Joseph, Oregon is one of those places you just have to go to, and La Laguna Mexican Restaurant is one of the best places in town to eat. The atmosphere is great and the host, Jose, will greet you with a hearty hello, maybe even a hug or two and is known to serenade the ladies who stop in to eat.
Of course Wallowa Lake is just six miles out of town and it is one of the main attractions on Northeast Oregon. Surrounded by a grass covered moraine on one edge and snow capped mountains on the other its beauty is unsurpassed if you ask any local. It’s the kind of place that finds its way into your soul and takes up residency there. Once you experience Wallowa Lake you know you will have to experience it over and over again.
I am lucky enough to live just 50 miles from this pristine body of water and have a plethora of memories just waiting to bubble to the surface with each visit. From the time I was a four-year-old whose plastic bow and arrow melted by the camp fire during a family camping trip, to the time when my daughter and I jumped into the glacier fed lake (yes my breath disappeared in an instant), to the many times spent basking in the sun with brothers, sisters, brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws, aunts, uncles, dads, moms, cousins, kids and now grandkids; My high school class has even had our 30th class reunion there.
Then there was the time when my husband and I got locked inside our trailer due to a faulty door latch; The sight of my husband as he dove head first out of the window will forever pop into my mind as I drive by camping space D6.
My memories here are beyond special to me as they have helped to create this person I am. The lake changes me each and every time I experience it. I have spent time with large groups at the lake, just a few people at the lake, at times with just one friend, and at times have gone there just to be with me.
I have pulled fish out of the lake, kids out of the lake, watched momma ducks protect their ducklings at the lake, watched my kids paddle boat and paddle board at the lake. I even watched one young lady open a can of beans without a can opener at the lake. I’ve roasted hot dogs and marshmallows, I’ve eaten cold chicken and hot s’mores. I’ve sat along the shore and drank Pepsi, wine and Pendleton Whiskey….each on separate trips I might add, and yes, the Pendleton Whiskey was my favorite.
Wallowa Lake is one of those special places on earth that seeps into you, leaving you longing to return over and over again.
Legend has it that the Wallowa Lake Monster is hiding somewhere in the depths of the icy water.