Four weeks into my new position and I already feel at home here in Joseph, OR. Everyone has given me a warm welcome and put me right to work. In my short time here I have been responsible for organizing all of the gear for the seasonal employees, inventorying radios, cleaning bathrooms in recreation areas that are a beautiful drive to get to, getting volunteer packets together, fixing a truck tool box on one of the United States Forest Service (USFS) pickups, getting entered into the USFS system and checking the health of livestock placed at remote Jim Creek Ranch for the winter (part by 4×4 truck, part by 4×4 ATV, and about 5 miles hiking one way over steep snow covered ridges). So needless to say I have been tasked with a variety of things to do that have allowed me to see much of the beautiful landscape surrounding me. The time seems to have gone fast, but on the same hand it feels like I have been here for a long time now.
The town of Joseph itself has a great small town feel to it (probably because it is a very small town). Everyone in town has been more than welcoming to me, especially if they know that I am a military veteran. Joseph is heavily in support of our US armed forces and I have had many people thanking me for my service to this country. Things seem to slow down when you get into Joseph. People relish in the small things and are glad to enjoy the lack of the hustle and bustle of a large city. Drivers and people are kind, courteous, and respectful. No one here acts like what they have to do is more important than what everyone else has to do, like you tend to get in larger cities. Everyone here is able to enjoy the natural beauty in the surrounding area.
Saving the best for last, the landscape around here rivals the most beautiful I have seen anywhere. Every day I get to wake up and see the beauty that is the Wallowa Mountains or Hells Canyon. Both are tremendously beautiful places to look at. Everything from high altitude snow-capped ponderosa pine covered mountain peaks to the lows of Hells Canyon with its sagebrush, bunchgrass, and prickly pear. The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has everything that an outdoor lover could ask for and much more.
I have already fallen in love with Joseph and I don’t see myself ever wanting to leave this beautiful place. After four short weeks I have experienced such a variety of things within a short distance, and I fit in well with the area. The vegetation and climate are very different, but this area reminds me a lot of home, west of the cascades in Washington. You have an endless variety of outdoor opportunities within a short distance of one another. The area has everything I could ask for, except lots of winter snow, but that is the entire west coast at the moment.