You may remember that I skipped a short section of the Oregon Desert Trail last month when I miscalculated my miles out of Christmas Valley. Well, I picked a random afternoon to finish up Section 1 from Spencer Wells Road to the Flatiron Rock Trailhead just outside the Badlands Wilderness. That random afternoon was yesterday.
Since I was so close to Bend, I had my co-worker Ben drop me off at Spencer Wells Road and I left a car at Flatiron so I could head home when I was finished. (Side note, Ben or Bluegrass, hiked the PCT in 2006 too although I never met him on the trail. Now we work together on the ODT!)
I walked up a series of OHV roads for the first few miles, and what had been poofy volcanic dust that coated everything last month, had been tamed by some recent rain showers. I lucked out with the weather though, and even though the sky was overcast, enjoyed a warm afternoon for my hike.
After my first short climb up the side of an unnamed butte near Horse Ridge, I took a break and was surprised at some voices behind me. Mountain Bikers were making their way on the next ridgeline. I hadn’t realized the bike trails came out this far. I couldn’t see anything on my maps, so was curious to see where they were riding. I was a short way into a 3 mile cross country section when I happened upon one of those trails! Trail! Trail where I didn’t know there was trail. SWEET! I decided to see where it went, and followed it for about 2.5 miles until I determined it was going the opposite direction I wanted to go, so made my way another mile to the end of Horse Butte. It would be fantastic to be able to take a few miles of cross country onto an existing trail. Bonus! I’ll have to touch base with the Prineville BLM to find maps of these new trails, perhaps there are other opportunities in this area.
I circled around the south edge of the butte, and soon came to a trailhead where I’ve been several times before with my good pal Speedstick. This was one of her favorite hikes outside of Bend, and would park and hike up the steepest section of Horse Butte regularly last year as she was preparing for her calendar triple crown hike this year. (If you haven’t heard, Speedstick fell in love with another hiker, Rookie, and left her adventure on the CDT – after her winter hike of the AT – to explore the even more exciting prospect of true love.)
I only had a short cross country section to go to make it to the car and the completion of this section.
Only 65 more miles to go (I’ll be re-hiking 7 of these miles to finish in Fields where I got off in June)
That will make 783 miles hiked on the ODT this year. Yep, the total mileage of the trail is 750, but I’ve been hiking alternate routes left and right, so that seems to have added on a few miles! Nothing wrong with that!