Successful Season on the Oregon Desert Trail

Following an incredible first year on the job MAKING A TRAIL (still a dream job after a year!), I wrote this letter for some papers in the high desert. It’s no joke, the people I meet on the way are a huge reason why I hike. We may be a divided country on a lot of fronts, but it always seems like we have lots in common when you meet a stranger in the backcountry and start telling stories.

I floated past Ron and his grandson Gavin on my packraft trip in the Owyhee this July

I floated past Ron and his grandson Gavin on my packraft trip in the Owyhee this July

Successful Season on the Oregon Desert Trail

I’ve lived in Oregon for over 12 years, and have enjoyed spending time hiking, packrafting, and exploring the public lands of the high desert. This year I spent almost seven weeks walking across Eastern Oregon along the 750-mile Oregon Desert Trail. In addition to the wildlife, wildflowers, and incredible desert skies, I encountered countless acts of generosity from the people I met along the way. From a handful of fresh cherries, to a ride back to my car, and ice cold water on a hot July day, these gifts from chance encounters are a big reason I love putting on a pack. I can’t think of a better way to learn about a place than to share a beer and a story or two with someone, and hear about some of their favorite places to explore.

Four other hikers completed the entire route this year in addition to countless others who spent a day or two hiking in the desert; they all had similar stories of generosity and chance encounters. All were safe and successful in navigating the route in what is a series of trails, old two-track roads, and cross country hiking. It’s a challenging route as there are no physical markers on the ground, but that didn’t deter those backcountry navigators from enjoying and exploring the high desert.

Thank you to all in Bend, Christmas Valley, Summer Lake, Paisley, Lakeview, Plush, Adel, Frenchglen, Fields, Denio, McDermitt, Rome and Adrian, and all those in between.

—Renee Patrick, Oregon Desert Trail Coordinator

5 thoughts on “Successful Season on the Oregon Desert Trail

  1. Thanks for sharing such important impressions about your treks. The wilderness experiences provide such important impressions about real people.

    Keep up the good work!



    Liked by 1 person

  2. Renee, what a pleasure to follow your journey! A chance encounter brought us together! We love to follow your journeys and live vicariously through you! You are a great spokesperson for the Oregon Desert Trail! I can’t wait to make it to Bend to see you and explore the ODT!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Renee, meeting and chatting with you in the Owyhee was the high point of our adventure and what an awesome adventure it was!
    Ron and Gavin


    • Ron & Gavin, it was so great to see you on the river that day! I didn’t meet many people on that trip, but so wonderful to round the bend and see you two there. I hope you are able to get out and do some more exploring soon!


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