(Original post date: July 21, 2015)
After getting turned down for a wilderness permit to do the Wonderland Trail, I was uncertain about where to go instead. I’d already spent weeks poring over maps, books, and numerous trip reports. In addition, I was incredibly excited to be going to Mount Rainier National Park. I lived in Washington for 14 years, but our family never got around to visiting the park. I’ll admit that I teared up a little bit when I opened that rejection letter.
I went back to Lorain’s book to research an alternative trip. I’d barely started flipping through pages when Mack made a suggestion that almost immediately brought me out of my despair: the Wallowas. At the time, all I knew about the Wallowas was that they are a mountain range in Northeastern Oregon, considered one of Oregon’s 7 Wonders. As I read more about them, I came upon phrases such as the “Alps of Oregon” and “Little Switzerland.” I was hooked.
Lorain’s book includes several different trips to do in the Wallowas. We decided on the Wallowa River Loop, which takes us through the popular Lakes Basin Management Area in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Although he suggests hiking the loop clockwise, we plan to do it counter-clockwise in order to summit Matterhorn and Sacajawea Peak (the two highest peaks in the Wallowas!) on the second day, while we still have energy. Below is our current itinerary:
- Day 1: Wallowa Lake Trailhead to Ice Lake (8.2 miles)
- Day 2: Summit Matterhorn and Sacajawea Peak, then return to Ice Lake (5.5 miles)
- Day 3: Ice Lake to Horseshoe Lake (11.4 miles)
- Day 4: Horseshoe Lake to Frazier Lake (8.4 miles)
- Day 5: Frazier Lake to Aneroid Lake (11.9 miles)
- Day 6: Aneroid Lake to Wallowa Lake Trailhead (6.3 miles)
Our adventure begins in two days! Minus food and water, we have our gear packed and ready. My base weight is around 18 lbs and Mack’s is around 21 lbs. We’re working on paring these down, so hopefully those numbers will be a little smaller before we leave.
We look forward to sharing about our experience when we return!