Monday, June 27, 2011

Oregon's Alps

Above Wallowa lake is the mountain range that defines the Eagle Cap Wilderness. They are also called "Oregon's Alps" because they somewhat echo the Swiss Alps although on a much smaller scale. You can take a tram ride up up up up to get to this little lookout on top and hike around a bit. Let me just say a few things:

1) The tram is old, a bit rickety looking and very high off the ground. It also takes about 20 minutes to get up to the top. Straight up the side of a mountain.

2) I generally like to have my feet on the ground.

3) Temperature at base - 80 degrees. Temperature at top: 50 degrees in the sun. No enclosed structures to hang out in other than a restaurant with plastic siding on three sides.

So. I learned a little lesson today. The best moms are prepared. I had no idea it would be that cold up there, I just happened to throw in the kids coats because they had complained that morning about the wind being chilly. Also, threw in some snacks just because. This all turned out to be a good thing because we got to the top, hiked around a bit in the wind and then just as we were thinking about heading down the mountain the tram broke. That's right. THE TRAM BROKE. Trapping us on top of the mountain and trapping some souls more unfortunate than us IN THE TRAM CARS. Ahem. They told us they didn't know how long it would be until they could get it fixed but at least a few hours. By this point the kids were cold and hungry and tired of the wind. Umm.......

However, this situation which seemed ripe for disaster ended up being, well, OK. We sat out of the wind in the open air restaurant and ordered french fries and coffee. The kids had snacks from my bag. Miss E noticed that there were both chipmunks and grey squirrel like things begging for food so we made a list of differences between them. Mr. T ate peanuts and cuddled with Peter. When Miss E was starting to get really bored, I got on my ipod (oddly enough the top of the mountain was the only place we had internet or phone service for a week) and bought her a Judy Moody book to read on it (insert little fist pump for technology here). We took a few more little hikes around and when the repair guy drove up the back side of the mountain on his 4 wheeler with snow-something wheels, Mr. T and I spent a long time marveling at the awesomeness of the vehicle*. Finally, after 3 extra hours the tram was working again and we headed down.

Then it was bumper boats (yeah, they had those) and an unsuccessful but fun attempt at fishing. Dinner, more smores, more deer-watching and then bed.

*He did. I pretended I actually knew what it was.

1 comment:

  1. Wind and altitude combine for really uncomfortable temps I learned after moving to the BAy Area where twenty miles, thirty minutes and forty feet of elevation can happen anytime and bring extreme weather. The best advice I got when I moved here from So FL was “Take one more jacket than you think you need.” Boy and how has that served me well !~!