When most of our guests visit The Nature Conservancy's Zumwalt Prairie Preserve here in Wallowa County, they do it in the spring and summer to see the wildflowers and (hopefully) the raptors, deer, elk, and other wildlife that populate the prairie in warmer times of year. It's a very photogenic place.
The day after Christmas we had no guests in the house, so Bill & I decided to take a drive out to the Zumwalt Prairie to see if we might be able to hike one of The Nature Conservancy's designated trails. Fortunately, Patti's Trail (2.3 miles), one of the public-access areas designated on The Nature Conservancy's Zumwalt Prairie map, looked to be feasible given the time of day, the temperature, snow pack, etc. We were hoping to see some of the elk population now that the rut is over.
It turned out to be a beautiful day for a hike for these two bed and breakfast innkeepers, though nary an elk showed its shaggy cape. And the birds were few and far between although there was a hawk that led us from fence post to fence post.
But it was quiet, other than the constant breeze coming from the south, and it was very sunny. We'd taken the snowshoes along but didn't need them on Patti's Trail--just enough snow to need boots or Bogs.
The drive from our Joseph Oregon lodging can be a little harrowing in winter compared to summer. Guests with trucks or higher-clearance all-wheel drive vehicles will most likely be fine. Most of the Zumwalt Road is not paved and, like many rural Oregon locations, is something to be undertaken with plenty of respect for the conditions.
Here at our Joseph Oregon bed and breakfast we keep maps, binoculars, etc., to help our guests enjoy the surroundings. Hope to see you sometime in the winter!