As Jane and I departed Kinney Lake, a small cluster of storm clouds gathered in the southwestern sky; however, they never produced rain on our return route to Wallowa Lake State Park. We quickly devoured our customary small lunch at site number 9, and then we decided to embark on our first hike in the Wallowas. With a series of threatening clouds overhead and to the west; I pulled on my rain pants, raincoat, and hiking boots at the campsite. For our Wednesday afternoon adventure we chose Hurricane Creek; one of the trails recommended by Sara at the national forest service office in Joseph.
In order to reach the trailhead we followed a narrow paved road for several miles until we reached a small turnaround with a bathroom. We prepared to hike, but before we made our first steps, thunder rumbled and lightning sparked across the sky. We wisely decided to initiate a rain delay, and we waited in the car until the core of the storm passed to the northeast. Since we were protected from head to toe in rain gear, we began our hike in light rain.
We followed the Hurricane Creek trail for .4 mile, and at this point we encountered a significant hurdle to our progress. A tributary, Falls Creek, rushed toward its confluence with Hurricane Creek, and a bridge or crossing was nowhere to be found. A large log spanned the creek fifteen yards upstream from the marked trail, so we moved closer to inspect this crossing option. The log was of adequate size, but it was very wet as a result of the rain; but more worrisome was its position seven feet above the raging creek. Good sense ruled the day, and we reversed our direction and found the intersection with the Falls Creek Trail.
This trail was also marked as an option by the forest service employee, but it was an unending uphill climb. In the absence of better options Jane and I accepted the challenge and scaled the steep switchback laden trail for 1.5 miles, before we turned around and returned to the car. We shed layers in rapid succession, but eventually we earned some spectacular views of the Hurricane Creek valley, snow capped mountains and an array of seasonal waterfalls. The thin ribbons of water began as snow packed chasms and then transitioned into plummeting chutes of water.
The Falls Creek hike sapped our energy, so we returned to our campsite for our normal evening routine. We quaffed some craft brews, before we ate the lentil/sausage soup that existed as a frozen block of broth on Tuesday evening. After dinner clean up I once again constructed a blazing fire with damp kindling and purchased firewood, but again our toasty comfort zone was interrupted by rain showers. We adjourned to the dryness of our tent and warmth of our sleeping bags and settled into another early slumber.