Memorial Day Weekend at Wallowa Lake et al.

Wallowa Lake (Mt. Howard and Chief Joseph Mtn. in background)

by Tesmond Hurd — Posted Sun, May 28, 2017

Yearning for a great recreation trip outside of La Grande, I headed to Wallowa County for three days of action-packed adventure, good beer, and fresh fish. Originally, I set out to finish an article for La Grande Ride, hike some trails, go fishing, and maybe enjoy the nightlife and play mini golf. Here's the weekend recap:

Day 1
More like night one. Looking forward to the great weekend, I was not fully prepared to swerve and brake to miss hitting a the usual. With rain showers upon my arrival, seeing any mountain peaks was out of the question, so I had to wait until Friday to start adventuring. Dinner and Netflix had to do until daybreak.

Day 2
I wasn't surprised to wake up to some cloudy skies, but that quickly started burning off while I took a shower. I spent the morning hours down at the lake, fishing at my "grandpa's spot," and somehow managed to catch nine trout—but I threw back five smaller ones that weren't worth cleaning. This was fairly exciting because I figured I had enough fish for lunch today. Backing up in the timeline of things, I watched the geese tend to their newly-hatched goslings; then I dropped my phone in the lake. You're probably thinking that turned out bad, or I should have rushed to get some rice—wrong. The sturdy Android rebounding with zero problems (sorry iPhone people). While I fished, a patriotic-Memorial Day bald eagle swooped down to snatch up a fish before flying off. I was able to collect some nice data and multimedia for my article in the afternoon. I finished the day off with a nice walk along the Wallowa River, and down to the lake.

Day 3
What a beautiful day in Wallowa County. Some very light cumulus dotted the skies, and temperatures rose to the low/mid 70s throughout the day&mdhash;you couldn't have asked for a better day. My friend and I took a nice 6 mile round-trip hike towards Aneroid Lake before getting stopped due to the snow. DEFINITELY read more in my trail report to hear how the first part of day turned out. The afternoon was polished off with mini-golf and homemade smothered fries! Since this was Memorial Day weekend, I threw some fresh Hines Meat Co. ribeye steak on the barbeque, and fixed some great sides for a Saturday night feast.

Day 4
Since I had to return to work this afternoon, I only had a few hours to finish my weekend trip up with a bang. It was only appropriate that I go to Arrowhead Chocolates to pick up some truffles and have a mocha with their homemade milk chocolate. There was a fair number of Portland people here; their clothing, hair, and shoes gave it away. I was going to give them the benefit of the doubt, but then I heard several stories about forgetting gear. On my way back to La Grande, there was still a large number of travel trailers going towards Wallowa County. The Minam State Recreation Area had a ton of people doing various things. There was a lot of rafters, and everybody was keeping cool and just hanging out.

All in all, it was a great weekend trip. Although Wallowa Lake is known to be a "tourist" trap, there is still a lot of fun to be had—for little or no money at all. I think I spent less than $30 in entertainment total. As the weather continues to warm up, swimming and boating will come alive. See more pictures in the Aneroid hiking update.

Featured: Read more about recreation and vacation opportunities by reading Wallowa Lake Tourism and Recreation in Northeast OregonNEW.

Category: Hike   
Keywords: Wallowa Lake    Joseph    Aneroid   
Aqua, teal blue waters
So much for me hiking along the river
Wallowa River is swift and gushing water
The sun melted a lot of snow on the east aspects
A large nest belonging to a hawk, maybe eagle?
YES! What a beautiful statement
The Wallowa River south of the lake
Equestrian use was popular this weekend