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Eaglecap Wilderness Trip August, 2013 (Parts 1-4 merged)

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Eaglecap Wilderness Trip August, 2013 (Parts 1-4 merged)

Postby oldranger » Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:04 pm

The following trip is the family version of a trip taken in September 2012 taken with 2 friends. The main differences was riding horseback the first day to the “target” lake that the previous year was visited as a day trip from a lower lake, achieved the year before by hiking and extending the trip from seven to 9 days which meant one extra layover day and one extra travel day.

The night before the trip started was spent in a delightful, reasonably priced rental house in Wallowa. Arriving in early afternoon we sorted gear and distributed loads, making sure that the grandkids were not overloaded (soon to be discovered a mistake!).
That night we bar-b-qued steaks from local beef and hit the sack early.

Day 1 began with a drive up to the even smaller town of Lostine then up the Lostine River canyon to the pack station where we emptied the 4 Runner Leaving Kathy and the grandkids while my son-in-law and I drove both vehicles to the Two Pan Trailhead, left the 4 Runner then drove back to the packstation which is located across the road from the Bowman TH. The previous year, with two friends, this was all backpacking, but I had learned my lesson. Though the first target lake was just 5.5 miles from the trailhead it was 3170 vertical feet up. The previous year we stopped a mile short and 800 ft. lower. But the fishing was so interesting that I wanted to maximize our time there and I didn’t want to kill my true love who was going on this trip along with my son-in-law, two oldest grandkids, and me.

This was the first time on horseback for the kids. My grandson was quite apprehensive about this. But the wrangler did a great job of introducing him to the horse and in no time my grandson was enjoying himself.
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Getting going
The climb up the trail was much easier than I remembered!
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Getting Higher
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Still Higher
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Almost There!
Clearly the scenery was much better than the previous year when the first few days were marred by smoke from several fires in Washington. This year a little smoke was noticeable to the East during the evening of the first couple of days from a small fire about 20 miles east.
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Room with a view!
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Kitchen
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They Forest Service doesn't even talk about food storage here, still hang to prevent loss to little critters
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Split Level Camp
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Lake I've never visited, beyond that Wallowa Valley

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Sunset from Camp, Eagle Cap Peak is the one in the distance on the right

We spent 2 nights at our first “target” lake with the fishing not nearly as good as the previous year and the fish caught were not nearly as “stout” as the ones caught on that trip, perhaps because it was a month earlier and they were just beginning to fatten up?

to be continued

Mike
Last edited by ERIC on Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Merged parts 1 through 4
Mike

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family Eaglecap Wilderness Trip August, 2013 part 2 of 4

Postby oldranger » Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:23 pm

Then next day was an down, up, down day, ending just before the last 1,200 ft drop down to N. Minam Meadows.
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On the trail
We met one large college group at the high point of the day (actually our starting point was the high point).
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Seeking shade at the High Point


Day 4 was a 2 mile, 1200 ft plunge down to N. Minam Meadows then a hot humid climb of over 2100 vertical feet in 5 miles.
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North Minam Meadows
Luckily there are several creeks that cross this route so if you hydrate at each there is no need to carry much water. The heat of days 3 and 4 were a bit much for Kathy and tend to dominate her memories of the entire trip as a death march. We soon transferred a portion of her load to the grandkids as nobody could keep up with them and our son-in-law was already loaded up to the max (that is what sons-in-law are for!). A layover day at Steamboat lake was just what the doctor ordered--relaxation, good fishing for 11” brookies, happy hours, play.
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Son-in-Law's ubiquitous clothesline at Steamboat Lake
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Sunset at Steamboat Lake
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A little later sunset
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Father coaching son
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Proud father and Son
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Papa heading in
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Kids Turn!
Mike

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Family Eaglecap Wilderness Trip August, 2013 part 3 of 4

Postby oldranger » Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:39 pm

Of course it started raining on day 6 as we were breaking camp, luckily not seriously and soon we were on trail, ponchos off and heading through the meadow at the head of the lake, over the ridge then down about 800 feet in two miles to Long lake where a huge packer camp provided a fire ring, the lake nice brookie fishing, and, at night, mother nature provided us with a sound and light show. As you can see by the pics I brought my raft along. Generally I would fish from it for a couple of hours, then let the rest have at it. My son-in-law would fish, the kids would play and Kathy would cruise the lake. Even after a relatively short day the layover at Long was enjoyed by all.
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Looking back on Steamboat Lake
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Long Lake
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Happy Angler!
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Huckleberry Heart!
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Happy Hour
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Love that Campfire!
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Swamp lake, day 8


to be continued

Mike
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Family Eaglecap Wilderness Trip August, 2013 conclusion

Postby oldranger » Tue Jan 20, 2015 11:18 pm

On day 8 we hiked out of the 7100 ft hole of Long Lake, up past the misnamed and fishless Swamp Lake that I camped at the previous year (Long lake was a day trip on a layover day the previous year) to the high point of the trip at slightly over 8600 feet then down the Elkhorn creek drainage to the lower end of a meadow just above 7800 feet.
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Climbing Ridge west of Swamp Lake, kids far ahead
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Swamp and Long Lakes from Near high Point of trip
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Weird mudstone outcrop with spring at its base
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Sky Lake
We saw 3 groups this day: 1 at Swamp, 1 just above our day 8 camp, and a stock group on a day ride at our camp. As they rode by I heard the 2 women riding together talk about how much beer they had with them.
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Yup, another clothesline. More importantly the ladies with the beer!
When they rode back down I approached them and asked, “Did I hear you say you had too much beer?” Low and behold they produced two ice cold lite beers.” Not be too snobbish I accepted them with gracious thanks. Lite beer never tasted so good!
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Two happy campers!
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One book, two readers, almost finished!
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Tomorrow's descent


Next day was all downhill to the car left at the Two Pan Trailhead.
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Only ford on the trip, actually I didn't have to take my boots off, but Kathy was wearing hiking shoes
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Almost There!
Arrived by noon, squeezed us all into the 4 Runner and headed down to the other car where we redistributed our gear, said our goodbys and headed home after a great family trip.
Mike

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Re: Family Eaglecap Wilderness Trip August, 2013 conclusion

Postby ofuros » Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:47 pm

Another great trip in the 'oldranger series'.....thanks for taking the time to share it. Enjoyed. :thumbsup:
Out 'n about....looking for trout.
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Re: Family Eaglecap Wilderness Trip August, 2013 conclusion

Postby oldranger » Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:59 pm

Thanks ofuros!

I am recovering from a bout of pneumonia so it is giving me a chance to catch up with my TRs.

Mike
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Re: Family Eaglecap Wilderness Trip August, 2013 conclusion

Postby sparky » Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:00 pm

Good times, beautiful country. Love those meadows....and free beer! Thanks for sharing
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Re: Family Eaglecap Wilderness Trip August, 2013 conclusion

Postby maverick » Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:39 pm

Great TR for anyone considering the Eaglecap Wilderness, thank you for sharing Mike. More importantly, wish
you a speedy, and total recovery from your pneumonia!
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Re: Eaglecap Wilderness Trip August, 2013 (Parts 1-4 merged)

Postby ERIC » Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:39 pm

Merged the four part report into one thread.

Mike - mend fast and mend well buddy.
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Re: Eaglecap Wilderness Trip August, 2013 (Parts 1-4 merged)

Postby rlown » Thu Jan 22, 2015 11:46 am

A nice report. A place I still want to go to. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Eaglecap Wilderness Trip August, 2013 (Parts 1-4 merged)

Postby Troutdog 59 » Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:22 pm

Very nice outing with the family Mike. Thanks for sharing. I've never been to the Eagle Cap, but it looks pretty scenic. I have to admit, I'm not sure I could take too much beer with pack stock, but thats just probably me!!!
If you stand in the light, you get the feel of the night, and the music that plays in your ear......
In your mind you can hear, a voice so sweet and clear, and the music that plays in your head......
As it flows up from the ground, taking all that hear the sound, close your eyes, it’s about to begin.

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Re: Eaglecap Wilderness Trip August, 2013 (Parts 1-4 merged)

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Jan 22, 2015 10:35 pm

What a nice trip. That looks to be quite an attractive alpine region to hike and fish in. Hope you get well soon.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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