Trip Report: Wallowas Backpacking Trip

 View of Eagle Cap as we left Glacier Lake to hike back out to the Two Pan Trailhead

View of Eagle Cap as we left Glacier Lake to hike back out to the Two Pan Trailhead

My family did a weeklong backpacking trip in the Wallowas from August 6-11th entering the Lakes Basin via Lostine at the Two Pan Trailhead.  Even mid-week, the hike into Mirror Lake was quite crowded (by wilderness standards) and there were a lot of people camped at the lake.

We camped in the meadow below Mirror Lake the first night and then powered right through to get up to Glacier Lake and the higher lakes where we saw almost no one.  We made a nice camp on the northeast corner of Glacier Lake and then did some overland exploring to some of the higher lakes and glaciers, and eventually made our way up Eagle Cap from the backside, which was challenging at times.

 Jodi and Ethan watching the sunset from the hammock at Glacier Lake

Jodi and Ethan watching the sunset from the hammock at Glacier Lake

We had good weather (highs in the low 80’s and overnight lows in the low 50’s) while the rest of Oregon withered away in a 105+ degree heat wave.  Mosquitos were non-existent, and the lakes were cold but still swimmable.  On the second day, there was a bit of smoke and haze from the fires burning in California and North Central Oregon, but it never really impacted visibility much – just made the light a little softer.

At night, I slept in the hammock right next to the lake and got to watch the Milky Way drift across the sky with meteors from the Perseid meteor show streaking across the sky about 2-3 times per minute.  In the morning, I awoke to complete silence, save for the sound of the occasional fish jumping in the lake.

 This was the view back down to Glacier Lake (left) and Prospect Lake (right) from Eagle Cap

This was the view back down to Glacier Lake (left) and Prospect Lake (right) from Eagle Cap

Being above tree line and off-trail, I used this trip as an opportunity to teach my son Ethan (age 11) the basics of using a map and compass.  I explained declination and how to compensate for it, and then we talked about how to orient the map, take bearings, identify the surrounding peaks, and triangulate our position on the map using known landmarks.

 This was our camp on the NE shore of Glacier Lake.  We stayed here two nights.

This was our camp on the NE shore of Glacier Lake.  We stayed here two nights.

As usual, we ate great homemade dehydrated meals including lasagna (a family favorite), orzo with tandoori sauce, and a tomato/pesto pasta.

 This was a shot from our scramble up to the top of Eagle Cap from Glacier Lake

This was a shot from our scramble up to the top of Eagle Cap from Glacier Lake

I encourage you to view my collection of fine art landscape images (many of which originate on my backpacking adventures) on my website here.

Happy trails!