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 Post subject: Above the Smoke to Echo Lake, Eagle Cap Aug 5-6 2017
 Post Posted: August 8th, 2017, 9:48 pm 
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I headed to the Wallowas last weekend to get a short backpack in. I camped the night before at Hurricane Creek Campground and then headed up the trail the next morning. Last time I was there was 9 years ago when I was 12, so I was interested to see if I remembered anything. Turns out I didn't recognize much.
Here is a photo from the original trip:

Imagehttps://flic.kr/p/XhEVDd

The smog had been pretty bad on Friday, and I wasn't sure if it was the canyon or if it was worse, but it was pretty bad when I began hiking.

ImageIMG_1811

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I stopped to check out Falls Creek Falls and then headed up Hurricane Creek. It is a great trail, not too dusty, rough, wide, or steep as can be the case in Eagle Cap. Lots of mountains to look at and you can often see the rushing creek down below.
The Falls:

ImageIMG_1814
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Hurricane Creek runs through a narrow gorge at one point which was pretty cool.

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I initially missed the Echo Lake Trail, the sign is missing. I was planning on checking out the view from the Hurricane Creek Ford anyway, so it wasn't a big deal. The trail at the turnoff is super faint, so really easy to miss, with only a rock cairn to mark the spot on the edge of a meadow. Once I headed up the trail a little ways it was obvious it was the right one because it had been maintained with all the trees cut out. Boy that trail was a doozy. Literally straight up the mountain. I don't take many breaks when hiking and I took a few on this trail. 1700 feet of gain in 1.9 miles!
Then you enter a gorgeous wildflower meadow with a glassy stream. This set of pictures is from the way down.

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The air was much better up top:

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And then another mile of climbing to the lake:

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Campsite:

ImageIMG_1849

And the next day I headed back to the trailhead. A little less smoky but the rocky, steep Echo Lake trail was even worse going down!
A few mosquitoes came out for dusk at Echo Lake, but not bad. No trees across the trails!

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I've been wandering early and late, from New York City to the Golden Gate, and it don't look like I'll ever stop my wandering.
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 Post subject: Re: Above the Smoke to Echo Lake, Eagle Cap Aug 5-6 2017
 Post Posted: August 9th, 2017, 12:19 pm 
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Location: SW Portland
Thanks for the report. Echo Lake has great surrounds! I didn't know the Wallowas were so hazed in as well . . .


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 Post subject: Re: Above the Smoke to Echo Lake, Eagle Cap Aug 5-6 2017
 Post Posted: August 9th, 2017, 7:05 pm 
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josephoregonweather.com has cams on the Wallowas. Been smokey for days now.
Kelly


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 Post subject: Re: Above the Smoke to Echo Lake, Eagle Cap Aug 5-6 2017
 Post Posted: August 9th, 2017, 7:42 pm 
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Joined: July 25th, 2013, 11:55 am
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Location: Tri-Cities
Visited Echo twice, it is a steep approach, perhaps one of the steepest in the Wallowas. Last visited 4 years ago and on our descent very early the following morning we crossed paths with an ascending trail runner, about 6'6", lean and wearing only a tank top and running shorts, carrying on a water bottle. He just blew past us. We stopped looking at each other thinking, "who the hell was that?". Turns out he is a ultra trail running Veterinarian in Enterprise. Only know this because I crossed paths again at Tenderfoot/Polaris pass junction 2 years later. Yes he was again running (up West Fork Wallowa over Polaris pass and down East Fork Wallowa-25 miles). He did inspire me to day hike that same loop last year (8 hrs).

Great pics, did you make it over the ridge to Billy Jones lake?


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 Post subject: Re: Above the Smoke to Echo Lake, Eagle Cap Aug 5-6 2017
 Post Posted: August 9th, 2017, 10:26 pm 
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Nice Wallowas report. I was out there the 3rd - 6th, definitely smoky weather. We actually hiked out Hurricane Creek on the 6th, though I don't think we ran into you. I went up to Echo Lake as a dayhike in 2015 (on 4th of July - about a month earlier in terms of snow compared to this year). Very nice lake, that's swell you got to camp up there; I thought it felt like a smaller, more remote version of Ice Lake. Good to hear mosquitos weren't too bad - they were a pain in the Lakes Basin! Flowers are very nice right now, it's like a late "spring" out there.

backcracker wrote:
Last visited 4 years ago and on our descent very early the following morning we crossed paths with an ascending trail runner, about 6'6", lean and wearing only a tank top and running shorts, carrying on a water bottle. He just blew past us. We stopped looking at each other thinking, "who the hell was that?". Turns out he is a ultra trail running Veterinarian in Enterprise.


I can't imagine there's more than one tall, lean ultra running veterinarian in Enterprise, thus it's likely that I ran into this guy and his family atop Sacajawea this past weekend. He was in dad-mode with the kids and dogs, but his wife did mention that the previous weekend she'd done a trail run from the W Fork Wallowa up and across the Hurwal Divide... :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Above the Smoke to Echo Lake, Eagle Cap Aug 5-6 2017
 Post Posted: August 10th, 2017, 12:32 am 
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No, I didn't know there was a way to get to Billy Jones Lake. I saw it on the map and walked in that direction, but it looked like all cliffs and talus slopes.

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 Post subject: Re: Above the Smoke to Echo Lake, Eagle Cap Aug 5-6 2017
 Post Posted: August 10th, 2017, 7:22 am 
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Paul2 wrote:
No, I didn't know there was a way to get to Billy Jones Lake. I saw it on the map and walked in that direction, but it looked like all cliffs and talus slopes.


On IMG 1846, traverse the talus slope to the notch in the middle of the pic. There is a boot path, but may not be apparent on the way up, but as usual, easy to find on the way down. No real camping spots around BJ lake though.


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 Post subject: Re: Above the Smoke to Echo Lake, Eagle Cap Aug 5-6 2017
 Post Posted: August 11th, 2017, 5:51 am 
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Location: Tri-Cities
backcracker wrote:
Last visited 4 years ago and on our descent very early the following morning we crossed paths with an ascending trail runner, about 6'6", lean and wearing only a tank top and running shorts, carrying only a water bottle. He just blew past us. We stopped looking at each other thinking, "who the hell was that?". Turns out he is a ultra trail running Veterinarian in Enterprise.


I can't imagine there's more than one tall, lean ultra running veterinarian in Enterprise, thus it's likely that I ran into this guy and his family atop Sacajawea this past weekend. He was in dad-mode with the kids and dogs, but his wife did mention that the previous weekend she'd done a trail run from the W Fork Wallowa up and across the Hurwal Divide... :shock:[/quote]

That's him and his wife is also ultra runner. I haven't met her yet. He is my go to source for early conditions in the Wallowas.


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