Echo

Date of visit: May 27, 2012
Population: 699 (2010 Census)

The town of Echo sits on the east side of the Umatilla River. Before the town even existed the Umatilla Indian Agency (for the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla tribes) was established on the west side of the river in 1851. However during the Yakima Indian War of 1855 Indians destroyed it. The Oregon Mounted Volunteers built a stockade on the site, called Fort Henrietta. It was abandoned in 1856, and all that remains of the old fort is the blockhouse that you can visit at Fort Henrietta Park.

 

Welcome to Echo

Echo main street
Main Street

Teel Building
Teel Building

H&P Cafe
H&P Cafe

Post office
Post Office

Blockhouse
Blockhouse from Fort Henrietta

Echo Methodist Church
Echo Methodist Church

Ross House
The Ross House, built in 1910

Map of Echo

Oregon Towns Project

Canadian Rockies Day 11: Columbia Headwaters

August 6, 2016

The last day of our trip was gray and rainy so we did not hike. Instead we drove down to the little community of Canal Flats. There’s a little interpretive trail winding through the wetlands there and we wanted to see it because these wetlands are where the mighty Columbia River begins. I live near the river about 1,200 miles downstream where it is wide and HUGE. It was very cool to see the spot where it all begins.

Head of the Columbia

Head of the Columbia

The wetland is at the head of Columbia Lake. We stopped at a roadside viewpoint off Highway 95 to check out the view of the lake.

Columbia Lake

With such wet miserable weather, we had perfect conditions for visiting the hot springs. (On a side note, I don’t get the attraction of visiting hot springs during warm weather.) So we went to Radium Hot Springs and enjoyed a nice hot soak.

RadiumHotSprings

After eating dinner in Invermere we found a geocache with a view. Well, not today, as the day’s clouds were clinging to the mountains.

Non-view in Invermere

On the way back to the hotel we saw a bighorn sheep near the road. Based on the signs and warnings we saw all over this area, the sheep love to hang out here and are a common sight.

Bighorn Sheep

This was the view looking west from our hotel that evening. A beautiful sight to end our trip with!

Sunset view

So that was our Canadian Rockies trip! What an insanely gorgeous place. We definitely want to go back and do more exploring and hiking.

<< Day 10: Bugaboo Pass

Canadian Rockies Day 10: Bugaboo Pass

August 5, 2016

There are numerous hiking trails in the vicinity of Radium Hot Springs, where we stayed for the last three nights of our trip, but we were light on books and maps that described those hikes. I had done 100% of the planning for this trip since Greg was so busy, and I had run out of time to plan for this final leg before we left home. So we stopped in at the information center in town this morning after breakfast to see what we could find out. Long story short: Greg saw the following photo in a book called Hikes Around Invermere & the Columbia River Valley:

The Bugaboos are in the Purcell Mountains. Bugaboo Pass is below the Quintet Peaks just beyond Bugaboo Provincial Park’s southern boundary. The trailhead was at least an hour and a half drive from our hotel but the picture was definitely tantalizing, so we bought a copy of the book, went back to our room to gather our hiking gear, and hit the road at 9:50.

After 15 minutes of driving north on paved highway, the rest of the way was on dirt or gravel. The last stretch was pretty rough thanks to the road being chewed up from a logging operation, but we finally arrived at road’s end at 11:50. Road’s end was simply a large log laid across the road, beyond which point it would have been undrivable even without the log blocking our way.

Bugaboo Pass Hike

There was another vehicle there and we asked the driver how much further the trailhead was beyond the log. He said he wasn’t sure. It turned out he was volunteering his time on his day off to clear the trail with a weed whacker. (I realize this sounds like the start of some kind of hiker horror story, but we didn’t get any creepy vibes from this guy at all. He was very nice.)

It turned out the end of the road and the trailhead was just a short ways past the log, and we entered the forest, heading down the brushy trail:

Bugaboo Pass Hike

We had to cross Bugaboo Creek on two parallel logs. Note the crude sign on the near side of the creek, the only sign we saw all day:

Bugaboo Pass Hike

On the other side of the creek we climbed up a brushy slope, and then joined up with the old mining road. Although pretty choked with alder, it is still passable here. According to Northwest Trails: A Hiker’s Guide to National Parks and Wilderness Areas (1982): “The prospector’s road to the 7400-foot pass can be driven only partway so hiking distance varies from 1/2 – 3 miles.” It’s hard to imagine that this road was ever drivable at all. Actually, it’s incredible that this road was even built in the first place.

Bugaboo Pass Hike

According to the book we bought that morning (which was published in 1998), the hike stays with the old road, but things have changed in the past 18 years. We didn’t say with the old road for long before a very clear user trail headed uphill to the right and the way forward on the road looked impassible. So we followed the trail. It was easy enough to follow, but quite steep in spots. At least it wasn’t as brushy as the road. The biting flies were AWFUL, though, and it was a pretty warm day, so the going was tough. This part of the hike was really not fun.

The trail met back up with the road and we continued on toward the pass. This is bear country and our visibility was very low because of the vegetation, so we hollered “hey bear!” as we hiked.

Bugaboo Pass Hike

Then we finally emerged out into the meadows on the slope below the pass.

Bugaboo Pass Hike

Bugaboo Pass Hike

The old road kept switchbacking up, but we went straight following another boot path parallel to and uphill of the creek. The book description in no way reflected reality at this point, and we had no map of this hike (even if we did it too would not have reflected reality), so we simply meandered as we liked. Our late start meant the light was not great for photography (note for you photographers out there: this slope faces east and the best light would be first thing in the morning), but the wildflowers were still a sight to behold.

Bugaboo Pass Hike

Bugaboo Pass Hike

Bugaboo Pass Hike

Bugaboo Pass Hike

Bugaboo Pass Hike

Bugaboo Pass Hike

Bugaboo Pass Hike

Bugaboo Pass Hike

Bugaboo Pass Hike

Bugaboo Pass Hike

Bugaboo Pass Hike

Bugaboo Pass Hike

Bugaboo Pass Hike

The wildflowers we had encountered thus far were beyond satisfactory and after the steep buggy climb we were too tired to go all the way up to the pass proper, but if we did the view over the other side would have looked something like this (with a heck of a lot less snow). That’s Rory Creek down there:

As we started to head back down, weed-whacker guy emerged from the tree-choked road. We couldn’t believe he had made it all the way up! We thanked him for his hard work, and enjoyed the fruits of his labor on the way back as we hiked down the less-brushy road. It’ll only be a matter of time before nature starts encroaching again, though.

Bugaboo Pass Hike

Bugaboo Pass Hike

Crossing back over the creek near the trailhead:

Bugaboo Pass Hike

Navigating the horribly chewed-up road back to the car:

Bugaboo Pass Hike

This was by far the most adventurous hike of our entire trip. So far all our hikes had been in national or provincial parks on signed maintained trails. This hike was not in any park, not officially maintained, with no signs. We have been on trails like this before; we’ve certainly done our fair share of these kinds of hikes back home since the Forest Service doesn’t have much of a trail maintenance budget. This was also the only hike of our trip where we weren’t sharing the trail with hoards of other hikers, which was refreshing. Except for that guy, we didn’t see anybody else on the trail.

<< Day 9: Stanley Glacier | Day 11: Columbia Headwaters

Canadian Rockies Day 9: Stanley Glacier

August 4, 2016

Today we checked out of our hotel in Canmore and headed to Radium Hot Springs on the British Columbia side of the Rockies. We stopped at a roadside pull-out on Highway 93 at Vermillion Pass. There is a sign there acknowledging the Continental Divide and the border between Alberta and British Columbia as well as the border between Banff and Kootenay National Parks.

Continental Divide

Just a short ways beyond that we pulled into the trailhead parking area for the Stanley Glacier Trail. Right away the trail crosses the Vermillion River on a high footbridge.

Stanley Glacier Hike

Stanley Glacier Hike

The trail climbs up the slope through a recovering forest. This area burned in 1968, but most recently burned in August 2003 when crews intentionally set a fire here to prevent the spread of the Tokumm-Verendrye Fire.

Stanley Glacier Hike

The trail crosses Stanley Creek at this super lovely spot backdropped by Stanley Peak:

Stanley Glacier Hike

The trail emerges from the forest and begins climbing up the rocky valley toward our destination, a sort of rocky plateau at the head of the valley, which you can make out in the distance:

Stanley Glacier Hike

Looking back at the way we came and Mt. Whymper across the highway:

Stanley Glacier Hike

Meltwater from an upper snowfield was creating this cool waterfall down the limestone cliff:

Stanley Glacier Hike

Getting closer to the plateau:

Stanley Glacier Hike

Looking back down they valley once we reached the plateau:

Stanley Glacier Hike

Stanley Glacier Hike

The plateau sits just below the Stanley Glacier and is a lovely spot with a forest and a marshy meadow area:

Stanley Glacier Hike

Stanley Glacier Hike

Stanley Glacier Hike

Stanley Glacier Hike

Stanley Glacier Hike

We saw several ptarmigan up there as well. Cool!

Stanley Glacier Hike

Stanley Glacier Hike

The water flowing from the glacier is the start of Stanley Creek, a delightful burbling body of water:

Stanley Glacier Hike

Stanley Glacier Hike

Stanley Glacier Hike

Stanley Glacier Hike

After hanging out on the plateau and enjoying the lovely spot, we headed back down. Greg paused at the edge of the plateau to admire the view:

Stanley Glacier Hike

Back in the car we drove all the way through Kootenay National Park to the other side and the town of Radium Hot Springs where we checked into our hotel. The hotel turned out to be not very good, but we did have a nice view west of the mountains.

Radium Hot Springs view

<< Day 8: Afternoon Tea | Day 10: Bugaboo Pass >>