Steens Mountain

September 12-15, 2000

Tuesday, Sept. 12 — Up the McKenzie stopping at Sahalie Falls, through Bend, lunch at Brothers, then to the headquarters at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge whose visitor center, museum and viewing platform are very nice. Next to the historic Round Barn constructed in 1883 by the legendary Pete French; its huge juniper posts are still in good condition. After a long travel day, overnight in Burns where most of us dined at the Pine Room Cafe.

Wednesday, Sept. 13 — After visiting the store at Frenchglen we assaulted the summit of Steens Mountain, ascending via the main washboard route. Several groves of golden aspen were on display. At the summit the view toward the alkali Alvord Desert was spectacular. The weather was warm and wind-free. Twenty-three of our group of 40 were first-timers to the top. Following lunch at Fish Lake, we stopped at the “P” Ranch (which is now a disappointment), and returned to Burns via Hwy. 205 for the night.

Thursday, Sept, 14 — North on Hwy. 395 through some nice pine country, past Senaca to the Swick Old Growth Ponderosa Pine Interpretive Trail, a three-quarter mile hike; not a well known place, but worth the stop. Then down the scenic canyon to the excellent Grant County Museum which houses a varied collection, plus the Joaquin Miller cabin and the old jail house as added attractions. In an album at the museum a studio photograph (dated 1913) of Frances Newsom and her sister with long blond curls is a treasure. Frances was a delightful guide as she toured us through her childhood home town. On to Clyde Holiday State Park for lunch. Next, at Dayville, Judy Dobell told us about activities in that community, which was originally settled by Scottish pioneers. Then to the John Day Fossil Beds (Sheep Rock Unit) located at the Cant Ranch House, where the staff were most helpful and informative. This place was a cool oasis on a hot, stifling afternoon. We continued west on Hwy. 26 to Prineville to the new Stafford Inn, an outstanding lodging.

Friday, Sept. 15 — An early stop at Smith Rock State Park and on to the High Desert Museum, which is always great. We returned via Hwys. 40, 45 and 46 to Mt. Bachelor and the Cascade Lakes Hwy., stopping at Elk Lake and Salt Creek Falls. Driver John Mikulich of Oregon Coachways on his first Obsidian bus trip, did an outstanding job and returned us to Eugene at 5:30.

Riders were: Ethel Allen, Mabel Armstrong, Don Baldwin, Helen Barnard, John & Marian Borchardt, Betty & Dick Cheadle, Nicole Chase, Mary Lee Cheadle, Margaret Fea, Jeannette Forsman, Dora Harris, Evelyn Hile, Ben & Pat Jeffries, Jean Jensen, Rosella Jones, Dodie Leppmann, John & Lenore McManigal, Cleora Mersdorf, Barbara & Walt Miller, Lois Nelson, Frances Newsom, Maude Nilsen, Virginia Prouty, Liz Reanier, Kathleen Schlenker, June Smith, Judy Dobell, Bobbye Sorrels, Dick & Janet Speelman, Millard Thomas, Christy White, Vera Woolley and trip leaders Ray Jensen and Ewart Baldwin.


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