Episode #43 - Mountain WONDER Adventure on Mt Howard - Wallowa Lake Tramway, Oregon
As adventurers traveling North America with a wooden tiny house on wheels, we are on a journey to find & appreciate tiny & giant WONDERS. In this video episode, join us as we go to the top of Mt Howard in northeast Oregon. On our adventure, we dive deep into the heartbeat and timeless stories of the Wallowas and the Eagle Cap Wilderness and bask in the extraordinary natural wonders of this place that inspires us to feel great wonderment. We also feel great respect for the peoples who have lived here for many thousands of years. We are in the land and the mountains of the Wallowa Band of Nez Perce people and Chief Joseph.
Click to WATCH the video!
How we got to and where we are in northeast Oregon (backstory):
After towing our wooden RV tiny house 450 miles to spend some time in northeast Oregon, we have officially become creative digital nomads with a traveling tiny house. We work full time from home, yet have the opportunity to have adventures in new places! (Here's that video episode if you haven't seen that road-trip journey yet.)
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Mountain Inspiring Enormous Wonderment
This is one of our favorite places on Earth and we have a very special story to share with you...
On a beautiful summer day in Northeast Oregon, we headed out on a very special adventure with epic proportion. We drove up into the hills, down a canyon, past a confluence of rivers, along a river and into the Wallowa Valley... the mountains were calling and we had to go to them!
Upon getting to the base of the mountains, we came to a lake so blue, so brilliant, so beautiful. This is Wallowa Lake, a completely naturally formed lake created when glaciers sculpted this area. These glaciers moved and deposited land and rock to form morains, which could be thought of as tall hills around the non-mountainous sides of the lake. This lake was formed over millennia. As we drove along this lake, we saw the great art of nature, weather, and time.
We have gone as far as we can go in our truck because the road literally ends at the south end of Wallowa Lake. Beyond this road is pure wild wilderness where no vehicle may go. Standing at the base of these mountains that go straight up, the only place to go is up, and up we will go! We are about to embark on a pretty wonderment inspiring journey up this mountain. There are a few ways to get to the top of a mountain… by foot, most obvious and commendable, by flight, most expensive and advanced, or by tramway, most wonderful!
We knew we were about to experience something really epic and along with being filled with enormous amounts of anticipation and excitement, questions were whooshing through our minds… What is it going to be like to climb to the top of this mountain via tramway? How does this tramway work? Is it safe? What’s it going to be like for our bodies to go from 4,000 to 8,000 feet of elevation in 15 minutes? Are we going to feel the elevation gain? What are the views going to look like from the top of the mountain?
We are now headed to the top of a mountain; a beautiful and remarkable mountain in the Wallowas. We are at the edge of the Eagle Cap Wilderness, an area free of roads and human technologies. We are truly on a travel adventure into a place of enormous natural beauty and geologic wonder. These mountains, the lake, and the valley that these mountains nourish and protect are significant to peoples who have lived here for many thousands of years. We are in the land and the mountains of the Wallowa Band of Nez Perce people.
These trees, these wildflowers, the snow, the mountains, the sky, and even the air we breathe resonate with great reverence for the wild spirit of all who have inhabited this magnificent place.
We have been wondering what we would feel when we got to the top of this mountain… We have heard people say when they arrive on top of a mountain that they feel like they are on top of the world. While we may be on the top of this mountain and we do feel high in the sky of wonderment, we don’t feel like we are top of the world, though rather at the heart of the world. It feels like we are hearing Mother’s Earth heartbeat. Are we hearing Earth’s heartbeat because we have gone deep into nature? Are we feeling this heartbeat because we are in the heart of Earth? Or has the Earth poured itself into our hearts. Has a spell been cast over us? These are questions we have and are unable to answer. Preconceived ideas and learned knowledge don’t seem to offer any help in answering these questions either.
We feel radical amazement for the place we find ourselves. If it wasn’t for the map we used to get here, and our truck that we drove, we might not know where in the world we are right now. We have gone to the mountains and gotten lost in the best kind of way you ever want to be as an adventurer. We are not really lost, though rather home in a state of wilderness inspired by mountains worth of wonderment.
It is so quiet up on this mountain. The sounds of nature are the vocalists in this soundscape. Can you imagine what it’s like to be free of the whirring, the buzz, the hum, the beep beep honk honk, the sounds of cars, trucks, planes, and trains, the noisy chaos of everyday life? If you have ever been in a place filled with only the sounds of nature, then we know you know what we are talking about… If you haven’t been in a place so quiet that all you can hear is nature, then we invite you to imagine it with all your might… a place with only raw sounds of nature. In its simplicity, life doesn’t seem so complicated any more, and everything just seems to make more sense even if you can’t explain it. In the quiet stillness of raw wildness, the symphony of nature can be heard so clearly.
When enormous amounts of awe and wonder are pulsing through your veins, anything is possible. We are surrounded by immense natural wonder and results of incredible geologic processes. We are also in the heart of ancestral lands of immense significance to the Nez Perce peoples. As we bask in a state of total and complete wonderment for nature, the stories of people from distant times seem to be present in this moment. Have you ever heard that saying that “love has no borders because it is wild and free”? Well in these mountains that idea seems more true than ever, and if love has no border, than it has no expiration dates either. In these mountains, we feel so much love and it doesn’t just feel like our personal love for these mountains. Granted, we have fallen in love with this place, though it feels like a love that runs much deeper, much wider, much more intently than a simple love of place. It feels like a love that knows no limits of time. It feels like a love of all for a place where love is born. If love has no borders, no limits of time, then are we feeling a love beyond ourselves? It feels like a love story of the ages, nourished through countless generations of people, carried on through stories and reverence, love never forgotten and always nourished. This kind of love runs deep and has the power to touch your heart instantly. It feels like this place has already jumped into our chest pocket and burrowed it’s way into our hearts. Perhaps this is why that instead of feeling on top of the world, we feel like we have gone to the heart of Earth and we are hearing nature’s pulsing heartbeat within us.
These mountains are rugged and raw, unwavering in their capacity to inspire great respect. These mountains have the power to birth love, provide nourishment and protection, though also the power to humble anyone who questions its raw wild powers. You cannot tame that which cannot ever be tamed, nor should. This place is wild, and only by the great grace of this calm summer day, do we stand on this mountain staring deep into the heart of such wild beauty. Much of the year, the top of this mountain is no place for humans, as intense weather, fierce winds, and harsh long winters are inhospitable to human exploration.
As we prepare to descend the mountain and return to the valley floor, we take with us these memories, these wonderment inspiring feelings, and an understanding of ultimate gratitude. Mountains like this are experts in teaching gratitude principles… In a place like this it is easy to recognize something we are grateful for, we acknowledge that these mountains inspire us to feel gratitude, and we instantly feel gratitude for these mountains and wilderness. Even though our time in these mountains is brief, we have felt gratitude and appreciation on a whole new scale. Gratitude is all about recognizing, acknowledging and appreciating, and while it’s easy to do that in a place as beautiful as this, we realize we can feel this anywhere. These mountains are magical, though their magic does not end at it’s geographically boundaries, it extends deep into the hearts of all it touches. We have been filled with love, touched by nature, and swept up in gratitude… a mixture of magic so wonder inspiring that changes your life and transcends life times.
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Share with us your mountain inspired “wonderments”.
We love hearing from YOU below in the comments section!
What is one of your "favorite” mountains?
Why do you feel it inspires wonderment within you?
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We are best friends, daughter/mother, adventure buddies, tiny house dwellers, and now traveling creative digital nomads. We are seeking and finding wonders around every bend and curve in our path and sharing the “wonderments” we find with you in regular video episodes. We are learning that if we consciously live our daily life with a “wonderment mindset” and “wonderment perspective” daily life is filled with a whole lot more joy, adventure, meaningful moments, and wonder! We hope you enjoy these inspiring videos about life as we share our finding wonder journey with you.
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The WONDERful MUSIC that goes into underscoring our videos
is ALL licensed through Artlist.
Musical Artists heard in THIS FILM:
~ Marco Martini, Angel Salazar, Josh Fuhrmeister, Lane King, Vicki McCrone, Gil Nagel, Ardie Son, and Will Van DeCroomert
In this film, all video & photos were filmed by the two of us with the exception of Chief Joseph images from Wikimedia Commons and Library of Congress. Also used were images including galaxy, Earth and eagle licensed from Unsplash, and video of eagle flying from Pexels.
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THANK YOU for your support & appreciation of our video productions & “finding wonder” journey as we create these video adventures! Appreciating and sharing life’s daily wonders is our passion, and now we will be living in a tiny house on wheels while traveling America appreciating & sharing wonders!
THANK YOU for your support & appreciation of our video productions & “finding wonder” journey as we create these video adventures!
Wendy (Sequoia Win’Ni) & Megan
and "Wonder DOGS" Uluru & Konane
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