Saturday, July 9, 2011


Anniversary picture with Wallowas in background.  
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            Today Rick and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary in the most normal of ways:  we took a hike!  After a thunderstorm aborted hike on Thursday and with today’s forecast perfect weather, we decided to try again.  Thursday we went up to Anthony Lakes with the hope of a climb of Lakes Lookout, but heavy snow and a rumbling roll of thunder as we approached the top of the ski lift ridge sent us scampering back down in haste to beat the rainfall. 
            So…today the skies were clear and the forecast warm but not hot.  Perfect.  But since we forgot to waterproof our boots (we were going to take the snowshoes with us for a second try), we decided to change directions and headed instead for Dooley Summit and Bald Mountain.  In fact, the day ended up warmer than I had planned!  I wore shorts on Thursday in the snow, and today donned long pants and was hot the whole time!  Go figure! 
We got started hiking early, leaving the car at the summit around 8:30 am.  I quickly told Rick I thought the summit of Bald Mt. was doable in the time frame we had (Bountiful Baskets calling later in the afternoon!).  We set a steady pace up the steep uphill grade on the Skyline Road, passing lush forests of thick green grass and frequent patches of balsam root and red paintbrush.  Lupine in bloom all along the road as well. Early on we saw a deer above us on the ridge.  Butterflies in shades of blue, orange, and white fluttered in the road and from flower to flower.  We identified today the following wildflowers:  paintbrush, penstemons, harebells, mountain bluebells, larkspur, fleabane, white Jacob’s ladder, oxeye daisy, stonecrop, forget-me-knots (whole fields of them!), and various yellow daisy like flowers. 
Our friendly cattle friends
            Only one patch of snow still remained in a sheltered  portion of the road.  Over halfway up the road, we became cattle herders as first two, then five, then ten, then a couple dozen cattle came out of the forest and milled around us and were herded by us up the road.  One mama gave us a rather stern look, and most of them were mooing up a storm.  I was rather glad when the last of them went left when the road went right and we got past them.  I felt rather exposed and vulnerable a few times.  The good part of the cows was the overwhelming odor of sage that was released when they stomped through the underbrush. 
We went to the top of the right hand "peak".  
            Once we reached the cattle crossing near the summit of Bald Mt., Rick said he would be willing to tackle EITHER route.  I figured he meant one gradual road or the steeper alternative, but he suggest the “either” was to hike to the top of the rocky outcropping that lies just to the east of the Bald Mt. peak.  It wasn’t quite as high, but the coloring looked interesting and we hadn’t been to the top of that particular peak before, while we have been to the top of Bald Mt.  So….back across the cattle guard and time to bushwack up the rocky slope to the lichen covered summit.  Both sides of this outcropping were sage covered, but when we actually walked through it, what treasures were to be found in between and beneath the sage!  Flowers, flowers everywhere!  Mostly paintbrush and lupine, but it was gorgeous! 
The lichen covered rocks. 
            Two hours and four plus miles from departure at the car, we reached the summit of the rocky knoll on the eastern flank of Bald Mt. Ah the vistas from up on top!  South to Strawberry Mountain and all the Burnt River drainage, north to Bowen Valley, Baker Valley and Baker City, the Wallowas, and in the far distance – Mt. Emily and Mt. Harris up near La Grande.  Bald Mt. itself blocked our view of the Elkhorn Mountains.  The entire rock peak was covered in most orange lichens, with some black and yellow colors as well.  A variety of succulent flowers growing in the cracks of the stones.  We gazed through the binoculars, took pictures, and toasted Summer Curry as we ate the Snickers she gave Rick for his birthday!     
            Shortly after 11am, we headed off the peak, continuing east down the opposite side and through a long ridge of sage, again covered with an array of wildflowers.  I picked a few flowers and stuck them in the back of my hat!  We returned to the car at 12:30, the last mile seeming a little longer and hotter than the first!  A wonderful hike together, and I felt great to be able to match Rick step by step up the uphill portions! 
            Back at the house to clean up and then continue our anniversary celebration!  I donned my wedding dress because it fits again and is fun to wear!  Unfortunately, I think I have shrunk in the past 28 years because it is about 1-2 inches too long, even with my high shoes on!!!  But Rick put on white shirt and black coat and we took some pictures out in the yard.  Might even wear the dress again tomorrow at church – it will give people something to talk about! 
I don't think we have aged a bit! 
            After our fashion show, I headed over to work the Bountiful Baskets at Brooklyn School.  Had to call Rick minutes later because we were short handed.  So both of us worked until 5pm unloading the truck, dividing up the produce, and then passing it out to the nearly 100 people who signed up to participate today.  I was in charge of bananas today and it WAS NOT AN EASY JOB!  They kept falling off the bunch and wouldn’t divide right! 
            Dinner was a huge fruit salad, sourdough bread, grilled shrimp, and wine!  Superb!  Afterwards we went downtown to Earth and Vine and had another drink and split a huge piece of very rich chocolate cake.  It was delicious but very filling!  A beautiful evening out wandering around town by the light of a half moon.  What better celebration of an anniversary could anyone ask for?  Here’s to another 28 years….or more!  J

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