[/caption] One of the best panoramic views of the Wallowa mountains can be found along the northern banks of Wallowa Lake. There are numerous miles of hiking trails that travel deep within the mountains but if you’re short on time or energy you can get some fantastic photos by driving just south of Joseph, OR and then stopping along the lake for some great views. I would recommend spending a few days in this part of Oregon since it’s very hard to get to and the drive from Portland is over 6 hours. However, you will be amazed at the sheer beauty and solitude of the Oregon, cowboy and very western feeling, part of the state. You can expect to see a lot of wildlife such as black bear, deer, elk, bald eagle, hawk and maybe even a wolf. You don’t have to travel to the Rocky mountains to see some of the most amazing and isolated mountains in the country.
[/caption] The trail that takes you to Bonny Lakes is found in the eastern part of the Wallowa range and is more isolated and less crowded. You have to drive on a fairly rough gravel road once you turn off the highway but you can drive a low clearance car. Just make sure you drive slow and look out for pot holes. The hike along the trail is truly magical. I have never been to a place that is so peaceful and full of so much splendor. It’s like hiking in the Rocky mountains but with Northwest vegetation. You will hike along dozens of creeks, waterfalls and dozens of wildflowers that grow along the creeks and in the meadows. There are panoramic views of the area and the trail is well maintained. Once you get to Bonny Lakes you will be very impressed. The trail passes through each of the two lakes which takes you to a marble outcrop. You can view the meandering marshy meadows that feed into the shallow lakes. If you look closely in this photo you can see the white marble in the lower right corner of the photo. If you look closely and be patient you will probably see some deer and elk feeding in the meadows. I was hoping to hear or even see a pack of wolves since there was a posting at the trail map suggesting that you report any wolf sightings. This photo was taken with my Panasonic DMC-FZ30 and I was using my screw on ultra wide angle lens that I purchased. The focal length was 7mm and the only filter that I was able to use was the UV filter. Unfortunately you can’t use any other filters when the wide angle lens is screwed on the lens. Since I was trying to get as much of the landscape in the photo as possible I attached the wide angle lens. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attach my warming or CIR-PL filter and you can see that the sky is overexposed and grainy as well as the lack of color in the vegetation and dark colored rocks. The sun was also very harsh and I wasn’t able to find any shade to reduce the sun glare. This shot was taken on July 17 at about 2:20pm and the sun was directly overhead. Due to the harshness of the sun the aperture was set at F-2.8 and the shutter speed was 1/20 second. I set the ISO to 80 and the white balance was at 0. Now that I’ve upgraded to a DSLR and have added several lenses and filters I hope to visit the Wallowa mountains again. I still haven’t visited an area more beautiful and scenic than this part of eastern Oregon.