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Sour name, sweet view

Vinegar Hill, the highest peak in the Greenhorn Mountains between Baker City and John Day, deserves a more dignified title — but the name doesn’t mar the view from its summit

Whoever named Vinegar Hill must have hated the place.

Or else loved it.

Some strong emotion, anyway, seems to have influenced the responsible party.

I can think of no more likely explanation, at any rate, for why this eminence on Grant County’s topography came to be saddled with such a ill-suited moniker.

 

Fine weekend for fishing

This is free fishing weekend throughout Oregon

Snow continues to clog alpine trails and lakes in Northeastern Oregon, but anglers who prefer prey larger than mountain trout have more options than usual.

Fishing for hatchery-raised chinook salmon is open now on the Snake River below Hells Canyon Dam, and in the Powder River between Mason Dam and the Hughes Lane Bridge in Baker City.

 

Snow’s retreat not complete, but under way

Several campgrounds, roads open

If you go in for weekend pursuits that don’t involve soaking your boots — or worse, miring your car — in the soggy remnants of last winter’s snowpack, there are fortunately plenty of options in and around Baker County.

Although the snow was slow to recede during the cool, damp first half of May, the warmer weather that has predominated since has pushed the snow line pretty far up the Elkhorn and Wallowa mountains.

 

Farewell Bend to celebrate State Parks Day with cooking

Farewell Bend State Park will celebrate State Parks Day Saturday with an Oregon birthday card signing and Dutch-oven cooking contest.

“Happy Birthday Oregon!” is the theme for the 12th-annual State Parks Day celebration. Oregon 150 observances also will include living history presentations, special tours, exhibits and lots of cake, according to a press release from the state Parks and Recreation Department.

 

Fine weekend for fishing

This is free fishing weekend throughout Oregon

Snow continues to clog alpine trails and lakes in Northeastern Oregon, but anglers who prefer prey larger than mountain trout have more options than usual.

Fishing for hatchery-raised chinook salmon is open now on the Snake River below Hells Canyon Dam, and in the Powder River between Mason Dam and the Hughes Lane Bridge in Baker City.

 

Snow’s retreat not complete, but under way

Several campgrounds, roads open

If you go in for weekend pursuits that don’t involve soaking your boots — or worse, miring your car — in the soggy remnants of last winter’s snowpack, there are fortunately plenty of options in and around Baker County.

Although the snow was slow to recede during the cool, damp first half of May, the warmer weather that has predominated since has pushed the snow line pretty far up the Elkhorn and Wallowa mountains.

 

Storm a boon for buck hunters

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A mule deer buck like this would get almost any hunter’s heart racing. The buck hunting season starts Saturday. (Baker City Herald file photo/S. John Collins)
The weather, which so often fouls things up for deer hunters, looks pretty friendly this fall.

The season’s first significant storm is scheduled to arrive late Friday, less than a dozen hours before thousands of buck hunters awaken from dreams of four-points.

This cold front should create nearly ideal hunting conditions for Saturday’s opening morning of the season, which continues through Oct. 15 in Eastern Oregon.

“It’s looking good,” said Nick Myatt, district wildlife biologist at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Baker City office.

“If the weather continued like it was yesterday (Wednesday), hot and dry, it wouldn’t be a very fun deer season.”

 

Wallowa-Whitman wants to know: What did you do in the woods?

Forest started a year-long survey of recreational visitors on Wednesday


A twelve-month survey of visitors to the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest began Wednesday with workers gathering information about what forest users enjoy doing, where they like to go, and how satisfied they were while recreating on the forest.

During hunting seasons this fall, survey takers will set up orange cones along roads to encourage hunters to pull over and spend a few minutes answering questions, said Dan Ermovick, the Wallowa-Whitman’s recreation manager.

“The survey is voluntary and confidential,” Ermovick said.

He said the survey covers four types of recreational uses, including day use sites (picnicking and sightseeing), overnight sites, general forest sites (including hunting and fishing) and wilderness trail exit points.

With deer hunting season opening Saturday, Ermovick said survey takers hired by the University of West Virginia will be conducting survey interviews at popular hunting areas.

 

Cougar encounters on the rise, hunters say

With the cougar population increasing in Northeastern Oregon, reports of cougars stalking people are raising concerns that the big cats might be losing their fear of humans.

A ranch hand from the Haines area reported being stalked by a cougar along the North Powder River, and two days later a bow hunter with ties to Baker County reported killing a cougar near Ukiah after it stalked him on Aug. 30, the first day of the hunting season.

Those are just two of a growing list of cougar sightings and encounters reported recently in Northeastern Oregon.

In the Haines cougar stalking incident, Sebastian Combs, 28, was sitting in a tree stand scouting for deer and elk when he saw a pair of eyes staring at him from a patch of brush.

 

Grande Ronde Lake

Baker City Herald/S. John Collins
Cloud patterns high over Grande Ronde Lake reflect mischief in quiet water in an otherwise tranquil scene. The small, popular lake rests high in the Elkhorn Mountains near Anthony Lake, northwest of Baker City. Daytime temperatures are expected to linger in the mid to high 70s through the weekend with lows in the 40s. Page 2 has the latest local weather updates.

 
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