My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Saturday, March 3, 2012

On The Oregon Trail

Last Tuesday was an exciting day. After going to a 75th birthday party for the Sacramento NWR where the volunteers were also recognized - I volunteered 518 hours - I finished packing my Honda Fit. Then after a few hours of sleep, I left at 4:00 A.M. for Malheur NWR  which is about a 500 mile drive.
California Dawn
 By the time dawn arrived, I was in the  mountains northeast of Redding, Califronia, on Highway 299.  As the day brightened, the views stretched across broad plains. A storm was promised by evening and I watched the clouds roll in.

View across the valley
Water in the landscape
Scenic highway

By the time I reached Oregon, it was mostly cloudy.  Traffic was mostly very light but I had a road hazard that consisted of a flock of big horn sheep. Then I found cows were free ranging.  And I went through a little sand storm. 

Winter storm rolling in

Oregon Road Hazard

Cows roam free in Oregon
Sand dunes along the road

By 2:30, I was only about thirty minutes away from Malheur. I started seeing water on both sides of the road holding Canada geese, tundra swans,  and a flock of snow geese - they are just starting to move north and have just arrived here.

Canada geese live here year round

Swans are migrating north

Then I saw a very familiar sight - the Malheur fire tower which is a clone of the one at Sacramento NWR.  A few minutes later, I was at the Visitor Center meeting with Lisa and Carey, the two ladies I'll be working under.

The Malheur fire tower

Almost Home

Visitor Center

Then it was time to drive on down to the volunteer area and find my little house. I'm the only volunteer here for now.  I figured out why when it starting snowing while I was unloading my car.  I had it about halfway unloaded  when the snow got so heavy that I didn't want to be out in it. I think most people know it won't be spring here for another month.

New Home Sweet Home AKA Coyote Hollow

After the snow

I'm sure I'm going to love this place.