip. Just needed to include photos when we got home ... we took 500 photos between our two cameras! Yikes!

Saturday –“We’re Off!”
We left Lewis and Clark State Park at 6:30am for the traditional start of our caravan to Wallowa Lake. We arrived at the registration booth at 2:30 and had our home-away-from-home campsite set up by early evening.
For several of us, we were setting up in new sites in the D Loop. We loved the layout of our new site, and with our group forming a circle we had a nice grassy area in the center for the kids to play in. I’m sure these will now be our favorite sites in Loop D.
Since we didn’t have much of an appetite after setting up, we had Mt. Huckleberry ice cream for dinner. What a great way to start our vacation! By the end of the week ... we really don't care if we have ice cream again for a LONG time!
We ended our evening with a great fireside conversation about our Adams High School years that Brian said resembled the movie, “Dazed and Confused.” Well, it was the late sixties - early seventies AND it was quite a unique school : ) It was nice to enjoy a good laugh and unwind from our travels.

Sunday –“Floatie Fun”
After a leisurely morning routine we spent most of the afternoon down at the Marina cruising the lake on our floaties. Our special treat was having Tim join us after dinner. He stayed until Thursday afternoon.

Monday – “Fun Galore at the Shore”
We spent the morning in town to pick up our rodeo tickets, shopped a few of the stores and enjoyed a special treat at Mad Mary’s Soda Shoppe. A new lake activity included the game – Ladderball. We had fun playing some very competitive rounds … guys against the girls. We enjoyed a very “gourmet” steak dinner with some tasty additions prepared by Tim. He has become quite the chef. Must be all those Food Network programs : ) Following dinner Brian and Tim joined us for a trip to Joseph for a visit to the Ember Brew House. We love the ambiance at night.

Tuesday – “iHike"
Our activity for the day included a quick day hike from the trailhead to the bridge on the Mt. Joseph trail. We had quite a large group for this very entry-level trail. After the first lookout we left in two separate groups. Several went left; the others went right. Those on the left were heading to Ice Lake (the wrong direction) We sent our Tim to jog back to find the group and we were now separated into three groups. In the meantime Calleigh fell asleep in my arms. We decided to have our Tim jog back to find the other group. He did not return but the “other” Tim finally found us and led us to the correct trail … but we still couldn’t find our Tim. I decided to sit with our little sleeping beauty at the intersection of the two trails and finally saw Tim running down the trail. How could such a simple hike turn into such a complicated event?!?!?!

We decided to reward our persistence with an ice cream cone from the Matterhorn. Nothing soothes away frustration like a waffle cone filled with Tillamook ice cream.
Another way to cool off was an afternoon down at the lake. … so cool and refreshing … and a little floatie time plus a few competitive card and board games. Many days during our week long stay we enjoyed the marina activities so much that we stayed until near dusk.

Wednesday –“Let’er Buck”
Our day included several rounds of “I’ve Got It,” and “Left, Right, Center” which were both new games to our full table of players. Several fit in a lake visit, some read, others napped while waiting for the evening event … the Chief Joseph Rodeo. This year we dressed in full cowboy regalia and the Mooneys were voted, “best dressed.”
As usual, we dined at the Ember’s Brew House before heading over to the Harley Tucker stadium for several hours of thrills and spills. The big let down was the elimination of Barrel Racing (my favorite) due to the slippery surface ... disappointing.

Thursday –“Surprise!”
What an awesome surprise party Michelle and Jenn put together for my birthday … a day early so that Tim could participate before heading back home. I was totally surprised! The girls planned an ice cream bar down at the day picnic area -- colorful custom-made garland hung from trees, there were goody bags for the children, and a special sundae dish for the “birthday girl.” With a July birthday it is usually hard to put together a surprise party – so many people on vacation or busy with summer activities. Michelle and Jenn are amazing party planners. If you ever need to add a creative touch to your next party, you need to talk to these gals! They are a great team.
Following our refreshing dessert we grabbed our floaties and headed out to the lake. Nothing compares to this relaxing activity … in fact, Calleigh fell asleep on my lap while the gentle waves rocked her to sleep as we floated near shore.

Friday –“Happy Birthday”
My celebration destination choice was a family lunch at Terminal Gravity Brewery in Enterprise. The Schleining family ate there last year and it was highly recommended. And they were right … we were not disappointed. I think it has the best food in the Wallowa area. I ordered the Aloha Chicken sandwich on homemade Ciabatta bread … delish! Next year we’ll go back for dinner since that is when they serve their wonderful pasta dishes. If you’re ever in this part of Oregon, plan to enjoy a meal here.
No Wallowa birthday would be complete without a little afternoon lake time. What a great cool down on an extremely hot day.
To round out our day’s activities we enjoyed the evening around the campfire with the girls … chatting, roasting marshmallows and baking potatoes over the fire …a great midnight snack before heading to bed. I can’t remember a better birthday celebration!

Saturday –“Pack It Up”
We woke up in the predawn hours to a busy campground – tents coming down, blaring rap music floating from a truck cab, several car alarms going off. Oh, yah … it’s rodeo weekend in Wallowa! This was the first year our pack up went smoothly and quickly.
We were able to take photos of each departing family. Keep watch for the official photoshopped edition … coming soon. Yes, I wore my official “going home” shirt. Explanation: After looking through years of Wallowa photos I noticed that I consistently wear this orange shirt in all of our group photos and is a must for heading home.

We enjoyed our last ice cream cone of the Wallowa year, headed down to the marina for a last hour of enjoying the lake, picking up last minute treats and souvenirs in Joseph and then hitting the road for a long 6.5 hour ride home.
The closer we approach home the more anxious I am for the feel of carpet between my toes, the fresh sheets on my comfortable bed and reaching in a refrigerator for food instead of picking up bobbing bottles in the cooler. As much as we love the Wallowas and the sadness we feel each year we leave the lake, we find ourselves thinking, “There’s no place like home.”
As we continue on I-84, we are already planning for next year … the 30th anniversary of our first family vacation to this beautiful part of NE Oregon. We have been reminiscing about all the great memories during those years … those who have been a part of our Wallowa history and the “legends” that are being passed down from one generation to another. No matter what other vacation destinations we have enjoyed … none compare to the beauty, friends and family, and the fun of Wallowa Lake.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice summary of your week. I definitely think the theme was ice cream!! Hope you stayed healthy through all of that. :)