Sunday, April 22, 2012
The people who live in Imnaha, a few thousand feet below us, call where we live "up top." As in, "I have to go up top today." And it does feel sometimes as if we are perched on a high shelf, subject to the winds that rake across the crest of the Wallowas. The Nez Perce wouldn't have ever lived up top in winter. They knew better. In mid-summer the canyon bakes, the creeks slow to a trickle, but this time of year is the time to go, to drop all the things you should be doing. It's fifty miles to the trailhead but you gain at least a month in time. This is a restless place, ruled by snowmelt and Idaho Power, and the beach I camped on last year was nearly gone. I camped instead on a sweet bench above the river.