Saturday, May 9, 2015

No grizzlies on Grizzly Ridge


 I've been traveling so much that I haven't been doing any scouting in my backyard. Which is bad. I have no idea what trails are snow free, what lakes are still frozen, where I can get to.

Grizzly Ridge is on off the Hat Point Road and is one of a set of parallel ridges that march out above Hells Canyon. I'd been on several of the others, but not this one. I was delighted to find an old cabin. I love finding these. I just wonder what the people who lived here thought and dreamed about, and what they saw. People were tougher then. They were okay with occasionally being uncomfortable.
Cute old buildings. I want to live here!

There were no grizzlies on the ridge. They were shot out years ago. If the ranchers had their way, wolves would be too. I remember the extra bite each adventure had in Alaska, knowing that big bears were out there. You had this heightened sense of awareness that you forget about in most parts of the lower 48. I can't say I long for that feeling again, even though I know that there are pieces missing--this isn't true wilderness.

There were, however, cows. I'm not a fan. Leave it at that. Also? I'm kind of scared of them. I know. I run solo where there are wolves and mountain lions. Toss a cow in my path and I freak out. I stopped in my tracks. The cows stared balefully back.

Last year on Windy Ridge we saw a cinnamon-colored bear and watched it for awhile, wondering if it was a grizzly (It wasn't). I have friends who swear a grizzly stumbled through their yard a few falls ago. I guess it is possible. Wolverines have been seen, creeping back into their historic range. As the trails disappear, as people stay inside, this landscape may become wilder yet.


Looking back to the Wallowas
J swooped back on his bike--this is a perfect mountain bike route, long and flattish with a few rollercoasters to keep it interesting. He had herded the cows a few miles up the trail. We were the only two people in the world, it seemed like. Where was everybody else? At home with their phones? At the gym? I hoped at least a few people were out.

 On a long hike, your mind goes in random loops. You'd think you would come up with wonderful insights, but usually I end up pondering things like, do cows get cold? What are some good names for nail polish? I happen to think it's good for the mind to unspool. That's why I never listen to music when I run or hike. Your mind needs to breathe!

We didn't see any bears, only a herd of elk. In its own way, Hells Canyon is just as spectacular as the Grand, but the experience is completely different. The Forest Service doesn't have the money or support to draw the tourists or maintain the trails. Hardly anyone wants to drop in; they don't want to route find or carry water or deal with snakes and ivy. This is a big, empty place. 

It's a national recreation area and yet hardly anyone recreates here, except on the river. Hunters, mostly. Years ago the first brave wolf swam over from the Idaho side. Maybe the grizzlies will be next. 


A fence to somewhere

17 comments:

  1. Love your last photo! Yes, when I hike or run I never listen to music. I prefer to take in everything that's going on around me. And I agree with your thought - the mind does need to breathe.

    I've never visited Hell's Canyon but I'd love to check it out someday. It's one of the many places on my bucket list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to see your photos and trip reports from Hell Canyon when you go! I'll be glad to give you suggestions.

      Delete
    2. When I go, I'll be sure to pump you for info! :)

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A black bear has been ambling through Holland-area neighborhoods lately, so far to everyone's bemused interest. A lost soul from the UP or Wisconsin? Looking for food? A mate? Wooden shoes? Tulip Time tourists? Something for you to think about along with the temperature of cows and nail polish names.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm...maybe it's looking for that candy shop!

      Delete
    2. The Peanut Shop! I didn't think of that. Though if it gets onto the main downtown street, it's likely to be hauled outta here.

      Delete
    3. The Peanut Shop! I didn't think of that. Though if it gets onto the main downtown street, it's likely to be hauled outta here.

      Delete
  4. "On a long hike, your mind goes in random loops. You'd think you would come up with wonderful insights, but usually I end up pondering things like, do cows get cold? What are some good names for nail polish? I happen to think it's good for the mind to unspool. That's why I never listen to music when I run or hike. Your mind needs to breathe!"

    ^^ I really love that paragraph. While I like seeing where my mind wanders, I also like listening to music. It's kind of fun to think of it as a soundtrack to whatever I'm doing, then sometimes that song associates with it and every time I hear it on the radio, I'm reminded of a fun adventure!

    I've lived around all kinds of animals, but the large kitties scare me the most. Saw my first mountain lion in the field across from my parents' house when I was packing the car for college. Then a few bobcats and a lynx. I'm cool if my sightings stop there.

    ReplyDelete
  5. A lynx, how cool! I've seen bobcats and mountain lions. The lions scare me too. Once I saw a wolf while running. I don't know why cows bother me so much.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Remember the cows that chased us down the trail in Great Basin? They were scary to me! I'm sure they thought it was their trail, not ours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think all cows secretly think that. They are evil.

      Delete
  7. Uh-oh, Mary. You have now been put on the cows' security-watch list.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I also love when I find old cabins Mary and I have found several over the years.
    I don't mind cows I just think that they don't belong and should not be allowed in the wilderness. I've seen how destructive they can be to lake shores and stream beds. One time several years back we were trying to find the trail head to Stanley Ridge when we ran across a lone buffalo. I could not believe it, we had been driving for miles on forest service roads and we were probably at 6000 feet or better and there was no one around. We just stopped and looked at him and then he got mad and starting charging our truck so we just left and went onto the trail head. Bet I'll never see that again... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh well. You might! Those buffalo escape periodically from a guy's ranch nearby. The Forest then issues stern warnings but does nothing, per usual.

      Delete
  9. I've been thinking about heading up to Hat Point for an overnight trip. I was thinking it would be clear of snow sooner than the Eagle Caps. I am going to try to get home each month this summer and do a backpack trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice...I heard you can drive to the lookout now. I am going to check it out, not this weekend but probably next.

      Delete

Hello out there. If you liked this post, please leave a comment so I keep writing!