My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Monday, October 29, 2012

Steen Mountain, Closed for the Winter

I really wanted to show Lucy Steen Mountain.  I tried to get her to go by herself but she was busy looking at stuff closer.  Then on my first weekend with her, we went to John Day Fossil Day Fossil Beds.  The next week, she took my car and drove off to see some of western Oregon and visit her cousin who lives in Corvalis, OR.  Then, right after she got back, it snowed, about a half inch one day, and four inches the next. Since the top of Steen is at almost 10,000 feet, I was pretty sure we were not going to make it to the top.  

We stopped at Buena Vista to check out the view.  All the ponds are gone and there are only a few sparrows around. 

View to Steen Mountain From Buena Vista Overlook

A Closer Look at First Snow of Fall on Steen Mountain

 We did a quick stop at P-Ranch to see the long barn and other structures and to take a short walk along Blitzen River. It is the most beautiful along this stretch where it has been improved to a better spawning area for fish.

The cattle wheel, used to hang cattle to butcher

This lifted loose hay on and off the hay wagon
The long barn

Hand made hinges

Lucy walking where the horses roamed

Blitzen River
 But I was really surprised to find snow on the Steen Loop Road at 5000 feet.  We turned around, before seeing much of anything, and went back through Frenchglen and then tried the southern end of the loop.  This time we barely got past the gate to the upper portion before we had to turn around. We did get pretty close to one of the gorges and got to see a few wild horses.

One of several gorges on Steen Mountain

A few wild horses
We had planned to explore Riddle Ranch but found the gate was closed and we would have to hike six miles round trip on a muddy road.  We decided we didn't have enough time or inclination for that long of a hike. 

On the work front, I’ve finished my part of the bee display.  I have several different wildflowers that I dried, then arranged.  Then I glued some bees and butterflies I’d collected on the flowers. And Carla, the staff member who does most of the displays here, has almost finished the posters.  For some of them, she is using my pictures and adding facts I’ve researched about the flowers I dried and also the bees found here. She is going to give me the files for all the posters so I can share them with others. I’ll put up a post of them that will come out after I’ve gone. 

I started writing this over the weekend but we were without Internet until today, Monday afternoon. The staff gave me a going away luncheon and both a sweat shirt and a jacket with the Volunteer logo on them. Then I took back all the materials that belonged somewhere else, build a rack to carry three bags on top of the car, finished packing and cleaned the house up, all with Lucy's help.  We cleaned out our refrigerator and gave almost two coolers of food, staples, and condiments to the two interns. 

Tomorrow,  starting about 5:00 A.M.  we are going to Boise,  Idaho for a little shopping and to get my car checked. I’m afraid my starter may be going out since the car will barely start some mornings, but the battery checks out fine. Then we’ll sleep – if the car gets fixed – near Crater of the Moon National Park. We’ll spend two nights and a day there before going to Bryce NP, then Zion NP, Santa Fe, a state park in North Texas, and before arriving  in Houston on November seventh or eighth. 

I’ll probably not have time to edit pictures or put up any blogs until I get to Galveston where I’ll be pet-sitting at my friend, Natalie’s house. I think she has some painting jobs waiting for me as well.  But I’ll catch you up on my adventures after November 10.