Thursday, September 6, 2012

TPThursday: A Journey to Joseph, Oregon

Our summer road trip through Eastern Washington took us into Northeastern Oregon on State Road 129S. Signs along the way told us we were following the  “Old Nez Perce Trail”.

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The paved twisting, turning roadway clings to the hillsides as it winds through the Grande Ronde Valley and over a river of the same name.  Our route climbed to the summit of Wallowa Mountain, (4,693 elevation) and led us past  the Joseph Canyon Overlook . (A stop here’s a must for spectacular views and a bit of Nez Perce Indian history as well.)

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Our destination was Wallowa Lake, a couple miles beyond the town of  Joseph, Oregon,  population 967, named for Chief Joseph, leader of the Wallowa band of Pacific Northwest Nez Perce Indian Tribe.

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Born in 1785 and died in 1871 (the marker is incorrect), Joseph the Elder is buried at the north end of Wallowa Lake. The burial site is next to the 62-acre day-use Iwetemlaykin State Heritage Site.

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Joseph is  an eclectic mix of Old West and Arts Haven, and the last town before the road dead-ends at this five-mile long, one mile wide, 283-feet deep Wallowa Lake.

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Joseph is home to numerous art galleries and Wallowa County’s first arts foundry.

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There are many Bed and Breakfasts in town and other lodging nearby, but the only motel within its city limits was built by Walter Brennan, (1894-1974) an Academy-Award winning actor who owned a ranch in the area.

And eateries galore; especially if you want a Western-style meal (think hearty chuck wagon stick-to-your-ribs style meal.) 

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But our two favorites don’t have Western menus. We munch tapas and sip wine on the front deck of Calderas enjoying the mountain views. And a trip isn’t complete without a piece of home-made pie or an old-fashioned milk-shake at Mad Mary and Co. Soda Shop.

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From any street in town there are spectacular views of the Wallowa Mountains.

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If You Go: 


Map picture

Getting there:
 There are several ways to reach Joseph and Wallowa Lake that are more mainstream than the route we took.  (Our route began in Asotin, Washington just south of Lewiston on the map above – a road to small to show on this Bing map).

 
From Portland: It’s just over a six hour drive of 322 miles, 519 km.  Oregon’s Highway 82 from Highway 395 winds through Joseph before dead-ending at Wallowa Lake. 

You can link up with the Hell’s Canyon Byway (Highway 350) just a few miles from Joseph – it’s a spectacular 218-mile stretch of highway.

Hiking: The Wallowa Mountains are considered by many to be Oregon’s best hiking venue.  For a sample of hikes, click here.

Accommodations/Eateries: The Chamber of Commerce website will get you here and settled in quite nicely!

It's Travel Photo Thursday, so head on over to Budget Travelers Sandbox for more travel photos and trip ideas.

27 comments:

  1. I have never heard of Joseph but now it's on my list! I love checking out places like this with the mix of culture, great food and interesting B&B's to stay in. Great idea putting that map in for reference sake.

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    1. Leigh, I thought of you when I wrote this - I could see you kayaking on the lake and biking some of the delightful roads and then hiking into the Wallowa hills. You would love it.

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  2. Love the sculptures! Esp that woman who seems to be waiting for something! And did you do any water activity on the lake? Seems so calm.

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    1. Lots of fishermen (by that I mean a dozen or so) at the other end of the lake, near a state park there. We were there the end of June and the water was 'brisk' as in cold!

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  3. Looks like a great trip from Portland. We are trying to figure out a trip to Portland in October... maybe we could add this to the list!

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    1. You would certainly see some varied country. You'd cross the sometimes barren and other places flatland farms of central Oregon before heading into this spectacular setting.

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  4. Really like the Native American history here, that's one of my fave subjects to explore whenever I'm in the USA.

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    1. You'd love the Lewis and Clark interpretive center near Baker Oregon or the Indian Heritage Museum in Toppenish, WA (just outside my old hometown of Yakima).

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  5. That looks like a heavenly trip - a nice hike AND a glass of wine!

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    1. Nothing like a glass of wine and a great view to end the day!

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  6. I'd never heard about Joseph - the place or the person -- but I love all the art, and that diner is pretty cool.

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    1. Glad I could introduce you to both. Chief Joseph is such a legend in this part of the country - as evidenced by the number of places named for him.

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  7. What a charming town full of great art. I have never heard of Joseph either. That lake looks like a great place to relax. I love towns like these with a lot of character and I suddenly feel the need to visit Mad Mary and Co. Soda Shop now :)

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    1. I had gone to Mad Mary's for an afternoon latte and while waiting for it had two customers tell me how great the pies were there. We decided it would be pie for breakfast the next day! (And they were right - it was heavenly pie)

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  8. What gorgeous photos and scenery! What I would give for a good old fashioned milkshake. You can't get those in Korea! :P

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! You know it is getting hard to find 'old fashioned' milkshakes in the US as well. This place is a treasure.

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  9. I visited Hell's Canyon via Moscow, ID years ago, and have wanted to go back ever since moving to Washington--the Wallowas are amazing, and I love all the names! Your trip will be a good reference for a future trip!

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    1. You'd definitely enjoy the route we took if you are familiar with Idaho and Washington. Thanks for visiting - hope you'll be a regular at TravelnWrite!

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    1. And thanks to you for creating such a fun Friday activity!

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  11. The soda shop looks like so much fun!

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    1. It was as much fun as it looks - maybe even more!

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  12. This looks like a great road trip, Jackie!

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    1. It was one of our best; we will definitely do some version of it again.

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    2. It was definitely one of our favorites and we'll be doing some version of it again.

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  13. I've seen photo essays of Oregon before, but this shows a very different side of it. What a fun trip!

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  14. Very cool to be on the Old Nez Perce Trail on your way to town. Interesting history. The town looks like a great place to spend some time. I'm all for a good stick-to-your-ribs meal, too.

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