September 2, 2007: Meacham, Umatilla County, OR: It was Labor Day weekend and Chris and I had decided to brave the holiday traffic. We were headed for Dug Bar on the Snake River 30 miles north of Imnaha, Wallowa County, OR.
We stopped at the Meacham exit in the Blue Mountains to give Lucy a break and stretch our legs. This gumweed plant (Grindelia nana) greeted us roadside.
The dodge collected a yellow butterfly in the grill. We identified it as a Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice).
At the crest of the ridge we took the exit to Summit Road and followed FSR 31 for a forty mile drive across to the Tollgate highway SH 204. It is a delightful and scenic drive but is gravel most of the way. We planned to camp for the night at a roadside pond where Chris could do some trout fishing and I could look for wildflowers.
After seeing many camps along the route we realized a hunting season was in effect and we would be lucky to find a camping spot. Fortunately we had our favorite camping spot to ourselves and we settled in for the night.
Chris did some fishing and caught a few trout (released). Trout were rising to a bug hatch but didn’t seem anxious to take flies or lures. The pond is small and standing near the middle Chris could cast to either end. As evening progressed small bats came out and skimmed the surface of the pond in their frenetic search for insects.
Finally, we watched the sun set in a fiery red display, coloring dust and smoke particles in the atmosphere. We heard quite a number of gun shots that seemed patterned… two quick shots followed by a single. Either they exhausted their supply of ammo or the desired result was achieved. Other than an occasional high altitude jet passing overhead the rest of the night was uneventful.