Our Daily Sykes #75 – Wallowa Lake

A look north-northwest through about half the 4 miles of Wallowa Lake in (and so we return to) northeast Oregon.

A scene taken in the same direction and from nearly the same prospect as Sykes appears as a volunteered “blue-dot” photograph in Google Earth.   It includes what I imagine is an ironic caption.  “The east moraine before the houses go in.”  I doubt that this slope has since been dappled with houses, although the uses of Lake Wallowa have been sometimes exploitive.   This is Nez Perce land and by treaty it remained theirs until gold was discovered nearby and the lake and land around it was taken back by the feds for settlement – and the rest – in 1877.

The Nez Perce war with U.S. Regulars that followed was one of the last battles between “manifest destiny” and Native Americans, and led to the 1000 mile near escape of Chief Joseph and the tribe for Canada – but not quite to it.  It was the occasion of the Chief’s famous “From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more, forever” speech.  Now, in a mix of admiration and white guilt, Mt. Chief Joseph rises to the west of the lake as part of the massif known as the Wallowa Mountains, and the town of Joseph sits near the north end of the lake, in the direction Horace points his 35mm slide camera here.

To his left but out of frame, the south end of the lake is well stocked for tourists with lodges, cabins, marinas, and prepared food.  Both Hells and Imnaha canyons (and several more) are off to the east, and not so far away.   The several canyons that drain the Wallowas to the north are to the west and northwest of Wallowa Lake where one will also find the town of Minam.

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