Plush - not so cozy? - Oregon 6/5/13

Jimmy and I continued on our journey, taking scenic Hwy 299 out of Lassen and rejoining Hwy 395 in Alturas, CA, approx 40 miles south of Oregon.  In checking our camping books, it didn't take us long to realize there wasn't anyplace in the town we wanted to stay!  Just over the Oregon line is Goose Lake SRA (state recreation area), and that's where we spent Tues and Wed nites.  This peaceful campground with green grass and shade trees of all kinds around each site, sits on the shore of Goose Lake - a large, shallow lake that straddles the Oregon-California border.  Robins and doves, blackbirds and swallows were very active.  We saw one robin nest with lots of little mouths, so the red-breasted friends were busy pulling up big fat worms and taking any bug they could find.  Mule deer live in the area, too, and we saw them both days.

We were able to sleep with our bedroom window open again, at least till very early morning when Jimmy would close it.  It gets light so early now!  The first nite I laid there with my head on the pillow looking up at a brazillion stars, including the Big Dipper, and sometime in the nite, a pair of owls began a hoo-hoo-hooo serenade.  No owls the second nite, but we heard coyotes yip-yip-yipping just after dark.  Sounded fairly close, too.  I loved snuggling under the cover and waking to look at the stars, but hammering woodpeckers woke us at 4:45, when it was full light!  Obviously we enjoyed our stay here.

Landlocked Goose Lake is disappearing as farmers pull water out to irrigate crops.  While we got closer than this picture, we couldn't even get to the lake!  Thru my binocs, I saw Canada geese, American avocets, Black-necked stilts, and a flock of gulls (plus others) in the murky shallows.  Can I tell you the marshy area didn't smell so good?

Lilacs were still blooming... and doesn't our dashboard look nice?

Lakeview is 14 miles north of the campground and we stopped in here to pick up some essentials.  So, I've never seen a Safeway (or any other grocery store) sign like this.  Have you?

Scared up a couple of handsome fellas at a waterhole on the way to Plush.

Wednesday morning we hit the road in Smartie, heading for Plush OR and the sunstone digging sites nearby.  Sunstone is the Oregon state gemstone.  When most people think of Oregon, they think gray skies and rain, but there's another side to the state.  Much of the eastern half of Oregon is arid, sage-covered high desert.  This time of year, it's also hot.  The drive was very scenic, over a forested mountain range and into the sage.  After Plush (not much to this one!), the roads turned to easy gravel, and we drove on, and then sharp gravel, and we drove on, and then onto another BLM road that stopped us.  We have no sunstones for show 'n tell -- we turned around without a qualm.  Smart cars have no spare tire and we didn't want to risk a flat, not to mention the beating our jaws were taking from the rough road.  Well, we tried, that's all I can say!

No sunstones?  No problem - on to Plan B!  We drove to Hart Mountain overlook.  Hart Mountain Nat'l Antelope Refuge is located on a massive fault-block ridge that ascends abruptly nearly four thousand feet above the Warner Valley floor in a series of rugged cliffs, steep slopes and knife-like ridges.  We didn't continue on up to the refuge, as the antelope wouldn't be in seen this time of year.  

Yeehaw!  Giddy-up sez the truck driver!  She'll be comin' 'round the mountain when she comes....

Jimmy at the overlook.  We were up so high and could see for miles and miles.  The Warner Valley chain of (closed-drainage basin) lakes, at the base of the Hart Mountain scarp, extends fifty miles, interconnected by narrow canals.  At one time, the entire Warner Valley was covered by a single vast lake. However, the water level gradually receded, leaving a chain of lakes at the low spots with marsh land between the lakes, and a bathtub ring called "Poker Jim Bathtub Ring."

We saw very little bird life on any of the lakes.  The marshes were full of yellow-headed and red-winged blackbirds in their bright spring plumage (think mating).  This little guy (Ruddy duck) was putting on quite a show for some cute li'l gal just out of our range of vision.  He was doin' the dance!  Fun to watch!

Not sure exactly how many miles we put on Smartie today, but we did gas up in Lakeview on our return.  We were gone all day.  We checked out a couple of remote Forest Service campgrounds in the forested mountains, but they were too isolated for us.  Doesn't hurt to look.  We had a grand time scoping out southeastern Oregon.

1 comment:

  1. ah well, at least you tried! I have never tried camping at Goose Lake for the reasons you mentioned. Sorry you missed the sunstones but at least you got to see the overlook.


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