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Old 06-14-2019, 06:53 PM   #1
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Southeastern Oregon Outback Trip Report

We took off Memorial day for an 11 day tour of SE Oregon... most of which we'd never seen. When we think of road trips they are invariably focused on places a long ways away - desert SW, Baja, Sierras etc. This time we decided to check out our own back yard and man was it fun. Perfect late Spring weather and green as can be.

We started out going to the Painted Hills and spent first night at Priest Hole along the John Day River.
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Next day hiked the Blue Basin Trail in the John day Fossil Beds. Also checked out the excellent Paleontology Center Museum.
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Then we headed Southeast to the Jordan Valley on the border with Idaho where we camped and hiked in Leslie Gulch for 3 days. It's a long ways from anywhere (that's a good thing) and an absolute must see if you're anywhere even close. Leslie Gulch empties out at the top of the Owyhee reservoir - which has apparently excellent crappie, catfish and bass fishing. The hiking was fantastic.
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We were planning to get up in to the Steens Mountains but snow wasn't gonna let that happen so we drove out onto the Alvord Desert for the night and basked in the silence and beauty of that stark playa.
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A great storm Rolled in with high winds and pretty hard rain so we dropped the top and hunkered down.
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two+ hrs later we could get back out on it and enjoyed a fantastic sunset over the Steens. The Alvord is one of our all time favorite places.
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Next headed West to the Hart Mtn Antelope Refuge. The Hot Springs was closed for repairs so we stayed down on the West Side. Great hiking out there and beautiful.
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We didn't see a ton of wildlife but came within a scrunt of stepping on this bad boy.
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Finished out camping At Green Mountain CG above Crack In The Ground
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and along the Crooked River South of Prineville. There wasn't one section of this trip we would skip if doing it again.

Joe
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Old 06-14-2019, 09:30 PM   #2
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Looks like a great trip and some incredible scenery, thanks for sharing. I may have to rethink my preference for high country and try some sightseeing in your neighborhood.
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Old 06-15-2019, 04:54 AM   #3
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Awesome photos, does look like a great trip. Thanks for posting.
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Old 06-15-2019, 11:45 AM   #4
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Have tried to get to the top of the Steens several times. Snow stopped us both times. Going to have to try it in late July.

Great trip and photos.
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Old 06-15-2019, 03:46 PM   #5
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Enjoyed your Trip! last couple years we've predominantly spend time in Forested areas. Viewing your photos reminds me how scenic places can be with less vegetation - you really get a better visual experience of the landscape & its raw beauty.
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:07 AM   #6
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great pix of leslie gulch. where were those taken from? up one of the hiking trails? did you guys venture over to the hotsprings? we love that area, but the wife cant hike these days and all the trails are foot only so it really limits how much we can explore the area the area seems to be open through the winter most years. its a completely different setting with snow and theres rarely anyone back there once it gets cold.


where did you guys camp back there? the little area across from the cabin or at the campground? did you explore succor creek at all while you were in the area?


all those other places I keep seeing from other members and I really want to go explore them, but our hands are tied to 2-3 hour trips from home these days. hopefully someday the wifeys foot stops being stupid and we can go deeper into Oregon. I have a whole new respect for the desert these days after spending more and more time in the owyhees.
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:42 AM   #7
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Thanks shenrie. First LG pic taken from Dago Gulch and second from Juniper Gulch trail. The only permitted camping is now in the Slocum Creek campground down toward the reservoir but it was great. We didn't check out the Hot Springs or Succor creek on this trip but we will definitely return. Surprised when someone in the campground said Boise was just a couple hrs away. Beautiful

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Old 06-19-2019, 08:59 AM   #8
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Looks like an awesome trip. Great photos of a beautiful area, which is well worth a visit.
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Old 06-19-2019, 03:31 PM   #9
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Looks like a great trip and some incredible scenery, thanks for sharing. I may have to rethink my preference for high country and try some sightseeing in your neighborhood.
Yup. Tried to ride up the mountain just behind my house yesterday afternoon and was stopped by a huge snow bank across the road at about 7800 feet elevation. I'll try again in a few weeks!
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Old 06-22-2019, 02:23 PM   #10
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Nice trip report remembering some location I really enjoyed. Thanks for sharing.
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