Thursday, July 5, 2012

TPThursday: Wallowa Lake Magic–The End of the Road

The place, quite simply, is magical. 

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Wallowa Lake is a magical place somewhat off the beaten path.  Oregon’s Highway 82 literally dead ends here in the midst of the Eagle Cap Wilderness in the northeastern tip of the state.  It took us about five hours on our meandering-the-back-roads journey south to get there from Spokane, Washington.

Our destination was the near century-old wood-frame lodge nestled in the Wallowa Mountains at the head of the five-mile long, 283-foot deep lake.

WARoadTrip2012 164The charms of the lodge, its lakeside setting, and the nearby tiny town of Joseph conspired to cast a spell over us three years ago when we celebrated our anniversary there and drew us back to celebrate again this year. 

At the time it was built in 1923 to serve as an exclusive hunting lodge, the present-day hotel  was accessible only by boat.  Today a two-lane paved road follows one side of the lake shore. It leads to the lodge and other vacation rentals, a state park  and campground.


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The lodge has undergone extensive restoration (bathrooms are quite modern in each of the rooms) but the old-world charm remains in the décor and furnishings. Floors creak when walked on and windows squeak when opened.

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We’d didn’t pull the roller blind at night so that the morning sun would act as Mother Nature’s gentle alarm clock as it climbed over the mountain and peeked through our lace and floral chintz curtains.

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Old frames displayed similarly aged art; the furnishings were mid-century antiques. There were no telephones or televisions in the rooms. A large stone fireplace, not a Wii Room, was the attraction in the lobby. (Okay, so it was Wi-Fi equipped).

Guests and deer co-mingled on the expansive eight-acre grounds on which the lodge and its more recently constructed eight freestanding cabins stand.  Deer were so tame they’d let you photograph them as they rested. A fellow guest hand fed carrots to the deer.

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At the edge of the grounds the Wallowa River flows into the lake. It is the place of afternoon strolls.

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Or perhaps simply relaxing tucked among the trees at river’s edge.

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Had there been more hours in the day I might have been tempted to sit at the desk in the corner of the lobby and write inspired prose in my journal. . .

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Even with a leisurely pace, our days went quickly.  Before we knew it the day had slipped away. The sun was easing itself down over the lake, turning the trees to silhouettes; the only sounds the cicadas, an occasional bird and the rustle of the pine needles in the breeze.

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Yes, Wallowa Lake is a magical place. The kind of place where anniversaries are best celebrated.

It’s Travel Photo Thursday so be sure to visit Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Click the link for additional information on Wallowa Lake Lodge.  For information on Joseph, Oregon  and the recreational activities nearby:  http://www.josephoregon.com


Walking distance from the lodge: The Wallowa Lake Tramway, with gondolas that whisk you 3,700 feet up the side of   Mount Howard; (the highest ascent in North America).  At the top there’s a restaurant, hiking trails .

26 comments:

  1. I love places like that and only wish time would slow down even more when you're there.That chair is calling me to sit and delve into a good book for hours!

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  2. Oh my! Now this seems like my kind of place! One that could ease the stress off of even a jaded commodities trader...or over-worked photographer! ;)

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    1. It would certainly do that! I highly recommend it should you find yourself in this part of the world sometime.

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  3. Looks perfect for hiking! Very old-school accommodations too :)

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    1. We packed our hiking boots and 'knew' we would do some as there are a zillion trails, but as I said, by the time we'd explore the area, visit the town.. .the days got away from us. Next time!

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  4. I've been there a couple times. One year when Alpenfest was happening. Got some great stories to reminisce with friends. Ask my friend Ang about mountain men and false teeth! Maybe we'll go there for our anniversary this fall. Good suggestion! Thx for the reminder of Wallowa Lake!

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    1. I thought you said once that you had been there. I think we discovered it on that trip to Boise we took three years ago. I can recommend it for an anniversary!

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  5. This place has been on my "bucket list" for a long, long time, although it's at least two long days of driving from where I live. Maybe this is the year that I finally get there.

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    1. It is a haul no matter what direction from which we've approached it, but once you get there. . .oh my,you will be like us and say, "We've gotta come back!"

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  6. What a serene and beautiful place! I love how remote it looks and love that spectacular first picture. Looks like you had a fantastic time.

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    1. It really does take your breath away when you round a curve and that scene is your first sight of the lake.

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  7. I'd never heard of Wallowa Lake. How beautiful, Jackie. Even the deer thinks so!

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    1. I was the same way, "Wallowa Lake? Where?" And now I can hardly wait to return. Thanks for visiting.

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  8. What a beautiful place to visit and relax! The lodge looks perfect too! Frankly, it is so hot here that I just love seeing the green landscapes!

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    1. You've really had some weather this year! If only I could send you some of the Northwest's clouds and rain in exchange for a bit of your heat, we'd both be much happier! Thanks for visiting.

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  9. What a beautiful place - my kids would go crazy for a place where they could hand feed deer!

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    1. Yes, your kids would be crazy about them. The lady who told me about feeding the deer was still giggling and jumping around about it - she was as excited as a kid. They are beautiful creatures

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  10. You really find some of the coolest places. Wallowa Lake lodge looks quite inviting. I can imagine spending some time in that chair along the river. Nice.

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    1. Thanks Cathy. Yes, that chair was calling out to me as well. Next time I'll allow myself some down time and use it!

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    2. Thanks Cathy! We do try to find the out-of-the-way places. And like you the chair did call out to me as well -- just had too much to see and do,. . .as we all say, "next time. . ."

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  11. you definitely should join "Capture the colour" contest.
    http://www.shorttraveltips.com/capture-the-colour/
    I think you have enough pictures to enter it.

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    1. Vi, thanks for visiting and your nice suggestion. I just toured your blog - what fun photos you posted. And thank you for suggesting I enter the contest. I will give it some thought.

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  12. It looks like such a lovely place, and I so love visiting Oregon. I'd like to plan a romantic getaway here!

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  13. Allison, thanks so much for visiting. Oregon does have such beautiful spots, doesn't it. I do recommend this for a romantic getaway, actually any getaway here would be good!

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