Last weekend Lizman and I traveled to Wallowa Lake just outside of Joseph, Oregon to attend church camp. Once a year families from our church travel to Wallowa Lake for a four day weekend. The wonderful aspect of church camp is that you have the freedom to join in with activities or do your own thing. We usually do a combination of both. On our way to camp I was able to check on four boxes and I am happy to report that all four are doing just fine.
Veggie Tales - Box # 1 Bob the Tomato - Alive and Well (Pictured Above)
Veggie Tales - Box # 2 Larry the Cucumber - Alive and Well (Pictured Below)
Veggie tales - Box # 3 Jr. Asparagus - Stamp Broken in 2 but Still Okay to Use
Hit and Run Moo - Alive and Well (Pictured in Lizman's Hand Below - The Drama of the Moment)
While we were at the small park in Joseph checking on Hit and Run Moo I was alone reaching for the box (Lizman was in the car waiting for me). Just as I leaned across the creek to reach for the box one of my crocks slipped off my foot into the water. I started running down stream after it yelling to Lizman at the same time to help me. I am sure I looked like an insane woman. Thank heavens it got hung up on a rock for just a moment and I was able to get ahead of it and snatch it before it was lost down stream. With my blister from hell still a nightmare these shoes were my only option for most of the weekend.
Once we arrived at camp we were welcomed by deer just outside the door of our three person sized yurt. There are many of dear roaming the grounds and we do maintain a safe distance from them (and never feed them) although they are so beautiful to watch.
Our first night at camp I was burning the midnight oil after camp fire with my carving tools and magnifying light. We were heading up the Wallowa Lake Tramway the next afternoon and I wanted to plant while I was at the top of the mountain. Fortunately I finished my Mountain Top Maiden carving and got her boxed up and ready to make the journey.
I had time in the morning before the tramway ride to check on my Chief Joseph box and I was thrilled that he was doing great. He is one of my large detailed carvings that I was hoping was still alive. I also found Geocache trinkets in the box and even a picture of a family. I am not totally sure who has visited more (Letterboxers or Geocachers) but the box has been active. Since this box is a traditional Letterbox and not a combination box I did remove the Geocaching trinkets.
After checking on my box I attempted to find Don and Gwen's Old Chief Joseph box that had been planted in 2007 but after working the clues several times I have a feeling that it has gone to the great spirit in the sky.
Chief Joseph - Alive and Well (Pictured Below)
After my Chief Joseph venture I was headed for my first trip up the Wallowa Lake Tramway to the top. I was with two non-boxing families who were willing to let me box while we were at the top. The $24 ride is about 15 minutes long. We had packed sack lunches to eat at the picnic tables and picked up ice tea at the restaurant. The views from the top of the mountain are breathtaking and the hiking is easy although even in July we encountered quite a bit of snow. Normally I would just power over snow in my waterproof hiking boots but with my blister I was forced to venture to the top in my crocks. I slipped, slid and did the best I could around and over the snow. At one point I bit my lip, slipped of my shoes and walked across the snow and mud barefoot. Burr! Nothing was going to stop me from at least finding one box and planting my own during my first visit. Just about this time my blister started bleeding. I am sure my non-boxing church friends thought I was insane by this juncture.
Our first stop as we made our way along the trails was an overlook of the valley. Mariette brought along a bag of peanuts in the shells from Costco for the little critters who dwell at the top of the mountain. I swear I was more thrilled about hand feeding the chipmunks, birds and squirrels than the kids were. I deemed myself the nut whisperer. After going through about half a bag of nuts and snapping a million pictures I got down to business planting my box. I think I found a perfect spot for the Mountain Top Maiden with a little protection from a fallen tree and some rocks. With it being under snow most of the year I hope the lock and lock helps the box stay safe and dry.
We continued next to look for the Mt. Howard box planted by Wood aug in 2006. We were walking the wrong direction and noted that we would need to back track our progress to find the box. It would just so happen that we crossed two very large mounds of snow when I realized I found the clues and we had to head back over the snow again to find the box. Jim volunteered to go back with me and he was thrilled when we found the box. I just love when new boxers experience their first find. The box was in great condition and I logged in while the group waited for us to scale over the snow once again.
By this time the camp was going to head to the lake to swim so Mariette and I stayed behind to see if we could locate the other box. We were enjoying the views and critters so much that I did not realize that we had hiked past the box at some point. We didn't have a trail map and were going the wrong direction so we were a little disorientated. In need of a potty break and a cold refreshment we called it good and enjoyed the views from the restaurant again. Mariette taught me the fine art of adding pictures and posts to Facebook while we sipped on iced tea before taking the tram back down the mountain. We had excellent phone service at the top of the mountain. Although I have had a Facebook account forever I really don't do much on it. I just don't have the time to spend on Facebook. I am sure my friends and family who do frequent facebook were probably shocked to see updates from me.
On Saturday I took off on my own to visit my favorite little shops in Joseph and to swing by the Joseph Cemetery that is 2 miles out of town. I was visiting the cemetery to scout out future planting locations in the area. I really love the old stone and iron work from the late 1800's and early 1900's. Although this cemetery did not have any iron work they did have some of the old stone work. I am also always fascinated by the names of people from so long ago. One of the names that I saw that I loved for some reason was Thomasine. She was the infant daughter of Mr. & Mrs. J.T. Leffler. According to her headstone she was only 7 months and 8 days old when she left this Earth. I wonder if she had been named after a Thomas in her family. As with most of the individuals and families who rest in our historic cemeteries I am sure that they have been long forgotten by their ancestors. I feel like my visits and pictures are a way of thanking them for paving the way for our future. I would eventually like to use these snap shots in my cards and scrapbooking not as something morbid but for the beautiful legacy they have left behind. I have images in my mind but I have not been able to work on them with mixed media paper crafts yet.
Saturday afternoon I participated in the church camp hike on the Joseph Trail. Janet and her family were kind enough to find some moleskin in town and I was able to doctor up my bloody blister just long enough to slip on my hiking boots for the hike. My crocks would not have worked as this trail was steeper than the mountain top and is fill of small sharp rocks. Although I was still in a lot of pain I really needed to check on my Pirates of the Caribbean series. I discovered that box 1 and 2 were still alive and well. Box 3 I confirmed as MIA and boxes 4, 5 and 6 cannot be found as the falls are raging and you can't even dream of crossing to get to them. The logs have washed away and part of the trail on the other side has eroded away too. I am considering re-carving the series and planting it all on just the one side of the trail. I did not have enough time or PZ Kut to undertake the salvation of the series during my visit this year. Once we returned to camp and I slipped off my boots and socks the moleskin came off too as it had shifted during the hike. Today I can finally say the blister is on the road to recovery. The last box I checked after leaving the trail was Fish Kiss. Unfortunately it could not be found but that one would be an easy one to replace if I decide to in the future.