The Wallowa Mountains: Hidden Gem Of The Pacific Northwest Part 1 of 3

They say you can never return home.

Of course, change is a constant. Each time I return home it’s different. But the mountains remain.

As a kid, I spent many summers with my Grandparents up on “The Mountain”; our family ranch that sits at the base of Ruby Peak. I still have family on the mountain, and I still return at least once a year. These days my trips up there are less play and more work, but it’s a labor of love. We hunt, gather, and prepare the ranch for winter. This means waking up at 4:00 AM so that I can drink some coffee before hiking up the mountain to be in place before the sun comes up. Elk migrate up the mountain in the mornings and return to the valley below to feed on the alfalfa fields at night.

While I’m out, I keep an eye out for autumn mushrooms and other small game.

After the morning hunt, we eat breakfast, then head out to cut, gather, split, and stack firewood – hopefully enough to sustain the two households on the ranch for the winter. Of course, in addition to gathering wood, there are also many chores and things to fix on a ranch. Boredom is not an option.

Two-hours before sunset, we head out for the evening hunt. After dark, there is usually an opportunity to gather for family time, then early to bed to repeat the process the next day.

Whether the hunt is successful or not, it provides opportunities to connect with nature, family, and hard, wholesome work. In this short series, I share with you some of the incredible beauty of the mountain, so you can sleep in, stay warm, and still get to see a glimpse of this awesome experience.

(Click on any image to see it full-sized. All of these were taken with a Samsung Galaxy S7 phone. No editing or filters were used.)

After hiking up in the dark, and quietly waiting for the forest to wake-up, the first light is a welcome sight.

It doesn’t snow here before the hunt most years. As you’ll see through this series, it continued to accumulate over the few days I was there.

These clouds are rising like sleeping giants, waking up from their rest on the mountain.

This time of year, the sun remains low in the sky. Some of the deep ridges will remain in shadow until next spring.

Standing among giants.



When you’re standing alone in the cold for hours, you begin to notice details that were there all along.

The sleepy town of Joseph lies a couple thousand feet below. Long shadows tell time in the valley.

If you look at this image full-sized, you can make out a few individual ice crystals. Now imagine how many of those are stitched together to blanket this mountain.

You can’t.

Hiking. Meditation. Appreciation. But don’t forget, I’m also hunting.

I appreciate the blue skies in this part of the country. Sun breaks are a feature of all four seasons here.

Old logging roads ease the hike, but my lungs continue to remind me of the elevation.

Just a light dusting in the valley. This winter is just getting started.

  On the horizon, the sun rises to reveal the Seven Devils, a mountain range that frames the East side of the Valley in the next state over.


The next mornings brought more snow, various footprints from the local community, and a spectacular light show…to be continued!


My name is Cody Limbaugh. If you liked this, you might also like my other content.

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Live All Your Life is a project of discovery. My aim is to live with intention, to get the most out of life, and to share my discoveries with you.

Providing value is important to me, so I often write about techniques that I’ve found to work well in my life.

I think having rich experiences is a critical component of living well, so I often share my travels.

It’s important to me to develop a deep sense of curiosity and relentless personal development, so I also write about learning and various topics and skills that I’m currently working on.

I’ve been a fitness coach for the past 13 years. I now write for three fitness sites.

I believe that authenticity is critical to living a good life, so I strive to rise above cultural norms and expectations.

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