Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 06-01-2015, 11:57 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Aldercrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 461
Memorial Day - Steens Mountain & Malheur Wildlife Refuge

It's been a while since I've posted a trip report, mostly because we've been busy building a house and having kids. While I've had a few local adventures and some overnights with my oldest daughter, it has been hard to take all three kids because our family of five couldn't fit into the SMB's three bucket seats. After a trip to Van Specialties, we have a folding bench and are back in the action. Later, I plan to go back for some more windows and a new cabinet for my fridge and stove, but for now at least we can hit the road.

For our first trip, we decided to go big and head to far southeast Oregon. A friend planned a Memorial Day trip to Steens Mountain and the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Unfortunately, we were not able to drive to the top of Steens Mountain (almost 10,000') due to snow, but we had several other adventures and a couple of nights camping. A first camping trip with three kids could be awful, but we had a great time and can't wait to go again.

But I know what's really important is the pictures, so here we go...

After a late, late Friday night arrival and hotel in Burns, we stopped first at the BLM Wild Horse Corrals.


Next, we headed south toward the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. On the way, we saw a pronghorn and her fawn.

Next, we had promised the kids some swimming, so we hit some hot springs for lunch.


The map is deceiving in this area, and everything is much farther apart than you would expect, so plan to spend a long time on the road getting from place to place. Especially with little ones.
__________________

__________________
2002 E350 EB - Voyager top - 7.3 - Quigley 4WD
Aldercrest is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2015, 12:05 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Aldercrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 461
Re: Memorial Day - Steens Mountain & Malheur Wildlife Refuge

From the hot springs, on to the wildlife refuge. We stopped at the visitor center and took things in.




We had planned to camp at Page Springs campground near Frenchglen, but we found out it was likely full. We ended up instead at the Steens Mountain Resort. It cost twice as much as the BLM campground, was not near the stream, and we were a little more crowded, but the people running it were super nice, we had hot showers, and the kids had a playground in addition to the dirt and grass and mud. Yes, out in the deserts of southeast Oregon, there was mud...



... which gave me a chance to use my tow strap. And later, my air compressor came in handy for a low tire on my buddy's VW. Nice to have cool toys. Anyway, we had a beautiful evening, and while there were some clouds and rain nearby, we avoided the drops at our campsite.



We even got a rainbow...

__________________

__________________
2002 E350 EB - Voyager top - 7.3 - Quigley 4WD
Aldercrest is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2015, 12:10 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Aldercrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 461
Re: Memorial Day - Steens Mountain & Malheur Wildlife Refuge

Sunday morning, our plan was to hit P Ranch - the place where Peter French headquartered the Glenn-French cattle company - and then head up the Central Patrol Road through the refuge.



The long barn was pretty cool.



The wives and older kids rode up the patrol road while we drove.



Along the way, we saw lots of birds and some beautiful scenery.



We stopped for lunch at a wide spot and made ourselves right at home.



After lunch, we continued on. Not being birders, we saw the big white birds out in one of the ponds, concluded they were swans with babies and not geese, snapped a photo, and continued on. We headed back when my buddy texted me and told me they were Trumpeter Swans, the "holy grail". We also saw Sandhill Cranes, Pheasant, Red-Tailed Hawks, Turkey Vultures, terns, gulls, ducks, egrets, herons, killdeer, lots of Red-Winged Blackbirds, coots, stilts, geese, grebes, loons, and lots of songbirds. I'd be more specific, but a) I'm not a birder, and b) it was like National Geographic out there. A literal bird paradise.

__________________
2002 E350 EB - Voyager top - 7.3 - Quigley 4WD
Aldercrest is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2015, 12:24 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Aldercrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 461
Re: Memorial Day - Steens Mountain & Malheur Wildlife Refuge

After the refuge, we headed to Diamond Craters. So something like 17,000 to 25,000 years ago, the ground opened up and there were several volcanic craters in the area. They erupted for a while, but not long enough to create a volcanic peak or even a cinder cone, but there are some pretty cool craters. Unfortunately, no good photos...

From Diamond Craters, we headed on to the famous Round Barn. It was round. Pretty cool, too.







__________________
2002 E350 EB - Voyager top - 7.3 - Quigley 4WD
Aldercrest is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2015, 12:27 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
Aldercrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 461
Re: Memorial Day - Steens Mountain & Malheur Wildlife Refuge

On Monday, we packed up and headed for home. First stop was Frenchglen for some ice cream, and running around before 7 hours in the car.



Frenchglen is pretty small, but it has a store, a hotel, and Verizon 4G/LTE service.





Finally, so you don't think that Oregon is all green and lush and boring, I can assure you it has some much more beautiful and exciting spots like the road from Burns to Bend....

__________________
2002 E350 EB - Voyager top - 7.3 - Quigley 4WD
Aldercrest is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2015, 12:52 AM   #6
Member
 
sbgrimm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Durango, CO formerly Seattle
Posts: 83
Re: Memorial Day - Steens Mountain & Malheur Wildlife Refuge

Nice trip report and pictures! We were just in that area last month, very cool birdwatching. A bit further on, near the Idaho border, is Succor Creek Natural Area. Great geologic formations, wildlife, and a green oasis in a dry high desert area.

Brad
__________________
Bardo
--------------------
2005 RB-50 5.4L V8 E250 "Blanca"
sbgrimm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2015, 06:43 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
shenrie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: boise idaho
Posts: 1,707
Garage
Re: Memorial Day - Steens Mountain & Malheur Wildlife Refuge

really nice trip report, great pix, and the sarcasm is top notch. thanks for sharing!

and x2 on succor creek, but do it pre or post season. it gets hot out there from may through sept.

another really cool spot is just below the owyhee dam. emerald green water and more of the great rock formations. i also hear its an anglers paradise. theres a really nice hot springs at the mouth of the canyon called snivley. earlier this year while sitting in the springs, there were fish jumping out the water for bugs just 5-6' from us. was pretty neat.
__________________
"understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of your car, oversteer is when you hit the wall with the rear of your car, horsepower is how hard your car hits the wall, and torque is how far your car moves the wall."
shenrie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2015, 06:50 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
86Scotty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: TN
Posts: 6,451
Re: Memorial Day - Steens Mountain & Malheur Wildlife Refuge

Great pics man, thanks for sharing!

__________________
98 Silver E350 V10 home build
Rusty the Rusty 95 SMB (sold)
Tryptovan the blue CCV van (sold)
Vans flip flops
86Scotty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2015, 07:23 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 286
Re: Memorial Day - Steens Mountain & Malheur Wildlife Refuge

Nice.
__________________
2006 E350 Diesel, SMB 4x4, RB50- "Hopper"- SOLD
BogusBlake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2015, 07:48 AM   #10
Site Team
 
BroncoHauler's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Southern New Mexico
Posts: 7,803
Re: Memorial Day - Steens Mountain & Malheur Wildlife Refuge

Great family trip report.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aldercrest
...Finally, so you don't think that Oregon is all green and lush and boring, I can assure you it has some much more beautiful and exciting spots like the road from Burns to Bend....
That's very close to the Glass Butte area, if you and your family ever want to collect obsidian. You can't help but find obsidian there, though with little ones you need to be mindful of how sharp obsidian can be.


Herb

__________________

__________________
SMB-less as of 02/04/2012. Our savings account is richer, but our adventures are poorer.
BroncoHauler is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:28 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.