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 > Eastern Oregon road trio

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dpgerson

Pacifica, CA.

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Posted: 07/20/10 11:40am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I needed to get out of the war zone my town is on the 4th of July, so I headed up towards the Steens Mountain area of southeastern Oregon. On the way up I decided to take Highway 139 in northeastern California. This is a road I'd never been on, and boy is it pretty. There are 3 of 4 nice campgrounds along it that are practically deserted. I stayed at the one called Willow Creek. Very nice spot. Forgot to snap some pics.

The next day I entered Oregon at the town of Lakeview. After a quick stop to load up on groceries, I headed for the Hart Mtn. Antelope Refuge, where I intended to spend a day or two in the campground there.

After passing through the town with the evocative name of Plush, I entered the refuge proper, and started the long bumpy climb to the top of Hart Mountain, shown here:

[image]

This is the view from the overlook of the Warner Valley. It’s called an enclosed valley because none of the water that flows into it ever flows out:

[image]

When I got to the Hot Springs Campground, on top of the mountain, the mosquitoes were so bad I decided to keep going. The only antelope I saw the whole time was the hind end of this guy:

[image]


So I wearily pressed on to the South Steens Campground at Steens Mountain. I must admit, whenever I’d looked at this area on the map, it looked uninteresting. I’d always avoided it. I was sure wrong. It really is a pretty area with Juniper forests, rushing rivers that make spectacular gorges, and soothing carpets of wildflowers.

The campground itself was gorgeous and virtually mosquito free when I was there:

[image]


[image]

We took a hike up the Indian Creek Gorge. The trailhead starts right at the campground:

[image]


[image]


[image]


A happy puppy:

[image]

I spent four days there, really enjoying the peace and the relatively cool weather. I don’t think it ever got above 85 degrees and it cooled down plenty at night. We took another couple of hikes in the Little Blitzen River area. All of the creeks and rivers were really high and fast. Great to see all that water.

From there I headed up to the NE corner of Oregon to the Wallowa Valley and the town of Enterprise. At one point we descended into the John Day River Valley:

[image]

A stop by the John Day River to cool off:

[image]


It was so hot that I decided to stay at an RV park to run the AC instead of boondocking. The Steens campground was at 5700 feet and apparently that’s too high for my damn Onan 2500 generator to start, so I wasn’t going to mess with it. The town of John Day has a really nice RV park next to the fairgrounds.

The next morning we set off for the Wallowa Valley. I’d been through there 12 years before. I’d promised myself that I would come back some day, but I couldn’t remember exactly why. The answer was apparent as soon as we crested a hill and saw this drop dead beautiful place. It really is a relatively unknown gem (judging by how few tourists seemed to be there). It’s a ranching area, quite like my beloved Scott Valley in far northern California, that’s is ringed by breathtaking views of the Wallowa Mountains.

[image]


I pulled into the Log House RV park, and immediately unloaded the camper. I planned on doing a lot of exploring in the truck. It was then that I had the hair raising adventure described here:

dueling jacks

After my heart rate calmed down to a more relaxed count, I kicked back and enjoyed the soft air and memorable views :

[image]


Next day we checked out Wallowa Lake. It’s a natural, glacier formed lake that’s pretty big:

[image]

There is an immaculate state park there with broad lawns to relax on. The view while laying on the lawn by Wallowa Lake :

[image]

We took a hike inot the Eagle Cap wilderness that went up Hurricane Creek. Again my plans were thwarted by the high water that my puppies had no intention of crossing. There were some parties with water type dogs like Labs that made it fine, but my guys wanted nothing to do with it:

[image]

So we took a spur trail straight up the mountain that rewarded me with these sights:

[image]


[image]

[image]

[image]



Also explored the very pretty Lostine River:

[image]

Saw this interesting picture on a drive through the valley. I’d bet this place has seen a lot of interesting history over the years:

[image]


Finally, one last shot of a sight that gladdened my heart immensely when I saw it. I salute the bravery of whomever went to the effort to make this sign and live with the consequences in this heartland of Tea Party sentiment :

[image]


So after a week of so there we headed back home, through the withering heat. Very nice to be home where this morning I ran my furnace when I got up to take the edge of this blessed coastal chill.

* This post was edited 07/20/10 11:51am by dpgerson *


2004 Alpenlite Sante Fe 11.5 with slideout
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old guy

Oregon (pronounced Or e gun)

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Posted: 07/20/10 02:00pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

now you've done it, this part of Oregon has been our best kept secret and you have gone and exposed it to the world. But your pictures a just beautiful. It's been years since I've been there.

RICKIM

The Ocean State

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Posted: 07/20/10 02:05pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for taking the time to post the pictures. Can't wait to get out to the West coast....maybe someday. Thanks again for sharing.





Rick


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rockhillmanor

On the Road

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Posted: 07/20/10 02:08pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

All I can say is WOW!

Thanks for sharing the pictures. Your trip is a trip I dream of with my MH and will most likely never take.Thanks for letting me take a camping trip with such spectactular views....vicariously thru your post.[emoticon]


We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.


Blueboat

Arizona, Mesa

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Posted: 07/20/10 02:41pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks you made my day.

Mike


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TwoMaineiacs

Near Freeport, Maine

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Posted: 07/20/10 03:02pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks. We didn't get to this portion of Oregon last year. Looks like its worth a cross country drive.


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btggraphix

Golden, CO

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Posted: 07/20/10 03:25pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice TR dgperson, that for taking the time. Love those turqouise glacial-flour-filled rivers.

GoinThisAway

middle TN

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Posted: 07/20/10 07:28pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What a nice way to spend Independence Day, enjoying some of the wonderful sights our country has to offer.


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Tiger4x4RV

Inland Empire, Southern California

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Posted: 07/20/10 06:08pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Darn! I'm at the age when I should be rushing to check off my bucket list, not making it longer. Now I have to add this part of the country to it. But seriously, thanks for sharing your trip with us.


2006 Tiger CX 4x4, 8.1 L gas V-8, Allison 6-speed


brianjw

Here and There

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Posted: 07/20/10 08:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great pictures! Part of the reason I love Oregon, it really has a little bit of everything to offer. I can't wait to move back.


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