Ahhh, I woke with another soak in the hotsprings this morning. I made myself a cup of french press as is custom, and saw the first glimmers of light from the massive desert sky. I didn’t linger though, cause I knew I had over 20 miles to hike today, and I wanted to get to my ending point of Fields before the store closed at 6pm.
I was hiking by 7, and had a quick stop at Frog Springs which would be my only potable water for the day. Most of the water around here is too alkali, brackish, or has high levels of arsenic. Good idea to pay attention to the water report around here folks!
I walked on dirt roads for most of the morning, and then had some cross country sections that had me wishing for pants. Whatever it is that looks like sagebrush but pointier, feels like a thousand sharp needles. Ouch.
I was on the playa and getting close to Alvord Lake. Cool sand and mud formations started popping up, and a white crust started coating the ground. At one point I started walking on the dry lakebed, and saw numerous tracks of ATVS that had done the same….but it had rained since the summer, and I sank into mud in places. I had several muddy streams to cross and I started to worry about quicksand, not knowing if that was a thing around here.
The patterns in the desert earth were infinitely interesting, and I loved the hike despite worrying about getting sucked down into the ashy alkali mud.
I knew I was approaching Borax hotsprings when the earth’s crust turned whiter and I could start to see steam rising from the countless scalding pools. These pools are too hot and temperamental to soak in, and it was here that I decided to skip up to Frenchglen back in June because I had blisters the size of small children on my feet.
I was back! Back at the scalding pools of arsenic water, and that only meant one thing! I had finished the Oregon Desert Trail!
Well, almost. I was still over 6 miles from anywhere, but fortunately I had booked a room at the Fields Sation and had a few hours to get there before the store closed.
6 miles takes forever when you are done with a thing, but texting and instagram helped pass the time. That and some Pandora.
When I got to Fields I order a beer and a round for anyone who wanted one. I only had one taker, but had a great time chatting with Sandy, Nancy and my domestic beer drinking new friend.
I missed the last call for the grill, but Sandy offer to microwave something for me, so I grabbed a frozen dinner and burrito to take to my room. Celebration time!
Enjoyed the trip and look forward to the next adventure you care to share.
Congratulations! When I saw the snow on the Steens when I was hiking north of Rome I wondered if it was passable…a tough descent to Wildhorse Lake, but you did it. Yes–please think about relocating the climb out of Wildhorse Canyon to the big cairn. Thanks for all your help on the ODT this year!
It was tough, but worth it!!! I enjoyed learning the trail along with you, I appreciate your enthusiasm! !