Summer 2018 Tour Part 2
Our First Leg was spent at the Three Forks of the Owyhee in the extreme South-East corner of the state of Oregon. We had more time, more rocks, more hot springs, and more fun to have.
One of my all time favorite places to look around for rocks takes you in and out of Idaho to get there. Scrub laced hills hide fancy patterned agates and jaspers that grow like zippers in the seams of the earth.
Here’s one of those zippers now. Detailed growths of minerals meander and feather their way through a variety of tinted Agates and Jaspers. Every color of the rainbow is possible but though blue high on my hope list.This chunk here is the nicest piece I’ve had the luck to find.
Plenty of room to move around here. We jumped out of our rigs around lunch-time and everyone forgot about lunch. One toast with beers to celebrate another great destination and we all scattered in different directions to look. The sun was setting on our visit before Mike suggested Mexican Food in town. We were famished, grimy, and exceedingly satisfied with some wonderful scores.
The next day we set out into the total unknown, a stretch of South-East country neither of us had ventured to. Dirt roads were the only roads and cool outposts like Camp Smith dotted the landscape. History was not forgotten here though the terrain looked like it had been in stasis since the wild western days.
The chalk splits on a leaf if you are lucky. We broke a lot of chalk, could have made a school full of chalkboards happy and looked fairly ghostly when we were done (hard to do with the severe sunburn I was sporting). The simple to intricate leaf patterns were well worth the sketchy scramble up the sharp white avalanche. Some leaves were recognizable such as the Willow, Cottonwood, and Maple.
A bucket list slam dunk for me is to cleave fossils out of a cliff. The area has some chalk beds that reveal books shelves of material to page through. It was not unlike working with dry wall, then with a chisel and hammer, cajoling pieces to split to reveal their ancient secrets.
So remember the grimy thing about rock hounding? We were traveling with a couple of field guides and one helped us find this hot spring. Somewhere Southwest of Jordan Valley and before Fields. what seriously feels like the middle of nowhere, is this happy tub for dusty travelers. Two pools that boasted warm and hot made refreshed travelers out of us.
Then The Alvord Playa
Steve felt pretty strongly about coming out this way. He’d wanted to hit this and the Steens Mountains for a long time but it’s a really long way to come if you’re not traveling with someone. We were all in good company for this incredible leg of the journey. The dry lake bed, or Playa, goes on for almost as far as the eye can see. It feels otherworldly.