John Day area, Strawberry Lake, etc.

June 25-27, 1986

Twenty explorers crossed Santiam Pass, paused briefly at Sisters, then visited the diatomite deposit at Lower Bridge along the Deschutes River. We then visited Smith Rock State Park, then passed through Prineville on the way to our lunch stop along the Ochoco Reservoir. We took the old road over Ochoco Summit which winds down the east side into Bridge Creek. At Mitchell we circled the business loop and then went north to Service Creek, then followed the John Day River eastward through Spray, Kimberly, Monument. We left the river and proceeded up Cottonwood Creek to Hamilton and past Sunken Mountain with its colorful John Day beds that resemble Bryce Canyon, and on to Long Creek, Fox, down Beech Creek to Mt. Vernon and to the Sunset Motel in John Day where Bill Eaton had arranged lodging.

Our second day found us headed for Strawberry Lake which is 12 miles by road from Prairie City and 1½ miles by trail, mostly uphill. The lake occupies a cirque carved by ice in the Strawberry volcanics in the range. Flowers, birds and geology were observed. On returning to Prairie City we stopped at a newly established museum in the old Sumpter Valley Railroad depot on the south side of town. It contains many historical artifacts plus the collection of T. Gail Dewitt. This was our lunch stop. We returned to John Day and then to Canyon City to their museum which was sponsored largely by Herman Oliver. The house of Joachim Miller and an old jail are nearby. We stopped at the Chinese Museum in John Day on our way back to the motel.

Our route the last day took us by the neat Episcopal Church in Canyon City and over the pass toward Seneca. We turned westward through broad meadows with many cattle and quite a few deer toward Izee. A road sign saying “fossils” caused us to turn north over Graylock Butte along a narrow scenic road but we saw no fossils. Izee proved to be a community hall and a school and Suplee just a memory. Paulina was an active small town and Post just a store and tavern. Lunch was in Prineville.

Explorers were Margaret Baldwin, Clyde Borden, Mary Bundy, Emer Capron, Robert D. Clark, Bernie Claypool, Clair Cooley, Bill Eaton, Miki Hutchison, Vera Heidenreich, Bea Lefevre, Elizabeth McMullen, Janice Pattison, Bonnie Rickard, Carl Rogers, Allan Sorenson, Paula Vehrs, Hawk Williams, Ruth Williams, John Goddard (bus driver) and leader Ewart Baldwin.

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