Saturday, May 13, 2023
For the third year in a row we made a trek to the Spring Basin Wilderness. Unlike past years when we camped nearby, this time we were too short on time for that and we stayed in a hotel in Madras.
It was 54 degrees at the trailhead at 7:40am, but it felt hotter than that. We set off on the trail under the blazing sun:
After climbing up for a mile we turned north on an old jeep track that gets fainter with each passing year:
But in some spots it’s very clear, for some reason:
There was a whole bunch of phlox blooming:
And of course the hedgehog cactus:
The jeep track goes up and down over the hills and down into depressions:
We continued to pass more phlox and more cactus:
We got to the spot where we normally go cross-country and head up to the summit of Horse Mountain. My foot was bothering me so I decided not to go. Greg went up Horse Mountain while I walked to a nearby knoll:
View of Horse Mountain (on the right) from the knoll:
I returned to the spot where we parted ways and sat in the shade. It was actually quite pleasant sitting here listening to the birds reading my book:
90 minutes later Greg came back down and we headed back. The afternoon was quite toasty now, but the wind had picked up significantly so that helped a bit with the heat:
We noticed these trees planted in a line. Must have been a fence line there at some point:
We got back to the car at 2:45. For post-hike stretching and drinks and snacks we drove to the place where we normally camp while visiting the area and sat by the John Day River, which is running very high. A very pleasant way to end the day!
Gaia stats: 6.9 miles, 1,300′ elevation gain