Short trips & lots o luck on the Oregon Desert Trail

I wrote this post a few weeks ago but didn’t get around to posting it till now. Lots of options for short trips along the ODT. Another post coming soon about my recent ski tour in the Steens!

Early March…

I spent the last 2 days visiting a few of the trail towns along the Oregon Desert Trail, meeting with businesses and several folks from the Forest Service and BLM. On my way down I was able to connect with Kyle, an ODT hiker who had first left Bend in January about 2 months ago. We’ve had a crazy snow year, and when he left he was on snowshoes and pulling a sled. It was slow going through the snow and by the time he made it to Paisley, was suffering from the strain of an unusual gait due to the snowshoes, so took a month off to heal and ended up working for a bit at the Summer Lake Hotsprings. Not a bad place to rest up and watch the snow fall!

He just happened to be getting back on the trail the day I was passing through, so I picked him up and took him to breakfast in Paisley. A big order of biscuits and gravy later, I was dropping him off at the Chewaucan Crossing so he could start again.(update, the snow and mud had Kyle rethinking his hike, he’ll be back in the fall to finish the ODT)

It’s really feeling like spring, and while there is plenty of snow still in the mountains, I think he will have a much easier time of it now, spring is right around the corner.

I had a GREAT series of meetings in Lakeview, and came away excited by the town’s eagerness for recreation. I think big things may be happening here!

I made my way out to Plush, driven by memories of an awesome burger that Dave, the owner of the Hart Mt Store, had fixed for me last summer. I was just in time for lunch and Dave was at the grill again. I’m feeling lucky! Sounds like there are some new lodging options for hikers, so I was really glad I had made the trip to check in.

The day was freaking beautiful and warm, I could practically see the snow melting off the mountains around me. Hart Mountain was looking mighty fine, so I decided to drive up to the refuge and see if the road to the hotsprings was open. I had planned to spend the weekend somewhere on the trail and brought skis and my backpacking gear so I could have more flexibility.

I arrived at the refuge headquarters to find the road closed due to wet muddy conditions, but it was still open to hikers, so I loaded my pack up and headed in the 5 miles intending to camp at the hotsprings campground.

The day was so warm I took off my fleece for my sunshirt, and even then still had some sweatyness. Oh how I’ve missed the sun and warm weather!!! There is still quite a bit of snow on the landscape, but it made for dramatic views as I walked away the afternoon.

The campground was slumbering under patches of snow, but I found some dry ground to set up my tent, and headed to the hotsprings for a soak. What luxury to have this place all to myself!  

Tomorrow I’ll head out and see if I can find a place to ski in the Warner Mountains, and maybe the day after try to climb up the 2,500’ lift of Abert Rim. So many options out here!!

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