Next One Over.
the High Desert of Nevada, Oregon, and Idaho
Editor: Eric Bewley
Capell, S. Chaney, M. Verley, S.
Fields, OR - A few
years ago we set out on a grand adventure to find the convergence of the
Oregon, California, and Nevada state boundary lines. That exploration was
so enjoyable not for finding the actual spot on the ground where the
states met but for seeing all of the stuff along the way. That trip
definitely reaffirmed that it is truly the journey and not the destination
that fulfills. So, the thought arose as the where we'd try to go next and
the obvious choice was to follow the Oregon border further east and pick
the next convergence of state boarders. That's what we did and that where
The group formed rather loosely
due to scheduling and commitments. We had designated a rendezvous time and
place of Friday at the Bureau of Land Management's sunstone collection area.
This is a rock / gem hound's dream as one can spend all day wandering the
desert picking up little yellow rocks that look like dull diamonds. Some of
the group headed to this area a day early and they were treated to some very
rough weather including wind, rain, and enough snow to crush an pop-up
sunshade. So much for welcoming and beautiful summer-like weather.
|Our journey began Friday
morning. We met up with Scott from Compact Camping Concepts in Salem
and began our trip. He was sporting a new camping trailer called the
Dinoot. This is a really cool DIY camp trailer system that is very
much at home in the outback. Our trek on was uneventful until we
left pavement at Christmas Valley. From that point on it was a
difficult slog through slippery and steep two track roads. It was
awesome! The Suzuki Equator did extremely well and even though the
travel was slow going, we were able to enjoy the road, scenery, and
company all day long.
We dropped into the Sunstone
collection area fairly late in the afternoon but due to the easy to
use ARB roof top tent system, we were set up in about 20 minutes.
Matt and Stasi had gotten there the day before and to my disbelief
they had not picked up one precious, well OK... semi-precious
sunstone. What's wrong with these guys? Anyway, Matt did make a nice
Eagle Scout type fire with a little draft hole and everything. It
was like, cool.
This area of Oregon is a bit barren.
By that I mean there really isn't anything around, at all. Which is
nice when you want to decompress. Saturday morning greeted us with a
cool solitude that is definitely an acquired taste. DISCUSSION
|Our exploration began in
earnest Saturday morning. We only had a loose agenda for the weekend
with the goal of finding the survey marker for the convergence of
the Oregon, Idaho, and Nevada boarders. Other than that, it was
pretty open. I did want to have one of those famous Fields cafe'
milkshakes but that was about it.
We traveled just to the North edge
of the Hart mountain reserve and found a very nice working cattle
cabin slash stock yard slash watering hole along the way. It had
some really nice old buildings and strewn about was the now
priceless bits of cool garbage such as hand powered water pumps, old
oil barrels, leaded windows, etc... We spent a good bit of time
checking this site out.
Next, we were treated to a single
cabin all by itself way up on the plain of Hart mountain. This thing
was way out there and I can't believe it was ever anything but a
hunting camp. David's GPS had a name for it, but that is now
escaping me. You know, his GPS is really cool, it's one of those
Lawrence units that has the large screen and the maps seem to have
quite a bit more detail than our more pedestrian models have. But I
|The weekend saw so many
wonderful things but one of my favorites was Sunday morning. We had
camped on a creek close to Whitehorse hot spring and what was so
special to me was that the weather finally broke and the song birds
in the morning were just amazing. I'm not getting soft on you here;
just saying it was really pretty, mkay.
With the weather looking up and our
batteries recharged and washed (Stasi) we headed east for some more
adventure. The Fields milkshake was great, as expected by the way.
Another highlight was stumbling on the the Codera mine. This is a
mine that we had visited many years ago on an ghost town adventure.
The mine is a fairly complete mine that has all the goodies still
intact. In fact it's amazing how much stuff is still there. From
personnel paperwork dating back to World War 2 to a head frame that
appears to still be operational from even earlier, this mine has it
all. Oh yeah, mercury too. One disturbing note was that the BLM is
trying to mitigate hazards there so some history is getting covered
up by a bull dozer. Safety first! Right?
Right outside of Mcdermitt, we
traveled along the north edge of the Ft. Mcdermitt Indian
reservation. We were treated again to some awesome scenery reminiscent
of Moab in some ways with the tall spires of rock and deep canyons.
One thing that was definitely cool was the roaming band of wild
Mustangs that were feeding along the hillside on our route. For some
reason horses in a pasture or corral or under a person just don't
seem to have the appeal that these wild ones do.
We arrived at our last campsite for the
weekend just about 10 miles away from our goal late Sunday with the plan to
charge after the goal and then hustle home to make it back to work on
Tuesday. At least that was the plan. Due to the severity of the roads and
trails heading into the goal and out from there most all of us didn't get
back well into Tuesday morning with some opting to stay another night in the
|The Goal was made exactly at high
noon on Memorial Day and was quite a suprise. With nothing around
for miles, and miles, and miles the government has erected a very
nice marker with placard for those that dare to travel there. It is
very interesting actually and the placard tells more about this spot
than one would ever want to know.
After the site was met, we began heading west toward
home but did not see pavement until late into the afternoon. We split
up into faster and slower vehicles and headed off in two separate
groups. There was some fuel drama as the Samurai were on fumes as they
headed towards Burns but they made it and can now tell the tail of how
they almost didn't get out of there alive... no, not really.
Final reports by all suggested that a good time was
definitely had and plans have begun to make the next one over. Which by my
calculation would be the Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah boarder but that is for
another time. DISCUSSION