a quick guide to the Wallowas

Hello, friends! For those of you following on Instagram, you know that I have just spent the last four days wandering from Seattle, Washington to the Wallowas in Oregon. After a long layover in Miami, I have made it back to South Carolina and am in desperate need of a shower and facial. So, while the tea kettle is boiling and my feet are soaking in some Epsom salt, I thought I'd write you a post about the amazing time I had returning to the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It was such a treat getting to see one of my absolute favourite cities with fresh eyes while also exploring new bits of the surrounding area. 

Let's begin with the new bits: Wallowa Lake State Park!

not the rental car, but could not ignore the Bernie sticker #theonethatgotaway

not the rental car, but could not ignore the Bernie sticker #theonethatgotaway

How to get there?

You have to drive to the Wallowas in Oregon. If you fly into Seattle, Washington or Portland, Oregon, you will be in for a 6-7 hour drive. It's a doable commute, but you may want to stay in an AirBnB or hotel in a nearby city the night before so you can start a hike or camping trip in the light. I wouldn't ever suggest setting up your campsite in the dark. Walla Walla, Washington has reasonably priced accommodation and is located only 2 hours away. 

Where to stay?

There are multiple cabins for rent as well as campsites to hire out near Wallowa Lake. There are clean restroom facilities near the campsites and running water spouts. Bring with you a kettle to boil your water for drinking or a purifier will also do the job {without need of a fire}, as the water from the taps are not safe for drinking. You can reserve a camping site here. 

What to do?

Technically, it's still the off-season. Which seems to be something I have a knack for. Usually, it's a total perk: I don't have to fight people for photos and get more for my money. On this particular trip, the pros and cons seemed more evenly matched. The cons for this off-peak trip meant the area was ghostly, the tram was closed, and there was still so much snow on the high trails I couldn't finish most of the treks I started. It gave me a teaser, but I cannot wait to make it back during summertime when the weather would be better suited for hiking the incline. 

Hike to Aneroid Lake! This was my initial intention, but, as previously mentioned, the steep {and I mean steep} incline combined with nearly 4-feet of snow in spots made it impossible for me to safely make it all the way up. If you give the lake a Google though, you'll see how incredible the view could be. My trek was beautiful regardless of not making it all the way to the lake. The hike is 12 miles roundtrip, so be prepared for a cardiovascular workout. 

Fishing at Wallowa Lake! As much as I love the outdoors, fishing has never been a skill of mine. I don't eat fish anymore, so it seems pointless to catch one. If you're into the sport, Wallowa Lake holds 8 Oregon State Records for 'Largest Kokanee Caught.' I managed to walk around the perimeter of the lake, where one would fish if one was a fisher. I can tell you it was windy AF, but also beautiful AF. 

Take a ride on the steepest 4-person tram in the U.S.! Unfortunately, the tram begins operating in June. I plan on making a trip back and riding the tram for myself someday, but if you make it there before I do, take a pic for me, k? The views look well worth the $31 ticket cost. 

What to eat?

Doesn't everyone who goes out into the wild eat s'mores? No? Well, I'm not everyone I suppose, hey? I was spoiled with these all natural/organic/vegan goodies to make my s'mores with. Just attempting to live a 'zero refined sugar' life! 

I would be lying if I told you I made s'mores without a hitch. I didn't think about the amount of moisture that would be present {Toto, we're not in the Black Hills anymore}. Every stick and all the kindling seemed too wet to catch fire. So, I mimed making s'mores, even going as far as putting my marshmallow on a stick. Then, I ate my s'mores dry and unmelted. Better than nothing, but not a true s'more experience. Make sure you have dry firewood before arriving.

Special thanks to Super 1 Foods and Hertz Car Rental. Let's all try to #getoutside more often!