Sometimes I believe it’s very important for children to skip school. One can learn to long for an adventurous life by reading about other’s adventurous lives, but isn’t it better to actually teach the importance of adventure by going on adventures? When we heard that there was a sled dog race over in eastern oregon and realized that the bear would need to miss a few days of school for us to see the start, we decided that was totally a justifiable cause for skipping school. And I’ve been dying to get out to see the Wallowa mountains and I was in desperate need of some mountains (which is pretty much my constant state of being). So, Wednesday afternoon after the bear was out of school, we headed over to Joseph Oregon.
Joseph is a wonderfully quaint town that is highly seasonal and that season is summer. But I find quite a bit of fun of going to seasonal towns off season. First of all, way better rates and second less crowds. Which did mean I wasn’t going to be making my way up those gorgeous mountains on this trip, but it’s an excellent time for some recon work of the area to plan for summer summits.
The main event was the dog sled races at noon on Thursday. The start and finish is at the Fergi (Ferguson Ridge) ski area, whichis just about my favorite ski area I believe I have ever laid eyes upon. I’m very used to ski resorts that are well, resorts. Fergi ski area is a fantastic truly local place. Season pass owners have to volunteer 4 days out of the season. A local group of folks who enjoyed skiing would appoint someone “the captain” to locate a good ski spot every Sunday, eventually they settled upon Fergi as a permanent spot and constructed a home made rope tow. They purchased a T bar in the 70s and finally put it up on the Ferguson Ridge in 1985. 1983-84 was the first ski season on Ferguson Ridge although the t bar didn’t go in until 1985. The take cash only, no credit, no checks. You can read the full history here and I highly suggest if you can, you should at least take a visit up to check out Fergi. Lift tickets are only $20! Ferguson Ridge Ski Area Webpage.
We also made it up to Salt Creek Summit Sno Park. We did not, however, make it to snowshoeing that day. You’re pretty much in the wilderness there and snow can mask a lot. We decided to check out the trails in the summer so we felt more confident taking Indie on them next winter. Had it just been Eric and I, we likely would have been a bit more adventurous. However, the views were beautiful and Indie had a fun time playing in the snow.
We stayed at the Eagle Cap Chalets by Lake Wallowa. I was highly anticipating those mountains in the morning since we arrived around 10pm. At first I was extremely sad to see fog, but then it was awesome to see those lovely giants peaking out here and there from the fog. The second day we were given the treat of a beautiful sunny perfect day. I couldn’t have been happier to experience those mountains in both atmospheres. Each brought their own magic to the experience.