This year's extended trip to Malheur Wildlife Refuge started out under sunny skies with predictions for a weekend of 70 degree temperatures. We experienced beautiful weather all weekend long. The travel day over offered us views of the snow capped mountains, lunch with the Mountain Bluebirds and a stop at Headquarters. Once we arrived at the hotel, we each settled into our rooms, enjoyed a good meal then met outside for an evening walk. The weather was warm and pleasant. Our walk included a view of the snow covered Steens Mountain, various birds and plant life. The fresh air and smell of sage cleared our minds and soon we felt the peacefulness of this area. Saturday morning we met for an early morning drive up to the Page Springs Campground. Rick Aherns, our resident naturalist, led us on guided walk up the trail along the Donner Und Blitzen River. Rick helped us identify the different sounds and special markings of various birds and answered our many questions. What a pleasure it was to have him on our trip. We returned for breakfast, loaded up our cars and drove up the Central Patrol Road. The first stop was Pete French's ranch. With a little history of the area and a walk around the farm, we enjoyed sitings of various birds. Once back in our cars we stopped for views along the way as there are many ponds to view. Lunch was at Benson Ponds and a chance to roam around that area. We competed our drive and returned to the hotel for a relaxing evening with a shared meal and music provided by a guest playing his guitar. Saturday was a shared breakfast and a farewell to all as each car set out on their separate trip home. It is hard to explain how relaxing eastern Oregon is and what draws us back to this place. If you have never been, I do hope you put this trip on your short "to do" list. A special thanks to the 16 people who joined me on this year's trip. Sharing this with you is what makes this trip so enjoyable for me as the leader.Members: Marianne Camp, Rick Ahrens, Patricia Mac Afee, John Jacobsen, Janet Jacobsen, Anne Hollander, Margaret Prentice, Nola Nelson, Nancy Raymond, Anne Montgomery, Steve Cordon, Joella Ewing, Meg Stewart Smith. Nonmembers: Kathy Kast, Suzanne Cieutat, Michelle Cordon, Rebecca Bent.
group shot—photo by Rick Ahrens
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