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B 116 C 1 E Aug 1, 2014 F Sep 1, 2014
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London 2014

Pretty unique R8 GT Spider. What do you think?

B 270 C 2 E Jan 26, 2009 F Sep 1, 2014
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Another version of an image from early 2009 captured on a Canon 40D, recently-processed in Adobe Lightroom 5.5 and Photomatix 5 HDR software.

Tags:   Joshua Tree National Park sunrise Barker Dam California USA landscape photography Canon 40D road trip photo copyright 2009 Jeff Sullivan Joshua tree January

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The Hat Point public observation deck shadow is even with our pickup truck, parked below the fire lookout. Quite a view from up there!

The Hat Point fire lookout is really well built and with an outstanding view. There is a large public observation deck 3/4 of the way to the top. A sign indicated "two at a time" could visit the lookout cabin itself, BUT no rangers were in attendance and the small gate leading to the top was locked so we were more than happy to enjoy the view from the big public observation deck. Located at near 7,000 ft above Hells Canyon,the Snake River, and the Seven Devils Mountains to the east and the Imanah River Canyon and Wallowa Mountains to the West - - the views are simply OUTSTANDING.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On June 15th of 2011 my wife and I headed for Hat Point on the Oregon rim of Hell's Canyon. We had never been there and wanted to see the landscapes, wildflowers, and fire lookout tower. We didn't make it.

In 2011 we arrived at the small "village" of Imnaha, Oregon and it was getting late. We asked at the old grocery store/cafe in town (the only one) if there was a place we could camp for the night nearby. We were driving our 1994 4 x 4 Toyota pickup truck and we had a nice bed under a canopy in the back.

The young lady at the store directed us to a "parking lot" just a couple hundred yards up the hill from the store. It was a gravel parking lot and the only thing that identified it as a "camping place" was an older model porta-potty. No water, no picnic tables, just a level gravel lot with a porta-potty. We had paid just $5.00 and since we were the only "campers" that night, it was quiet and served its purpose.

The next morning we started up the steep dirt road toward Hat Point. It was a gorgeous morning with the Imnaha River Canyon walls covered with bright green early summer grass and decorated with wildflowers like lupine and balsam root.

We topped out of the canyon and drove perhaps a dozen miles when we reached snow, a foot or more deep, which covered and blocked the road. We were several miles short of our Hat Point destination, but certainly didn't consider the attempt a failure. The landscapes were big, bold, and beautiful and we vowed to return ... some day.

Fast forward: Tuesday August 26th, 2014 my wife and I headed for Hat Point......once again. We had just purchased a 2014 Nissan Frontier 4 x 4 pickup truck and put a canopy on the back and a mattress inside for old folks camping in comfort. It needed some dirt road travel to properly break it in (HA).

In addition to our destination of the Hat Point fire lookout tower, it was my hope that the dirt road up the Imnaha River from the village of Imnaha to Forest Service Road # 39 would be open, so we could drive it for the first time (it was and we did, the next day).

As with our 2011 road trip we arrived fairly late in the day at Imnaha, Oregon. We had to drive slowly and carefully from Joseph to Imnaha, due to all the mule deer on or near the road at that time of day. Some cute little spotted fawns along the way with their mothers.

We had enough time to make it to one of the two campgrounds shown on our maps (campgrounds come and go in the back country so we didn't know if either or both would be open or even there anymore). So up the steep grade of the Imnaha River Canyon we climbed.

A big surprise: a wildfire had swept up the canyon not too long ago so everything below the road (which had served as a fire break and fire fighting line) was scorched. What a difference from the June of 2011 condition of that part of the canyon.

We soon passed through the wildfire burned area and into the pine trees on top the canyon rim. A mother elk and her young calf watched us go by and a few deer darted into the woods as we slowly made progress up the road.

We saw ONE car coming down the dirt road (in the burned section) and we would not see another vehicle nor another person until we returned to the village of Imnaha the next day.

It was getting dark by the time we reached Saddle Creek Canyon campground. About 8 camping spots, with an outhouse; picnic tables; and fire pits; and a view that would knock your socks off. The campground was perched on the Hells Canyon rim overlooking where the Snake River makes its way through Hells Canyon and the impressive Seven Devils mountains across the canyon on the Idaho side.

No other campers; no fee; beautiful spot...done deal. We set up camp, which consisted of parking the truck and rolling out our sleeping bags on the mattress in the back of the pickup truck. Easy. Opened the canopy windows for a screened light breeze, closed the tailgate and canopy rear window and we had a great place to sleep. The air was cool since the campground was located at 6,600 ft.

It would be a four or five mile drive the next morning to check out the views, the road, the fire lookout and the Sacagawea campground near the fire lookout, that was shown on at least one of our maps.

There were four highlights of this road trip: The stars above our camp at Saddle Creek Canyon; the fire lookout at Hat Point (and view from near the top); three Imnaha River otter, we would encounter the next morning; and a short distance farther up the river a big but cautious desert canyon black bear.

About midnight Tuesday night I felt the "need" to open up the rear window of our truck canopy and step outside for a short trip to outhouse (too much diet Pepsi). When I stepped outside I was honestly overwhelmed and awed by the night sky. Black sky full of bright white stars, the Milky Way clearly visible overhead, and because we were above 6,000 ft. on a canyon rim peninsula, the stars wrapped all the way around out camp. It was an outstanding view. No city lights to dampen the sharp contrast between stars and black sky matrix. BEAUTIFUL.

I got up before my wife the next morning and roamed the canyon rim with my camera while she got some extra sleep. Soon though we were on our way to Hat Point. Nice drive. Impressive fire lookout tower and the views from the "visitors' platform" of the fire lookout would be difficult to beat. To the northeast we could see the Snake River, up river from Pittsburg Landing, where my wife and I have camped and hiked before and where we started a jet boat trip one year, that took us through some impressive rapids, by historic ranches, and all the way to Hells Canyon dam.

Fireweed and Indian paintbrush were in bloom everywhere around the fire lookout tower. In 2007, a wildfire swept the area of the fire lookout and alert and resourceful rangers, saved the fire lookout from burning by wrapping the base in fireproof Kevlar.

We put the pickup in four wheel drive and checked out the "site" of the Sacagawea "dispersed camping" campground. Forget it. It is going to seed and wouldn't interest us as a place to camp, not after being spoiled at Saddle Creek Canyon campground.

After our visit to Hat Point and the fire lookout tower, we slowly drove back to the town of Imnaha, stopping at vistas such as Granny's viewpoint, which has a nice looping paved path, giving you dramatic views of the Imnaha River canyon below and the Eagle Cap Mountains to the west. All of this and we were the only two people in the area on Wednesday morning. How I love back roads. Good to have a wife who enjoys exploring places like this as well.

My wife and I have driven the Forest Service Road (#39) between the road from Brownlee Dam (to Halfway, Oregon) and Joseph several times, in both directions. But lately that road has been closed due to slides and flooding, so it hasn't been all that dependable a route to count on. Signs at Imnaha indicated one hour delays on FR # 39 on the Brownlee dam end of the route.

Having never driven the dirt road up the Imnaha River to where it meets Forest Road #39, that is where we headed. The river is clear and lovely. The upper river, where we had visited before has a multi colored, free stone bed river, and is fast running cold and clear. LOTS of private land on either side of the river.

I had to chuckle at the numerous and bright signs stating: Private Property. No Trespassing. No hunting. No fishing. Violators prosecuted to the full extent of the law (it didn't mention survivors would be prosecuted but the message was clear).

Can't blame ranchers and farmers though, with the way some people treat the land and occasionally livestock are accidentally shot by hunters. Still....doesn't NO TRESPASSING pretty much cover it? I mean if you can't trespass, it should be pretty self evident that you can't hunt, fish, picnic, gather mushrooms, or frolic. NO TRESPASSING PRIVATE PROPERY, should pretty much cover it.

So, way up the river was a sign indicating that the next nine tenths of a mile, the Imnaha River was open to public access (fishing). It was here I pulled over under a pine tree, so my wife and I could have a tailgate lunch (picnic). There may be nine tenths of a mile of river "available" to the public, but it looked like you would have to have rappelling equipment and the requisite rappelling skills to exercise that option.

Here though, was the prettiest stretch of the Imnaha River, we saw. Deep pools, white frothing rapids, and a short waterfalls or two made this an appealing stretch of river.

While my wife was preparing our tailgate picnic, I spotted three HUGE fish in the river, but they were too big to be fish, even for salmon or steelhead. They were three river otter, playing like otter do, as they made their way down the river, headed for a lively white water section of the river. What a show.

I ran along the dirt road above the river, observing the otter, and trying my best to get some kind of photograph of them, but they appeared and disappeared with ease so the only decent photos I got of them, is when as a group they made the decision NOT to go over the small waterfalls, but to "portage themselves" along the solid rock right bank of the river. What a wonderful experience it was to view these wild river otter in, what seemed to me, a most unusual environment.

All the limited river access meant light fishing pressure, so the three otter took full advantage of the situation. After watching the otter glide downstream I spotted a nice sized steelhead in the river. Otter certainly had a great place to live and find a meal.

After lunch, we started on up the river. We hadn't gone more than a mile or two when I saw what looked like a large black Newfoundland dog, making its way to the river. I didn't expect to see otter in the river and I certainly didn't expect to encounter a black bear either, but that was what it was.

My wife said "bear" before the fact had registered with me, that she was right. To keep this short, I didn't get a photograph of the bear, to corroborate the sighting.

When I stopped the truck the bear did a 180 and returned to the brush bordering the river. It turned and looked at us. I backed up to where I had a clear view of the bear, and when I lowered the window to take a photo...off went the bear. I would have loved to have been able to get a photo of a black bear in such an unlikely location...but it wasn't to be.

That's the story. We returned to Joseph, Oregon on Forest Service Road #39 then took another route toward home. We drove by Joseph Canyon; on to Anatone; and then into Lewiston and Clarkston, where we spent some time.

We slept in the back of the truck again Wednesday night and got up early to head back home on Thursday morning. Once again, a fun road trip, and .... you never know what you will see when traveling America's back roads, which are treasures, as are the small towns along the way.

Enjoy some of the photos we took on this short three day road trip. Mr. and Mrs. OMT 30 August 2014

Here are a few links from our June 2011 road trip attempting to reach Hat Point, to compare with the August 2014 photographs:

Imnaha River Canyon with green grass and wildflowers (June 2011):
www.flickr.com/photos/12150532@N04/12385296424/in/photoli...


Stopped by snow (June 2011):
www.flickr.com/photos/12150532@N04/5853663900/in/photolis...

Starting up the Hat Point road from downtown Imnaha, Oregon (June 2011):

www.flickr.com/photos/12150532@N04/5853634848/in/photolis...

Tags:   Hat Point fire lookout tower Hells Canyon Oregon Snake River rim Hells Canyon fire lookout towers pickup camping road trip Northeastern Oregon Imnaha Oregon

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The Hat Point fire lookout is really well built and with an outstanding view. There is a large public observation deck 3/4 of the way to the top. A sign indicated "two at a time" could visit the lookout cabin itself, BUT no rangers were in attendance and the small gate leading to the top was locked so we were more than happy to enjoy the view from the big public observation deck. Located at near 7,000 ft above Hells Canyon,the Snake River, and the Seven Devils Mountains to the east and the Imanah River Canyon and Wallowa Mountains to the West - - the views are simply OUTSTANDING.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On June 15th of 2011 my wife and I headed for Hat Point on the Oregon rim of Hell's Canyon. We had never been there and wanted to see the landscapes, wildflowers, and fire lookout tower. We didn't make it.

In 2011 we arrived at the small "village" of Imnaha, Oregon and it was getting late. We asked at the old grocery store/cafe in town (the only one) if there was a place we could camp for the night nearby. We were driving our 1994 4 x 4 Toyota pickup truck and we had a nice bed under a canopy in the back.

The young lady at the store directed us to a "parking lot" just a couple hundred yards up the hill from the store. It was a gravel parking lot and the only thing that identified it as a "camping place" was an older model porta-potty. No water, no picnic tables, just a level gravel lot with a porta-potty. We had paid just $5.00 and since we were the only "campers" that night, it was quiet and served its purpose.

The next morning we started up the steep dirt road toward Hat Point. It was a gorgeous morning with the Imnaha River Canyon walls covered with bright green early summer grass and decorated with wildflowers like lupine and balsam root.

We topped out of the canyon and drove perhaps a dozen miles when we reached snow, a foot or more deep, which covered and blocked the road. We were several miles short of our Hat Point destination, but certainly didn't consider the attempt a failure. The landscapes were big, bold, and beautiful and we vowed to return ... some day.

Fast forward: Tuesday August 26th, 2014 my wife and I headed for Hat Point......once again. We had just purchased a 2014 Nissan Frontier 4 x 4 pickup truck and put a canopy on the back and a mattress inside for old folks camping in comfort. It needed some dirt road travel to properly break it in (HA).

In addition to our destination of the Hat Point fire lookout tower, it was my hope that the dirt road up the Imnaha River from the village of Imnaha to Forest Service Road # 39 would be open, so we could drive it for the first time (it was and we did, the next day).

As with our 2011 road trip we arrived fairly late in the day at Imnaha, Oregon. We had to drive slowly and carefully from Joseph to Imnaha, due to all the mule deer on or near the road at that time of day. Some cute little spotted fawns along the way with their mothers.

We had enough time to make it to one of the two campgrounds shown on our maps (campgrounds come and go in the back country so we didn't know if either or both would be open or even there anymore). So up the steep grade of the Imnaha River Canyon we climbed.

A big surprise: a wildfire had swept up the canyon not too long ago so everything below the road (which had served as a fire break and fire fighting line) was scorched. What a difference from the June of 2011 condition of that part of the canyon.

We soon passed through the wildfire burned area and into the pine trees on top the canyon rim. A mother elk and her young calf watched us go by and a few deer darted into the woods as we slowly made progress up the road.

We saw ONE car coming down the dirt road (in the burned section) and we would not see another vehicle nor another person until we returned to the village of Imnaha the next day.

It was getting dark by the time we reached Saddle Creek Canyon campground. About 8 camping spots, with an outhouse; picnic tables; and fire pits; and a view that would knock your socks off. The campground was perched on the Hells Canyon rim overlooking where the Snake River makes its way through Hells Canyon and the impressive Seven Devils mountains across the canyon on the Idaho side.

No other campers; no fee; beautiful spot...done deal. We set up camp, which consisted of parking the truck and rolling out our sleeping bags on the mattress in the back of the pickup truck. Easy. Opened the canopy windows for a screened light breeze, closed the tailgate and canopy rear window and we had a great place to sleep. The air was cool since the campground was located at 6,600 ft.

It would be a four or five mile drive the next morning to check out the views, the road, the fire lookout and the Sacagawea campground near the fire lookout, that was shown on at least one of our maps.

There were four highlights of this road trip: The stars above our camp at Saddle Creek Canyon; the fire lookout at Hat Point (and view from near the top); three Imnaha River otter, we would encounter the next morning; and a short distance farther up the river a big but cautious desert canyon black bear.

About midnight Tuesday night I felt the "need" to open up the rear window of our truck canopy and step outside for a short trip to outhouse (too much diet Pepsi). When I stepped outside I was honestly overwhelmed and awed by the night sky. Black sky full of bright white stars, the Milky Way clearly visible overhead, and because we were above 6,000 ft. on a canyon rim peninsula, the stars wrapped all the way around out camp. It was an outstanding view. No city lights to dampen the sharp contrast between stars and black sky matrix. BEAUTIFUL.

I got up before my wife the next morning and roamed the canyon rim with my camera while she got some extra sleep. Soon though we were on our way to Hat Point. Nice drive. Impressive fire lookout tower and the views from the "visitors' platform" of the fire lookout would be difficult to beat. To the northeast we could see the Snake River, up river from Pittsburg Landing, where my wife and I have camped and hiked before and where we started a jet boat trip one year, that took us through some impressive rapids, by historic ranches, and all the way to Hells Canyon dam.

Fireweed and Indian paintbrush were in bloom everywhere around the fire lookout tower. In 2007, a wildfire swept the area of the fire lookout and alert and resourceful rangers, saved the fire lookout from burning by wrapping the base in fireproof Kevlar.

We put the pickup in four wheel drive and checked out the "site" of the Sacagawea "dispersed camping" campground. Forget it. It is going to seed and wouldn't interest us as a place to camp, not after being spoiled at Saddle Creek Canyon campground.

After our visit to Hat Point and the fire lookout tower, we slowly drove back to the town of Imnaha, stopping at vistas such as Granny's viewpoint, which has a nice looping paved path, giving you dramatic views of the Imnaha River canyon below and the Eagle Cap Mountains to the west. All of this and we were the only two people in the area on Wednesday morning. How I love back roads. Good to have a wife who enjoys exploring places like this as well.

My wife and I have driven the Forest Service Road (#39) between the road from Brownlee Dam (to Halfway, Oregon) and Joseph several times, in both directions. But lately that road has been closed due to slides and flooding, so it hasn't been all that dependable a route to count on. Signs at Imnaha indicated one hour delays on FR # 39 on the Brownlee dam end of the route.

Having never driven the dirt road up the Imnaha River to where it meets Forest Road #39, that is where we headed. The river is clear and lovely. The upper river, where we had visited before has a multi colored, free stone bed river, and is fast running cold and clear. LOTS of private land on either side of the river.

I had to chuckle at the numerous and bright signs stating: Private Property. No Trespassing. No hunting. No fishing. Violators prosecuted to the full extent of the law (it didn't mention survivors would be prosecuted but the message was clear).

Can't blame ranchers and farmers though, with the way some people treat the land and occasionally livestock are accidentally shot by hunters. Still....doesn't NO TRESPASSING pretty much cover it? I mean if you can't trespass, it should be pretty self evident that you can't hunt, fish, picnic, gather mushrooms, or frolic. NO TRESPASSING PRIVATE PROPERY, should pretty much cover it.

So, way up the river was a sign indicating that the next nine tenths of a mile, the Imnaha River was open to public access (fishing). It was here I pulled over under a pine tree, so my wife and I could have a tailgate lunch (picnic). There may be nine tenths of a mile of river "available" to the public, but it looked like you would have to have rappelling equipment and the requisite rappelling skills to exercise that option.

Here though, was the prettiest stretch of the Imnaha River, we saw. Deep pools, white frothing rapids, and a short waterfalls or two made this an appealing stretch of river.

While my wife was preparing our tailgate picnic, I spotted three HUGE fish in the river, but they were too big to be fish, even for salmon or steelhead. They were three river otter, playing like otter do, as they made their way down the river, headed for a lively white water section of the river. What a show.

I ran along the dirt road above the river, observing the otter, and trying my best to get some kind of photograph of them, but they appeared and disappeared with ease so the only decent photos I got of them, is when as a group they made the decision NOT to go over the small waterfalls, but to "portage themselves" along the solid rock right bank of the river. What a wonderful experience it was to view these wild river otter in, what seemed to me, a most unusual environment.

All the limited river access meant light fishing pressure, so the three otter took full advantage of the situation. After watching the otter glide downstream I spotted a nice sized steelhead in the river. Otter certainly had a great place to live and find a meal.

After lunch, we started on up the river. We hadn't gone more than a mile or two when I saw what looked like a large black Newfoundland dog, making its way to the river. I didn't expect to see otter in the river and I certainly didn't expect to encounter a black bear either, but that was what it was.

My wife said "bear" before the fact had registered with me, that she was right. To keep this short, I didn't get a photograph of the bear, to corroborate the sighting.

When I stopped the truck the bear did a 180 and returned to the brush bordering the river. It turned and looked at us. I backed up to where I had a clear view of the bear, and when I lowered the window to take a photo...off went the bear. I would have loved to have been able to get a photo of a black bear in such an unlikely location...but it wasn't to be.

That's the story. We returned to Joseph, Oregon on Forest Service Road #39 then took another route toward home. We drove by Joseph Canyon; on to Anatone; and then into Lewiston and Clarkston, where we spent some time.

We slept in the back of the truck again Wednesday night and got up early to head back home on Thursday morning. Once again, a fun road trip, and .... you never know what you will see when traveling America's back roads, which are treasures, as are the small towns along the way.

Enjoy some of the photos we took on this short three day road trip. Mr. and Mrs. OMT 30 August 2014

Here are a few links from our June 2011 road trip attempting to reach Hat Point, to compare with the August 2014 photographs:

Imnaha River Canyon with green grass and wildflowers (June 2011):
www.flickr.com/photos/12150532@N04/12385296424/in/photoli...


Stopped by snow (June 2011):
www.flickr.com/photos/12150532@N04/5853663900/in/photolis...

Starting up the Hat Point road from downtown Imnaha, Oregon (June 2011):

www.flickr.com/photos/12150532@N04/5853634848/in/photolis...


Tags:   Hat Point fire lookout tower Hells Canyon Oregon Snake River rim Hells Canyon fire lookout towers pickup camping road trip Northeastern Oregon Imnaha Oregon

B 224 C 0 E May 25, 2014 F Sep 1, 2014
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