Backpacking Oregon: Eagle Cap Wilderness – Lakes Basin

Backpacking Oregon: Eagle Cap Wilderness – Lakes Basin

First thing first. Happy birthday J!!!!

Today he turns 38. This means, it’s just 2 years until he hits the big 4-0! However, he still acts 18 or so. Anyone agree with me? But, I love that he doesn’t act his age.

My shout-out via blog serves as my bday card to him. J & I don’t exchange bday gifts (or any holiday gifts for that matter), but we always usually give each other a card. This is my first year not giving him a card, which pretty much makes me the world’s “best” wife.

This past weekend, J’s sister, Jamie (SILAdventure) came to visit! Our last–and as she would say, save the best for last–visitor. And as her nickname would predict, we went on a little adventure!

testing another tent for Backpacker Magazine … testing all angles of course!

You could say that one of our goals while temporarily living in the northeast corner of OR was a quest to find which of the 60 alpine lakes in the Wallowas was our favorite. And actually, on this past trip, which added up to 25.9 miles, we hit 8 lakes in the Lakes Basin region of the Eagle Cap Wilderness. We may not have reached all 60 lakes, but hit about 10 in total. Not bad for one summer. All drool-worthy, for sure. On a side note, isn’t our most current GPS track shaped like Italy?

It was fun to show Jamie the dramatic landscape you encounter in the backcountry of the Eagle Caps, with the rugged 9,000-ft granite peaks, coniferous forests and crystal-clear, untouched lakes. After living in Colorado for 10+ years, she is hard to impress. But impressed she was.

We started at the Two Pan Trailhead and followed the East Lostine River Trail to the meadow with Eagle Cap peak as its backdrop. Back in July, J & I attempted this same hike, but encountered too much snow and had to turn back at the meadow. This time, we were in the clear (though, still some pockets of snow amazingly!).

We continued upriver to Mirror Lake, where we camped for the night. We hit the jackpot with the dreamy campsite, no crowds and perfect weather. We even kept our rain tarp off that first night to enjoy the diamond-studded sky. The moon was almost too bright!





Jamie is as competitive as Justin when it comes to games. So there was a lot of card-playing into the wee hours of the night … okay, just 8pm, but that is hiker midnight!

The second day, we did a 5-mile side loop around Mirror, Moccasin, Douglas, Craig, Crescent and Sunshine lakes. Natural beauty like this never gets old (and I’m not just talking about J!)



That second night, we ventured over to Minam Lake to camp, putting us closer to the car in the morning (and real food). My only complaint would be the lack of wildlife. What is up with these wildlife-less wildernesses? Say that 3 times fast.



And that will conclude our backpacking tour of northeastern OR. On Friday, we will leave the great state of OR and point Big Bird south to CO, where we will plant our feet for the next 2-3 weeks. Because the next adventure awaits …


2 responses to “Backpacking Oregon: Eagle Cap Wilderness – Lakes Basin”

  1. Anonymous says:


  2. Anonymous says:

    and Happy B-Day J!

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