I woke up early to meet Mike, one of my colleagues at ONDA, to drive out to Burns, where I would then meet Julie, a former ONDA board member and desert guru, who would then take me to McDermitt where I would meet Ken, the owner of the market there, who would take me to Anderson Crossing where I had started my trip last time. Logistics of getting around to these remote areas of the Oregon desert can be complicated.
All was going well until I got to McDermitt to find Ken had to make a last minute trip to Boise due to some broken equipment, and he thought i was going next week! It was only a minute before Julie offered to drive me to Anderson Crossing. She had a small car, but has lived long enough in the desert to know to put heavy duty tires on the car…and even though the car would be scraping bottom in places, she was gracious enough to make the trip.
I’m glad she did, I had a great time getting to know her and learning about her years living in the high desert. I definitely owe her dinner sometime soon!
It was the hottest part of the day when I got started. Instead of dropping down into the canyon at first, I opted to check out an alternate entry 9 miles further down stream. I had heard the first miles of the little west Owyhee (Louse Canyon ) were a very brushy bushwack, and I had a data point from a spot someone entered the canyon a few years ago. 9 miles of hiking on old roads put me in 13.5 river miles from Anderson Crossing. It was hot, but there was a decent breeze. My pack was massive with all my boating stuff, 7 days of food and things like wag bags I usually don’t carry (no pooping in the canyon! Pack it out!
I hope to float more than pack, but we’ll see. I dropped down at Flag crossing, but took my time picking my way down the boulders…on high alert for rattlesnakes and ankle twisting rocks. The extra weight makes everything take a little longer, so I was more realistic in my mileage on this trip. I will be lucky to average 10-13 miles a day in the canyon either walking along the water or paddling.
The heat had gotten to me, and even though I was drinking water and eating snacks, I felt a little out of sorts in the canyon bottom. I took some time to lay back and rest, and finally decided to just call it a day. It wasn’t even 6, but I’m trying to learn from my last ODT section hike and not try to do too much at the beginning. I have an open ended finish date this time, and can even take more than 7 days for this first stretch if I need to. I’ve tried to think of all the senarios of what I would encounter down here, and having flexibility is definitely a major factor in a successful trip out here.
It’s already a beautiful deep canyon. The water is shin deep so far and fairly stagnant. Lots of cow poop and willows too. I’m not expecting to be able to boat for a few days, so will be picking my way down stream. I’m stoked to finally be here!