We headed on our vacation straight from Portland around 5:30 PM after Auntie Florence's Funeral. The Columbia Gorge was absolutely beautiful and we got to see the colors change as the sun went down. We stayed overnight in a hotel in LaGrande arriving after 10 PM and leaving around 8 AM and heading straight to Wallowa Lake Park.
Taking the tram to the top of Mt. Howard, was a breathtaking adventure. It is 8100 ft. in elevation. We hiked a 2.5 mile loop to take in the panoramics that a picture just doesn't do justice. It was truly majestic up there. They call it the Alps of the Northwest.
We spent a couple nights at the Wallowa Lake Campground. Going on several short hikes and playing at the lake. There was lots to do in the area. Elijah spent one afternoon with Dad driving go-karts. Then we drove around the east side of the scenic byway through parts of Hells Canyon. The last night was spent at a campground near Baker City and boy was it hot! We set up camp in the afternoon in the high 90 degree heat and then had to jump in the lake. Eli went swimming with his life jacket on but, Corinne was not too much into lake swimming this year because she didn't like the rocky shores and didn't want to wear her crocs in the water.
We visited the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City. It's depictions of life on the trail, the hardships, deaths and calculated expenses and risks were very descriptive. The hope of fertile land and a better life for their family often seemed to outweigh the risks and unkowns they would face along the way.
This is the dredge they used to dig for gold. Each of those buckets on the left could hold 1 ton of soil and water. They dredge would dig up the soil and spin out the gold with the use of a high pressure water filtering sytem. They found a total of 9 tons of gold in the Sumpter Valley over a period of years.
This is a view of the Sumpter Valley. Pretty much all of this land was dredged up in their search of gold. Overall, it was worth the trip to see parts of Eastern Oregon we hadn't seen yet.