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Wahl to Wall: Brace yourself, winter is coming

Wahl is editor of The Chieftain.

Published on September 18, 2018 3:01PM


We woke up last Thursday morning, looked out the window and beheld snow on the mountains around Wallowa County. I call it the first sure sign that winter will come again.

After the 100-degree plus days of August, I welcome winter. I function at optimal output when the daytime high is around 50 degrees. So I’m headed into one of my most promising biorhythm cycles.

For most people, a new year begins Jan. 1. My “new year” begins right about now. Suddenly, my desire to get things done and start new projects blossoms.

This cycle is a bit out of sync with the natural flow of things here in Wallowa County. Summer is extremely busy. But covering those events is a chore in the heat.

Then when the weather cools enough for me to have real energy, drive and creativity, the busy season fades, the events end and people begin to hunker down for the winter.

Some even bug out for warmer climates, particularly Arizona. We spent a week in Mesa in the middle of winter a couple years ago. I thought it was miserably hot –– well above my optimum 50-degree daytime high.

Wallowa County’s winters are by most comparisons mild, cool enough to feel like winter yet not so cold and snowy that you want to hibernate on the couch for six months.

Who knows what Mother Nature has in store for us this winter. She’s always one for surprises.

WE ORDERED propane for our tank that runs our gas fireplace insert and pulled the studded snow tires from the back of the storage shed to the front.

If you’re on the fence regarding studded snow tires, I can’t recommend them enough. We traveled a fair amount last winter and when other cars were slipping and sliding into the ditches, we were safe and secure.

We drove back from Boise around Christmas in a full-blown blizzard and never missed a beat, passed everything on the road. I sometimes get frustrated with people who drive 20 miles an hour on snowy highways. When you finally get to go around them, you realize why. Their tires are bald.

That would have to make for a wretched winter experience.

FALL IS my favorite time for a vacation as well, and in a couple weeks, we will be heading out for a week on the Oregon coast. Second to Wallowa County, it’s our favorite place to travel –– summer or winter.

This year, our plan is to explore south of Lincoln City as far as Coos Bay. If you have any must-see recommendations for that part of the coast, be sure to share them.

We’re always up for new adventures.

DON’T FORGET Oregon’s Alpenfest, that celebration of all things Swiss and Bavarian is coming Sept. 27-30.

This is the 40th year for the event, and a number of special activities are planned. Even the bratwursts are new this year, and the early reviews speak highly of their taste and quality.

Even if your heritage isn’t Swiss or Bavarian, you will enjoy the music, food and fun of Oregon’s Alpenfest.

See you there.



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