Monday, July 10, 2017

Adventure in Eastern Oregon

 Adventure in Eastern Oregon- Tara & Chris 

We started our 10 day adventure at Four mile lake (The sister campground to Lake of the Woods). We saw osprey and bald eagles and spent time with Dan (Chirs’s Brother) and tried to catch fish. Fun to watch other people catch huge fish. Lots of mosquitos!  

Next we ventured on to the Strawberry mountains. Found a gorgeous campsite site with a picturesque creek running through it. Spent a wonderful evening by the fire. Met some slow Elk (AKA Cow)  

Hiked the ridge by Highlake in the strawberry mountains saw the antelope in the Gorgeous meadows, just a beautiful area. of course Bella found the only patch of snow around to roll in.

 We saw some Antelope in the feild. 

On our way to Baker City we passed through Prairie city. Sweet little town on the Fourth of July.  everyone was so excited and getting ready for the big event, the 4th of July parade and BBQ.  We had a wonderful bagel sandwich, great people. 

Just outside of town we stopped at the historical  covered wagon and took pictures. The strawberries from the other side are even more magnificent and huge. 

Then we drove towards Baker city and saw the table rock monument and stopped before Baker city at Phillips lake. We  stayed there for two nights wonderful to have full hook up took fresh hot showers. Explored the mountains in the Eagle Wilderness went for a hike down to a creek, very strenuous,  but worth it. Bella chased off a Bear and then a tree fell across our path one hundred yards ahead of us, very freaky. Next day explored mountains around Sumptner. Not a town I would go to again. It's an old mining town a lot of dredging tailings. Strange feel and unhappy people. One plus it the tailings are now ATV heaven. Everyone rides their quads into town. Had lunch in Baker city which is a great little town good barbecue, nice people. Seems like lots of regrowth on their historic downtown area. And great to see  renewable energy being used, huge windmills at the windmill farm providing energy for Baker City.

There was definitely did not have enough time to explore all this area has...Wallowa lake and mountains, the old gold mining town turned artsy town of Joseph and Baker city area. We could use an entire vacation just for that area. Highly recommended. So much to see! Next we Headed through the Blue Mountains to Ukiah. On the way we stopped at another little old mining town of Granite. One of my favorite little ghost towns.  Saw "Frank's place", took pictures of the original church and visited the store. they're wonderful people who have great  pride in their little ghost town used to be a hub for gold mining for 80 years. 

Came out the other side to Ukiah strange little town not much there only one gas station. Again Unhappy people in these almost dying little towns. None of the stores are very well kept up. Poverty was very apparent.  The highlight was a little, hole in the wall restaurant, called The Thicket. Good food, nice people. Seems to be a big difference between the people that are there for the season and the full time locals. Interesting observation, In the more depressed towns we heard people saying  they wish they could leave. It was interesting their perception of being "trapped". Outside Ukiah we Stayed at the state park which was OK, but the creek running through it had a ton of algae in it. That evening was the highlight of the entire trip, chris and I went exploring, driving the back roads, looking for elk and found some! Fantastic find!! they were by the highway to begin with we hit the brakes and that startled them they all took off. 

We found the road back into the hills. parked and started walking to where they were. They hadn't moved that far.  I got to see tons of elk! A herd of about 80-ish. Chris let me  get closer to take pictures while he held Bella back from chasing them around the hill. Bella really wanted to go after them. It was incredible! I walked up on 2 cow elk grazing. They looked like quarter horses at first, by the size of the rear ends. Then I got closer and closer took pictures, sure that they would spot me and take off. The one didn't see my face and only saw the camera in front of me and she just stared at me. I couldn't help myself, I made an elk call. So I thought, not sure what I said, because they took off and ran. 

We slowly follow them as we could hear them talking like crazy. Chris said it was the most vocal elk heard he has witnessed. It was amazing the conversations they were having back-and-forth.  sounded like there were a lot of babies. We slowly followed them around the hill and again Chris held back Bella when we spotted them and I moved forward and saw a baby elk very newborn with hits mama started taking pictures and was spotted. The entire herd proceeded in front of me as I shot as many photos as I could of the running group. I couldn't see the bull in the group. So I just kept snapping photos hoping one would turn up. 

This was a thrilling experience for me to be that close and surrounded by these beautiful majestic animals. As we kept walking that kept talking to them all little softer and one would talk back to me, it was amazing. There was a point when the herd got split on both sides of us and something must've startled them maybe Chris and Bella who knows but they took off running and it sounded like a stampede coming through the forest, thrilling. Thank God Chris had his GPS on so we could find our way back to the car because when you're excited and chasing an animal you have no idea how far you've really gone and it was one heck of a walk back. 


Next morning Chris went and explored the north fork of the John Day wilderness area and found driftwood campground right next to the north fork of the John Day fabulous camp spot. 

Bella got to run free float down the river run up to the bank get back in the water and float down again. We tried our hands at flyfishing my rod is broken doesn't catch fish. 

Had a wonderful dinner in Ukiah and then back out to the camp fire enjoying the Hamic by the river. And while we were laying on the blanket stargazing Bella discovered something coming towards us and started growling and barking it was small and black she took off chasing it Chris yelling stop! She came back a few short minutes later walked in the trailer and immediately the wafting horrendous smell of skunk filled our noses! That is truly the most horrid smell you've ever smelled in your life! Fresh skunk smell! Immediately pulled her outside grab the V-8 juice and doused her in it which did help a little but not much since she ended up spending the entire night on her tether outside!!    

Then we pulled anchor again and started out for John Day and bend Oregon went through the John day fossil beds. Absolutely gorgeous painted mountains took lots of pictures extremely hot!! Ate our hillbilly lunch of baked beans and hotdogs. 

Made our way to bend Oregon and Lapine State Park found a great camp spot with full hook up and took a wonderful, much-needed shower. spoiled ourselves by having chicken Cordon Bleu and an Asian chopped salad with mandarin oranges gourmet dinner at the camp! Perfect end to a wonderful trip!