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June 11, 2013 in Outdoors

The Wenaha River flows out of the Blue Mountains near Troy, Oreg., from its headwaters in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness, which straddles the Oregon-Washington border.

June 8, 2013 in Outdoors
Rita Kinney photo

Lorquin’s admiral butterflies greet backpacker Gary Keller at his Blue Mountains campsite near the Wenaha River. This butterfly species is common in the Northwest along trails that follow forest streams.

Rich Landers photo

New plastic signs are replacing some traditional Forest Service oak signs, including this sign heading up the Wenaha River into the Umatilla National Forest.

Rich Landers photo

A Western fence lizard grabs some sun on a slope above the Wenaha River in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness.

Sticky geraniums grow along the Wenaha River trail near the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness.

Spokane Mountaineers gather for dinner at a well-used campsite near the Wenaha River in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness.

Rich Landers photo

A gopher snake catches some sun on the Wenaha River trail. Rattlesnakes also are fairly common in this portion of the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness.

Oregon sunshine blooms in brilliant yellow in June along the Wenaha River in the the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness.

Rich Landers photo

Cold, clear, delicious water trickles out of PVC pipe and into a hollowed log trough at Mud Spring miles from any road in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness.

Black bears are common in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness.

Calipso orchids, also known as fairyslippers, sprout from the ponderosa parkland 1,500 feet above the Wenaha River in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness.

The Wenaha River in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness.

After two days and more than 20 miles of hiking, S-R Outdoors editor Rich Landers takes a skinny-dipping break along the Wenaha River in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness.

Larkspur blooms in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness.

Rich Landers photo

Backpackers David Kennedy of Pullman and Samantha Journot of Spokane hike above the Wenaha River, which runs into the heart of the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness in the Blue Mountains of Oregon and Washington.