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Beautiful Scenery Near Joseph, Oregon

Posted by on Sep 11, 2016 in | 0 comments

On the road to Zumwalt Prairie

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Coming Full Circle: Joseph, Oregon

Coming Full Circle: Joseph, Oregon

Posted by on Sep 11, 2016 in Gallery, Oregon, Travel | 22 comments

When people find out that we’ve been traveling fulltime for three years, they often remark that we must have been everywhere and seen everything by now. We naively assumed the same when we embarked on this journey. But what we didn’t anticipate is that our travel bucket list is getting longer instead of shorter (this seems to be the lament of most full timers we’ve met). It doesn’t help that we’re not really crossing much off our list—many of the places we visit go right back onto our “must return to” list.

Thus, in early June, we once again found ourselves in Joseph, Oregon—the first destination on our list when we began our journey three years ago.

Joseph is an easy town to fall in love with. Cozy and welcoming—with only 1,000 residents—the town is postcard-perfect, but refreshingly lacking in pretense. Nestled against the snow-capped Wallowa Mountains, there’s a pretty main street brimming with flowers and interesting shops; the street corners are anchored by magnificent bronze sculptures, all created by local artists.

The most striking bronze—and the most prominent—is that of Chief Joseph, the esteemed Nez Perce leader who fought, first diplomatically, and then in battle, for the right of his people to remain in their ancestral lands.

The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it. ~Chief Joseph

Long before white settlers arrived, this rugged place of high mountains, deep canyons, and cascading rivers was the homeland of the Nez Perce. A peaceful nation, the Nez Perce cultivated good relations with white settlers—until gold was discovered nearby, and they were forced out of the valley they called “The Land of Winding Waters.”

The legacy of the Nez Perce is woven deeply into the fabric of Joseph. The town, once called Silver Lake, renamed itself Joseph in 1880 (in honor of Old Chief Joseph, the father of young Chief Joseph). Just outside of town, Chief Joseph the elder is buried, forever overlooking his beloved Wallowa Lake.

Adjacent to his gravesite is the Iwetemlaykin Heritage Site. It was here the Nez Perce began the sorrowful journey that took them from their homeland. It is a beautiful place; rolling green hills dotted with wildflowers and a small pond lie beneath the grand presence of the Wallowa Mountains. This is sacred land to the Nez Perce, and it is a gift to be able to walk the trails.

We spent our week in Joseph hiking, biking, and exploring the town. The  Eagle Cap wilderness is nearby—this is truly wild country, best seen on backpacking trips. But a few trails allow access into the wilderness for reasonably easy hiking adventures. We hiked both the Chief Joseph trail just outside of Wallowa State Park, and the Hurricane Creek trail, just a few miles from town. For a different type of adventure, we “rode the rails” on a unique bicycle-built-for-two contraption with the Joseph Branch Rail Riders, pedaling 12-miles of repurposed train tracks through undulating farmland, from Joseph to Enterprise and back.

We planned our visit to Joseph to coincide with the peak wildflower bloom along the Hells Canyon Byway. It’s a long, slow, dusty 40-mile drive (three-quarters on a rough gravel road) to the Buckhorn Lookout, but absolutely worth it. The road passes through the Zumwalt Prairie, Oregon’s largest native wild grassland. The wildflower bloom in the grasslands and at the canyon overlook was just as spectacular as we remembered.

I wish I could say that we could now cross Joseph off our list. But we can’t. There’s more we want to explore in the area—rafting the scenic Grande Ronde River is at the top of the list. I think we need another lifetime to fit everything in.

About the RV Park:

We spent six nights in Joseph, and just like last time, stayed in town at tiny Five Peaks RV Park. It’s the perfect location for walking and biking into the pretty little town and just a few miles from trails heading into the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Full hookups, excellent WiFi, friendly owners, and a cozy, peaceful vibe (no showers, bathrooms, or laundry).

Next Up: Family Fun In Pullman, WA

Coming Full Circle: Joseph, OR

Cowboy Bronze In Downtown Joseph

Honoring Chief Joseph

A Nez Perce Warrior

Chief Joseph Trail In Wallowa State Park

A Rocky But Beautiful Trail

Nope, Not Crossing That Bridge

Riding The Rails In Joseph

Miles Of Repurposed Train Tracks

Bucolic Scenery Along The Railway

Watching The Rail Riders

A Bobolink

Hiking The Hurricane Creek Trail

Practicing Balance Beam Skills

Up Close With The Wildflowers

Lovely Little Calypso Orchid

Hiking Along The Ridge

Hurricane Creek

Trails At Iwetemlaykin Heritage Site

Nez Perce Historical Site

Chief Joseph's Gravesite

Downtown Joseph

Historic Buildings In Downtown Joseph

Bronze Warrior In Front Of The Post Office

Waiting For His Coffee

Delicious Mochas At Arrowhead Coffee

Folk Art Chickens Waiting To Cross The Road

Terminal Gravity Brew Pub

IPA, Please

Buckhorn Lookout Station

Vivid Blue Penstemon

Hells Canyon In The Distance

Looking Toward Hells Canyon

On The Road Back To Joseph

Field Of Lupine

Cozy Site At Five Peaks RV Park

Coming Full Circle: Joseph, OR
Cowboy Bronze In Downtown Joseph
Honoring Chief Joseph
A Nez Perce Warrior
Chief Joseph Trail In Wallowa State Park
A Rocky But Beautiful Trail
Nope, Not Crossing That Bridge
Riding The Rails In Joseph
Miles Of Repurposed Train Tracks
Bucolic Scenery Along The Railway
Watching The Rail Riders
A Bobolink
Hiking The Hurricane Creek Trail
Practicing Balance Beam Skills
Up Close With The Wildflowers
Lovely Little Calypso Orchid
Hiking Along The Ridge
Hurricane Creek
Trails At Iwetemlaykin Heritage Site
Nez Perce Historical Site
Chief Joseph's Gravesite
Downtown Joseph
Historic Buildings In Downtown Joseph
Bronze Warrior In Front Of The Post Office
Waiting For His Coffee
Delicious Mochas At Arrowhead Coffee
Folk Art Chickens Waiting To Cross The Road
Terminal Gravity Brew Pub
IPA, Please
Buckhorn Lookout Station
Vivid Blue Penstemon
Hells Canyon In The Distance
Looking Toward Hells Canyon
On The Road Back To Joseph
Field Of Lupine
Cozy Site At Five Peaks RV Park
Coming Full Circle: Joseph, OR thumbnail
Cowboy Bronze In Downtown Joseph thumbnail
Honoring Chief Joseph thumbnail
A Nez Perce Warrior thumbnail
Chief Joseph Trail In Wallowa State Park thumbnail
A Rocky But Beautiful Trail thumbnail
Nope, Not Crossing That Bridge thumbnail
Riding The Rails In Joseph thumbnail
Miles Of Repurposed Train Tracks thumbnail
Bucolic Scenery Along The Railway thumbnail
Watching The Rail Riders thumbnail
A Bobolink thumbnail
Hiking The Hurricane Creek Trail thumbnail
Practicing Balance Beam Skills thumbnail
Up Close With The Wildflowers thumbnail
Lovely Little Calypso Orchid thumbnail
Hiking Along The Ridge thumbnail
Hurricane Creek thumbnail
Trails At Iwetemlaykin Heritage Site thumbnail
Nez Perce Historical Site thumbnail
Chief Joseph's Gravesite thumbnail
Downtown Joseph thumbnail
Historic Buildings In Downtown Joseph thumbnail
Bronze Warrior In Front Of The Post Office thumbnail
Waiting For His Coffee thumbnail
Delicious Mochas At Arrowhead Coffee thumbnail
Folk Art Chickens Waiting To Cross The Road thumbnail
Terminal Gravity Brew Pub thumbnail
IPA, Please thumbnail
Buckhorn Lookout Station thumbnail
Vivid Blue Penstemon thumbnail
Hells Canyon In The Distance thumbnail
Looking Toward Hells Canyon thumbnail
On The Road Back To Joseph thumbnail
Field Of Lupine thumbnail
Cozy Site At Five Peaks RV Park thumbnail

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Recovering In Joseph, Oregon

Recovering In Joseph, Oregon

Posted by on Jun 24, 2013 in Gallery, Oregon, Travel | 8 comments

 The main street in the tiny town of Joseph leads directly into the vast wilderness of the Wallowa Mountains. Tucked into the far northeastern corner of Oregon, Joseph is in the middle of high desert-mountains-nowhere. It was the perfect place to spend a week, allowing us the time and space to recover from the intensity of the past two months as we prepared for full-timing.

With a population of just over 1,000 people, it’s amazing that Joseph maintains such a vibrant, beautiful downtown. Interesting galleries, fabulous bigger-than-life bronze sculptures on every street corner, a microbrewery, a fine little Saturday farmer’s market, a couple of great coffee shops and cafés, and the best chocolate shop we’ve encountered anywhere (which attracts a diverse crowd of locals, hunters, and Buddhist nuns). All this, plus gorgeous hikes just a few miles from town.

Having heard not-so-great reviews of the state park campground (it’s true, they were packed in like sardines) we made reservations at Five Peaks RV Park, a pretty little in-town park with only five sites. It was the perfect choice—spacious, quiet, and convenient—and the owners even provided us with fresh eggs from their backyard chickens. We walked or biked every day from the park and could cruise the entire downtown and back in about 45 minutes. In mid-June, Joseph can conjure up a snowstorm, but we lucked out with a heat wave—75-degree days and brilliant sunshine (except for the last day, when it rained for 30 hours straight).

Tourist season doesn’t happen in Joseph until July and August, so we basically had the town to ourselves—along with our friends Peter and Rosie, who happened to be camping just outside of town for a couple of days. We hiked beautiful trails in the Eagle Cap Wilderness and on the moraine above the lake, bought asparagus and raspberries at the farmer’s market, wandered the town and galleries, and made a daily visit to Arrowhead Chocolates (to support the local economy, of course).

One morning, we hiked a beautiful trail to visit the gravesite of Chief Joseph the Elder (the father of the famed Chief Joseph for whom the town is named). The younger Chief Joseph was renowned as a skilled warrior and peacemaker; despite his efforts, the Nez Perce were driven from their homeland of the Wallowas, the place they called the Land of Winding Waters. A large bronze sculpture of Chief Joseph stands in the middle of town, with his words engraved on a plaque below: “The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it.”

Downtown Joseph

Chief Joseph Bronze

Cowboy Bronze

In Town Campsite

Tiny Farmer's Market

Arrowhead Chocolate Shop

Smoked Caramels Yum!

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Gallery Of Bronze Work

Chief Joseph Trail

Peter & Rosie

Crossing The Creek

Hiking The Moraine

Black Billed Magpie

Walking On Sacred Land

Chief Joseph's Resting Place

Downtown Joseph
Chief Joseph Bronze
Cowboy Bronze
In Town Campsite
Tiny Farmer's Market
Arrowhead Chocolate Shop
Smoked Caramels Yum!
Mexican Hot Chocolate
Gallery Of Bronze Work
Chief Joseph Trail
Peter & Rosie
Crossing The Creek
Hiking The Moraine
Black Billed Magpie
Walking On Sacred Land
Chief Joseph's Resting Place
Downtown Joseph  thumbnail
Chief Joseph Bronze thumbnail
Cowboy Bronze  thumbnail
In Town Campsite  thumbnail
Tiny Farmer's Market  thumbnail
Arrowhead Chocolate Shop  thumbnail
Smoked Caramels Yum!  thumbnail
Mexican Hot Chocolate thumbnail
Gallery Of Bronze Work  thumbnail
Chief Joseph Trail  thumbnail
Peter & Rosie  thumbnail
Crossing The Creek thumbnail
Hiking The Moraine  thumbnail
Black Billed Magpie thumbnail
Walking On Sacred Land  thumbnail
Chief Joseph's Resting Place  thumbnail

 

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Wishing You The Blessings Of The Season

Wishing You The Blessings Of The Season

Posted by on Dec 24, 2017 in Gallery | 46 comments

Although our blog is still lingering on Vancouver Island, we’re pausing for a moment in the present to wish you a joyous holiday season.

The past few weeks we’ve traveled from the Pacific Northwest, down the coast of California, to our current location of West Texas. One of the fun things about traveling at this time of year is seeing the different holiday celebrations and decorations along the way. In the spirit of the season, we’ve put together a little holiday postcard for you. We hope you enjoy it!

The elves are busily at work in Port Townsend, Washington

Holiday lights in our hometown of Ashland, Oregon

John Steinbeck and other former residents on the waterfront in Monterey, California

A chihuahua princess holiday ornament in Carmel, California

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and Santa’s House in San Luis Obispo, California

The Hearst Castle decked out for Christmas in San Simeon, California

Madonna and child, Hearst Castle collection of art

Holiday table setting in the Hearst Castle dining room

A modern icon of Joseph and Mary at the Ojai Art Center in Ojai, California

Christmas decorations at Liberty Station in San Diego, California

Holiday decorations in historic downtown Yuma, Arizona

A bright Northern Cardinal greets us in Catalina State Park, Tucson, Arizona

A tumbleweed snowman, Arizona style, at Tohono Chul Botanical Garden in Tucson

Holiday decorations at the Amerind Museum in Dragoon, Arizona

Christmas at Faraway Ranch in Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona

Holiday dining at the Faraway Ranch (too bad the food was plastic)

Walking the labyrinth on Solstice Eve at Rockhound State Park in Deming, New Mexico

An antelope pictograph (let’s pretend it’s a reindeer!) at Hueco Tanks State Park, El Paso, Texas

Solstice sunset at Hueco Tanks State Park, near El Paso, Texas

Happy Holidays in Marfa, Texas

El Paisano Hotel decorated for Christmas in Marfa, Texas

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It Was A Very Good Year (And A Map!)

It Was A Very Good Year (And A Map!)

Posted by on Jan 16, 2017 in Gallery, Maps | 28 comments

It truly was a very good year. Despite the shock of Eric’s unexpected surgery at the beginning of December, we enjoyed another magnificent year of traveling, filled with soul-nourishing adventures.

Our wings are clipped for several months. But one of the benefits of sitting still is that I have the time now to take care of things that have long been on my to-do list—things like creating maps of our travels.

So, ta da! Here it is, a map of our 2016 adventures, beginning with our winter in Florida and ending in our hometown of Ashland, Oregon. You can enlarge the map, click on any of the icons, and access information about where we stayed. Clicking on “more details” will take you to related blog posts. (Almost all of the locations have an associated blog post; there are a few at the end of our summer that don’t yet have posts. That’s also on my to-do list, haha.)

 

 

We made a conscious effort to slow down our travels this year. It worked out well—although we didn’t anticipate just how slowed down our travels would become at the end of the year.

We stayed most places 3-7 nights, with just a few one-night stands; at the opposite extreme, we spent two-and-a-half months on Lopez Island for our summer hosting gig, and three months at the end of the year in our hometown of Ashland (that wasn’t planned, but it’s a good place to be). Our travel distances were split pretty equally, with one-third under 100 miles, one-third under 150 miles, and one-third at close to 200 miles.

A few statistics:

Total mileage for the year: 6790 (towing)

Number of places stayed: 52 (some more than once)

Shortest travel day: 20 miles (from Mt. Vernon,WA to Lopez Island)

Longest travel day: 238 miles (from Boise, ID to Joseph, OR)

Next Up: The Best Of 2016

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