Zumwalt Prairie

One of the most fascinating things about this part of Northeastern Oregon is the diverse landscape.  The towering Eagle Cap Wilderness and its majestic mountains fill up the skyline and they quickly give way to vast prairie land which extends all of the way to Hells Canyon which is actually deeper than the Grand Canyon.

We heard a great deal about the Zumwalt Prairie so we packed a picnic and headed out to explore.  We began the 30 plus mile trek on a dirt road with the sun shining and the grasses blowing in the wind.  The prairie used to the be the hunting grounds for Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indians.

As we drove along we noticed countless hawks flying over head and hunting from the fields.  There are also a few remnants of the old homesteads from the original settlers in this area.

DSC_3231

We continued on and we saw a herd of elk grazing up on the ridge.  We leave the grasslands and find our way into a dense forest.  The wildflowers are in full bloom.  We were told about a certain spot to dig wild onions so we stopped along the way.  It’s a little early in the season but we did manage to find some.  Apparently, as it becomes fall the onions get quite hot in flavor.

DSC_3230

We really had no idea what we were looking for.  The only description we were given was a leaf base with a single stalk and a flower.  There were several of those around so it made things a little tricky.  After a couple of tries we discovered this purple flower with seeds in the top and quickly discovered an onion at the base.  Success!  We took a bag full home and added them to dinner.  They were quite good.

Just beyond the onion patch is an Indian Village Grove.  Large oval scars on these ponderosa pines give lasting evidence of the traditional spring camp of the Nez Perce people. In the early spring, the indians would peel the outer bark, using the cambium layer as supplemental food and perhaps as medicine and weaving fibers. These scars were made in the late 1800′s and were probably created using metal implements acquired by trade.

DSC_3195DSC_3176DSC_3162DSC_3111

The wildflowers surrounding the grove were just beautiful!

DSC_3196 DSC_3182 DSC_3173 DSC_3160 DSC_3154 DSC_3131

Our drive continues to the Buckhorn Lookout.  This overlooks Hells Canyon and down to the Imnaha River.  Hells Canyon is on average 7,900 ft deep and 10 miles wide.

DSC_3106 DSC_3104

Our drive back to town gives us a beautiful view of the Eagle Cap Wilderness.

DSC_3241 DSC_3250

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Post navigation

One thought on “Zumwalt Prairie

  1. Jeanette Trebing

    Well this tour would meet my expectations of a PERFECT one. It has gorgeous flowers, wildlife and beautiful views. I would have liked to try the onions! (my favorite veg.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: