Hunting Opuntia x columbiana

September 4, 2007: Camping at Dug Bar, Hell’s Canyon, Snake River, Wallowa County, OR: The night was almost too warm for sleep. The rocks radiate heat stored by the sun during the day so wrapping up in a sleeping bag was overkill. Chris, Lucy (dog) and I were camped at Dug Bar, alongside the Snake River, deep in Hell’s Canyon.

Lucy is used to camping and remained curled up in her bed while it was dark. The call of an owl during the night did not disturb her. Early morning though, at first light of day, something caught her attention and she barked a warning.

Awakened by her bark… Finally we spotted the culprits… five deer were descending the hill across the river. At her bark they took up watchful stances. We could hear their snorts of alarm. It was interesting to note that three of the deer looked in different directions, facing outward like the three corners of a triangle. Lucy’s bark echoed off the canyon walls so the deer may have been unsure where the threat was coming from. They wouldn’t be denied their drink of water so eventually they came to the river bank. Then they headed back up the ridge traveling single file, making the climb up a near vertical canyon wall look easy.

Flat tire, Dug Bar
Chris Rea Changing tire Dug Bar

Chris had bad news to report. We had a flat tire on the truck. After packing our gear we changed the tire. Thankfully the spare held air pressure.There’s nothing much worse than a flat tire unless it is two flat tires.

We decided to head directly for the Les Schwab tire store in Enterprise and either buy new tires or get this one repaired. We hoped also that we would not have a second flat. Rock roads are tough on tires. We would breathe a sigh of relief once we were back to the main road where we had a chance to get help if we had another flat. In the canyon, at Dug Bar, our only contact would have been one of the jet boats. It might have been a long wait for a rescue vehicle to join us.

Prickly Pear Cactus
Opuntia x columbiana (Prickly Pear)

Along the road to Dug Bar you might notice Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia x columbiana)… apparently this plant is a hybrid between two species.

The Les Schwab tire store recommended a repair on our flat tire which they accomplished at no charge so we were back on the road in short time.

Due to the lateness in the day we decided to camp for the night back at the pond near Summit Road where we camped before. It was cloudy and threatened to rain. We did see flashes of lightning and heard distant rumbles of thunder so we prepared to get wet.


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