Saturday, October 19, 2013

Priest's Hole - John Day River, Oregon

Dennis Prince (see Kindness of Strangers) alerted me to Priest's Hole. If he hadn't, I doubt I'd have noticed the small sign at the turnoff. It's a beautiful spot and being Lucky Herrmann, the most beautiful campspot was available. But they're all good. And there's even a pit toilet.

Nearing Camp

If you backtrack from the pit toilet to the turnoff that goes "upriver," and go maybe about 1/4 mile (at the most) there's a turn to the right that goes down through the trees as seen in the photo above and below. 

Shielded From View


Just beyond the trees is the "landing" from which I took the next few pictures. It's big enough for a couple of medium-size rigs. 

View at Camp

Lucky Herrmann

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Kindness of Strangers - Madras, Oregon

Dark was almooossst upon us when I got to Madras, but it sure was nice to be away from those dang trees!! As I drove through I couldn't help but notice the model T; the station's lights lit Dennis Prince and his car like a stage. He was gassing up in preparation for a gathering; eight of 'em were headed into the Steen's Mountain Wilderness in their "rides."

Dennis called his vehicle's patina: "Chicken Coop." But it's rustic appearance goes well with the many accoutrements lashed to the runningboads. That's a fully stocked cookbox just back of the driver's door.

When I asked about a place to camp he readily gave directions to the open land a few miles outside town. And when I mentioned my plan to follow the John Day River he encouraged me to stop at Priest's Hole. It turned out to be a high point of the trip! (see next post)

Following Dennis's directions I found a promontory overlooking Madras with lots of stars. And in the morning I had a magnificent, threehundredandsixtydegree view with nary a tree in sight.

The main streets of Madras are one way. Near the south end where they come together is Prince's Automotive. Sure enough, one and the same. Over 40 years in Madras.

Thank you Dennis!!

Private Property Guard near Camp Sherman, Oregon

Art in the wild!!

Blue balls

Blue eyebrows

Creeped Out at Mt. Jefferson, Oregon

It was while attending the Cotati, California Accordion Fest that someone said Dynamo donuts in Portland was WAAYYYYYY better than Voodoo Donuts. That was all I needed to hear.

The forest grew increasingly dense as I wended my way. I prefer the desert, but tho't it'd be a nice change of pace being in the woods. Then it rained (Rain!!) and the trees, by now denser than ever, acquired an Edgar-Allen-Poe ominosity. I recognized the symptoms: ah had the heebie-jeebies!!!  

The sun wuz wukkin' hits way t'ward duh horiz'n whin duh dirt road 'peared (right on time). Five miles later ah beginned tuh wonder, but yea olde intuition bellowed "Keep goingk!" I rounded a curve, the forest opened and there (as seen in previous post Metolius Headwaters) was Mt. Jefferson, only ALOT closer!!

At the top was a parking lot.

I went back down about a mile to a cubbyhole that Eggbert fit into perfectly.

The trees were big.

The next day I went over the mountain to the eastern steppes where I could see more than 50 feet. My claustrophobia disappeared. Guess what? Dynamo Donuts is in San Francisco.

Headwaters of the Metolius River, Oregon

Finally, after 20 minutes of blocking the early-morning sun, I'm set!

I often sit outside and put the netbook inside, where the front passenger seat was. I'm off to an early start this morn, -- 10:00 a.m. -- and the sun's angle was juuuuust right to come through the side window, reflect off the rearview mirror and into my eyes. Anyone else'd have tho't to move the mirror, but, being German, as I've noted before, the obvious eludes. Now, after the sun moved on, I'm trying again...with the leftovers from last night's beer (I usually only drink half) and a fly swatter (cows = cowshit = flies!!).

Metolius Headwaters - Mt Jefferson in the center on horizon

It's uncanny! After following Mr. Nose through several unmarked turns I came to a sign that read: Candle Creek Campground (CG). With no mention of mileage or direction, I was relieved when it appeared after about ten minutes. I cruised all 12 sites, a number of which are bounded by the raging and noisy torrents, even in late summer, of the Metolius. But I REALLY don't like staying in campgrounds (cg) and after sitting on the bank and absorbing its rant (Metolius is more than a babbling brook), I trundled on.

There are some placid spots

Not long after exiting the cg I noticed a dirt track I missed on my way in. It went back and went back and kept going. So did I. Eventually it reached the end....right next to...Candle Creek!  And it's a full-fledged, rip-snortin' li'l sucker too.

From the hatchery bridge - the Metolius

Its edges are overgrown with brush making it hard to get to, but I found a spot where I think I can (muttered with that intransigent optimism gleaned from The Little Engine That Could).

One nice thing...there's been a fire and I can see Eggbert from a distance. Thus, not so much chance of getting lost (dang trees!!).

There's a hill that affords a splendid view of Mt. Jefferson and its tattered mantle of snow. A pair of chipmunks stopped by to see if I had any ice for their martinis. (It was that time of day, after all.)

I was almost resigned to the C.G. when I left it. I've never gotten used to how it happens every evening. But, as per usual, home, this spot, was awaiting.