"A Wide World" ZanieOR's Profile
I work on a small weekly newspaper, the Wallowa County Chieftain, in the town of Joseph in the mountainous far northeastern corner of Oregon, in an out of the way (70 miles to the nearest freeway, 330 miles from Portland) and one of the most beautiful parts of the state.
We border Hells Canyon and boast the largest wilderness area, Eagle Cap, in the state.
We attract many visitors because of outdoor recreation, three bronze arts foundries and many galleries and the Old West atmosphere. Because we are so out of the way, visitors always feel they are 'discovering' us.
I'm originally from Pendleton, Oregon, which is about 120 miles west of here and where I still have quite a few relatives. In fact I own a 1/6 interest in the family wheat ranch 20 country miles from Pendleton, along with my four sisters and one brother.
I have lived in Joseph for 29 years, and raised both my daughter, 30 and son, 23, as a single mother here. Both graduated from high school here, where they were very active in the drama program.
I love Joseph but love to travel, and in June 2004 I am visiting London, the first time I've been able to travel anywhere that requires a passport.
I recently received my first-ever passport in the mail, a red letter day in my life.
(UPDATE: June 20, 2004: Returned a few days ago from London, where I had a wonderful, wonderful time. Was the ultimate real-time tourist, and my feet are still recovering. After seeing many of the "top" sights on this holiday, want to return for a more off-the-beaten path approach. Though we barely scratched the surface of places like British Museum and National Gallery. And there are so many other places to see.)
(UPDATE: Sept. 3, 2007: Last October I went on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera with my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter Lily, and in February took a solo trip to Las Vegas. I'm still hoping for a trip to Rome next year -- or may settle for being grandma nanny for my granddaughters for a wedding in Cancun, Mexico.)
Travels in the past few years have taken me to the Big Island of Hawaii; Puerta Vallerta, Mexico; Edmonton, Canada; the Oregon Coast; New York City; and Charleston and Savannah in the US; and, of course, the fantasy world of Las Vegas.
And I've barely started exploring the wide world out there.
The newspaper keeps me pretty busy, and I enjoy relaxing by reading fiction (good murder mysteries or science fiction are favorites) or obsessing about an upcoming trip in my spare time. I've recently started going to the little health club around the corner from work three or four times a week, and have dropped 15 pounds so far since January, in an effort to get in shape. I have a lot of walking to do in London.
I have a large and growing collection of pinback buttons, everything from political to travel to cultural buttons. My biggest (and a favorite) is a button of my daughter, son-in-law and son I recently received as a gift from them.
I live only a of couple miles from Wallowa Lake, which is a beautiful glacial lake about four miles long and a mile wide.
At the head or south end of the lake is a little resort area with cabins, restaurants, miniature golf, go carts, a 1920s lodge, a marina for boat launches and rentals, horse rentals, and a very nice 200-plus state park, which is like a friendly miniature city made up of RVs and tents in the summer.
There is a tram/gondola that goes up the side of Mt. Howard near the lake. The photo at the top of my homepage is a view of the lake from the top of the mountain.
End of the road is no figure of speech, as state Hwy. 82 south of Wallowa Lake ends a mile or so away at a trailhead into Eagle Cap Wilderness Area.
All of Wallowa County has only about 7,000 people, and while winter is fairly quiet (except for lots of meetings) the activity picks up during the summer months, with some volunteer-organized event going on every weekend.
For example in June we will have the Old-Time Fiddlers Contest, the Wallowa Valley Festival of Arts (a juried art show), Oregon Mountain Cruise Car Rally and the Wallowa Valley Quilt Guild Show.
July brings Fishtrap writers conference at Wallowa Lake; the Tamkaliks Celebration in Wallowa (about 25 miles from Joseph), which features a gathering of descendants of the Nez Perce who once lived here and dance pow wow; and the biggest event of the summer during the last ful weekend of the month, Chief Joseph Days, a big pro-rodeo rodeo celebration that brings about 10,000 people to little Joseph (pop. 1,000). It's a lot of fun and since I work on the weekly newspaper, very busy.
I forgot about the 4th of July celebration which includes an old-fashioned small town Independence Day parade in Wallowa, complete with horses, balloons, a Little Miss 4th of July, floats and lots of red-white and blue. There's usually a barbecue afterwards. In Lostine 10 miles up the valley is the three-day Lostine Flea Market when the Main St./state highway turns into a big flea market (about 100 booth).
Then up another 17 miles as dark falls residents and visitors alike gather for fireworks over Wallowa Lake. (Actually sometimes the fireworks is the day before or after the Fourth)
I might as well finish out the season.
In August, comes the Wallowa County fair, mostly for 4-H and FFA kids with lots of livestock and home ec exhibits; the Bronze, Blues and Brews Festival in Joseph City Park (very popular); the Wallowa Lake Chamber Music Festival (classical, a week-long workshop with public concerts); and a barn tour and antique tractor show.
The main events in September is Hells Canyon Mule Days in Enterprise, the county seat; and Alpenfest, a Bavarian-style celebration at Wallowa Lake that usually ends the tourist season.
There's also the Nez Perce Art in the Wallowas art show and auction (with buffalo/salmon dinner) and Imnaha Canyon Day in one of the most rugged little towns in the state.One of the main attractions is the Bear and Rattlesnake Feed. (yes, real bear and snake meat.)
You can see why us locals kind of draw a breath of relief when summer draws to an end, even though the winters are pretty long here. In the winter there's a locals ski area near Joseph with a T-Bar ran by Eagle Cap Ski Club.
There's been some attempts over the years to build a bigger ski area with big resort, but the community is always divided about it, and so far it hasn't happened. Since we are so far off the beaten path I really am not as afraid as some that we will ever turn into an overdeveloped Jackson Hole.
Remember the picture at the top of the page? Well actually that was my daughter, Jenny, and son-in-law, Lawrence, on a trip to Joseph before they were married. However, they chose the same mountain as the scene for their wedding in August, 2002.
It was absolutely beautiful!
(Update: They just happily celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary, and now have two darling daughters; their priorities have shifted entirely and they are they both super parents.)
First comes love, then the wedding ... A little over two years later the baby carriage arrived just on cue, and my first grandchild, Lillian Audrey, was born in Portland, Ore., on Oct 14, 2004, weighing in at 6 lbs and 8 oz., and measuring 18 1/2 inches tall.
She grew and grew and learned to walk and talk and ask questions ... Then on July 2, 2007, she became a big sister when Addie -- Adeline Faith -- arrived in the world, weighing in at 6 lbs. and 2 oz. and measuring 18 inches.
I feel so very, very lucky to have two beautiful granddaughters.
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