I am back on the grid in Boise, perusing through journal entrees and photos taken from the last few days spent exploring and revisiting southeast Oregon’s high desert region. Long story short; it was hot, and freezing… I spent a great deal of time under the unwavering sun (overheated a couple times) and thick veil of stars. Met, soaked and chatted with some good people – and encountered a bunch of wildlife. Welcome to the high country – hot, windy, sun-scorched days with no shade in sight except the man-made kind. And, chilly, near freezing nights. It may not sound like much, but it truly is paradise.
“Despite its clarity and simplicity, however, the desert wears at the same time, paradoxically, a veil of mystery. Motionless and silent it evokes in us an elusive hint of something unknown, unknowable, about to be revealed. Since the desert does not act it seems to be waiting-but waiting for what?” – Edward Abbey
I was greeted by multiple herds of pronghorn (antelope) less than half a mile after pulling off southbound highway 95 onto the all-season, ultra-rocky Whitehorse Ranch Road, just past mile marker 87. Exit to no-man’s land. Driving down the powdery dust road was reminiscent of watching a steady stream of water spraying off the hull of a speedboat as the truck bounded down the bumpy track. The mere sight and smell of the high desert unlocked old memories. I can’t help but think of an old friend that I explored this area with for the first time 11 years ago [LINK] that I haven’t seen in years. I hope life is treating you well, Stoney. You, too, Jessica – AKA PnB. Although, your experience with this area only dealt with a brief visit to Alvord [LINK].
This would be my first springtime visit to this region, no doubt. All other instances occurred during late summer/early fall; September and October. The most notable difference was the obvious – the flora and fauna… and the color, there was color! And water! Recent snow melt and record setting rain joined forces to deliver these usually parched and thirsty lands a drink.