Art and Connie's 2008-2011 Adventures travel blog

Along Hurricane Creek Trail

Lots of water along Hurricane Creek Trail

Hells Canyon Overlook in Oregon

We’ve been in Joseph, Oregon for about eight days now and are enjoying many of the aspects of the cocoon-like living of small town living. We took a couple more hikes and our best one so far was to an area called Hurricane Creek. The trail ran through a canyon with a rushing creek on one side and looming granite mountains on the other side. We hiked in for three miles to a section called Slick Rock Gorge where a waterfall tumbled over the granite rocks into Hurricane Creek. It was a beautiful hike with a very remote feel. We’ve been blessed with fantastic weather in Wallowa Valley – I’ve heard that other parts of the country are experiencing heavy rain, hurricanes, and hot weather.

Our RV park is within walking distance of downtown Joseph, so we often take a stroll after breakfast or dinner. We’ve ventured out to the nearby town of Enterprise, which is only six miles away. It bills itself as a “real town” perhaps a dig at Joseph which may be considered by some to be a “tourist town.” In Enterprise, there is no attempt to attract tourists like Joseph has done – there are no public art sculptures, no art galleries or coffee shops. Enterprise looks and feels like a purely functional town (it is the county seat). However, in Enterprsie, we enjoyed a free outdoor concert of local musicians playing acoustic guitar similar in style to Eric Clapton (when he plays acoustic). The two men were very good musicians who played mostly original music, which is rare.

If you read our previous post, you might remember that we took a jetboat trip along the Snake River in Hells Canyon in Idaho. Well, we wanted to see what Hells Canyon looked like from above so we did an abbreviated drive of the Hells Canyon Scenic byway to a scenic overlook. The drive was longer in mileage than stated in brochures along a paved, twisty forest road. A bit too long for me but OK for Art.

It is Labor Day weekend but you wouldn’t know it being here in Joseph. There are more people in town than there was at the beginning of the week but it is far from crowded. I keep forgetting I am not home with the usual crush of people during the holiday weekends.

While I am enjoying the low-key days in Joseph and the Wallowa Valley, there are a couple of aspects of living in a small town that take some adjusting – like the lack of choice, for one thing. For example, having only one independent grocery store with vegetables that look so bad that it almost makes you want to buy frozen or canned vegetables! We are spoiled Californians still looking for that 50 cent red pepper or lettuce that isn’t wilted. Art wanted to make a pizza but the store in Joseph doesn’t carry pizza dough. Here, there is one gas station, one restaurant that is decent but feels pretentious with a price to match. Who would have thought that I would be wishing for a Wal*Mart for shopping! When we do get into a town with a Wal*Mart or a decent supermarket, we are like kids in a candy shop, thrilled with the choices and make it a point to stock up!

I guess, at heart, I am a city person who likes all the trappings of the city (except the crowds). But in the meantime, I’ll guess I’ll have to “suffer” with the relaxing, friendly atmosphere of a small town.

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