Earlier in the spring, we had set August 25th as our start date for full-time RVing. With our recent acquisition of my childhood home, temporary work opportunities for me, and COVID travel restrictions, we decided to stick closer to home for the rest of the year. We’d take advantage of the timing to make some extra money and get busy with updates on the house. Of course, we still found time to adventure and celebrate a milestone birthday for Jason.
Celebrating Jason’s 50th Birthday!
We celebrated Jason’s 50th birthday by making a quick trip to the Eagle Cap Wilderness in NE Oregon, one of our favorite local destinations. On day one we hiked the Upper Imnaha River from the Indian Crossing Trailhead up past Blue Hole and into the rugged reaches beyond. We hiked this same route a few years ago (click here for our trip report) and had the place to ourselves. This year, the trail was busier as people flocked to the forests to safely recreate during the pandemic.
After our hike, we drove down the Imnaha River and found a beautiful at-large spot tucked back off the road and along the banks of the river where our only neighbors were bald eagle, kingfisher, cedar waxwing, dippers, and a family of mergansers.
The following day we hiked to Bonny Lakes, a pair of pretty little lakes on the SE side of the Eagle Cap Wilderness which sees significantly less visitation than the popular Joseph area trails. Most lakes in the Eagle Cap are too far for most day hikers, but Bonny is an ideal trail at just 8.0 miles and 1,400’ elevation gain. It also makes a nice easy backpack (click here for our backpack report). This is the drier side of the Eagle Cap and I expected that peak wildflower season would be over. But thanks to a cool and wet early summer, it looked like we timed our hike perfectly. Fireweed, paintbrush, lupine, mariposa lilies, and numerous other varieties of flower lined the trail.
Arriving at Lower Bonny Lake, we found we had it all to ourselves. The smaller upper lake where we spent the night in 2016 is just a short distance up the trail, but we did not visit it on this trip. Instead we enjoyed relaxing at the lower lake which I found a little more scenic.
We ended the day at Terminal Gravity in Enterprise where we enjoyed a casual dinner in their park like setting and a complimentary brew in honor of Jason’s big 5-0. Their tables on the lawn under towering trees are always well-spaced, but they had them even more widely spaced with the pandemic and all their servers were wearing masks. They are doing an exceptional job and I made sure to pay our compliments to the manager as well as leave a larger than normal tip to show our appreciation.
Fly fishing in Idaho
The following week we made a quick trip to one of our favorite Clearwater River tributaries in search of new fishing holes. We found a couple choice locations and ended up with a beautiful creek-side tent site for the night.
Eagle Cap Backpack
Summer was slipping away and we hadn’t yet done a high country backpack. To rectify that, we did a quick overnighter up in the Eagle Cap to close out the month of August. Our usual backpacking destinations are the alpine lakes, but over the past couple of years we’ve discovered the meadows are overlooked gems. While everyone is clamoring to get a prime spot at places like Mirror Lake, the meadows are frequently devoid of humans.
We climbed 2,200 feet over 4.5 miles from the Bowman Trailhead along the West Lostine River to Brownie Basin. We had hiked most of this route back in 2015 when we backpacked to Chimney Lake (click here for our backpack report), but this time we took an unmarked trail along Bowman Creek into beautiful Brownie Basin. We saw one gentleman at the start of the basin and we continued close to another mile past him to the head of the basin where dense forest and a ridge of mountains stopped our progress. We selected a flat site just a few feet from Bowman Creek for camp. We had the place to ourselves allowing for a true wilderness experience. At bedtime, we had two bucks plus a doe with its fawn splashing in the creek just a couple dozen yards from our tent. It was a short, but rewarding and relaxing trip.
The Adventure Continues
Join us for our upcoming blog series on the Pioneer Mountains of SW Montana! And don’t forget to check out our Amazon RV and adventure gear recommendations accessed via links at the top of our home page. We only post products that we use and that meet the Evans Outdoor Adventures seal of approval. By accessing Amazon through our links and making any purchase, you get Amazon’s every day low pricing and they share a little with us. This helps us maintain Evans Outdoor Adventures and is much appreciated!