The SnoPark, Timber Lodge, and Zig Zag Falls

Friday, July 20, 2018. It’s a warm, sunny beginning to the day even at 6:00 a.m.  As I pull out of the rest area north of Madras, Oregon I think of the cooler weather up ahead. At least I am hoping it will be cooler.

We are headed west, still on Hwy 26, and drive through the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. Other than the casino at the very eastern end there isn’t much out here but a few houses here and there, brush and some timber. The wind is blowing sideways, and it’s pretty strong.  I white knuckle through and we gain the SnoPark with no mishaps.

The plan is to stay at the SnoPark in the Mt Hood National Forest for a few days.  Upon arrival I note there are a few travel trailers and a motorhome or two. The very large parking area is divided in half by a strip of brush and trees, and the vault toilet is located here, too. I find a spot on the west side. There is only one other vehicle parked here and he’s at the very tippy top, next to the road. It’s a peaceful quiet night.

July 21st, Saturday.  I feed the boys and we take a walk.  I discover, on the other side of the access road to the SnoPark, a small dispersed campsite on a dirt road.  We finish our walk then we move to the new camp.  Big mistake.

As the morning gives way to afternoon we are bombarded with dirt bikes. Waves of dirt bikes in groups of five or six roar past our camp and envelope us in dust.  Once the herd is past it is quiet for the rest of the day, but they again gear up and roar past in the evening.

We take a wander across the road to the parking lot and discover the SnoPark has filled to capacity with a sea of moms and dads, grandpas and grandmas and their motor homes and travel trailers, some tents.  All manner of recreational vehicles and trailers here for a motor cross event!  Oh boy, that explains the dirt bikes. We hear a few oohs and awwwes, directed toward The Chiweenie Brothers. I know they are smiling!

It does quiet down for a good night’s rest, but next morning I hear revelie.  The motoring herd will once again make an appearance.  Enough of this, we’re outta here. It takes a mere ten minutes to pack up and we are on the road. I love being so mobile!

We drive to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood.  I LOVE Mt. Hood.   There is just something very special about this mountain, but I have no idea what.  Maybe the lush green that surrounds it?  Maybe the way it juts up into sky with a commanding air?  I don’t know.

You can read more about historic Timberline Lodge HERE .

I make a quick, illegal stop along the highway on the way back down the mountain to get a couple of shots of these small waterfalls alongside the road.

As we tip over the top and begin the decent down Hwy 26 toward civilization again, I begin looking for the road into Zig Zag Falls that I had found on the map last night.

An easy hike and a beautiful water fall.

Love this old bridge, part of the old highway that once went through here at one time.

As we are taking in the bridge and surrounding area I discover a small empty campsite right at the perimeter of the parking lot. It’s banked on both sides with green bushes and sits right along Zig Zag Creek. We spend the night here before continuing on down the highway.

 

 

The Painted Hills

It’s Thursday, July 19th, and  we are up early and ready to rock and roll.  I packed up before bed last night after a couple of gals pulled into the campground in a small gold passenger car, threw up a tent, and proceeded to build a huge campfire.  From my perspective it looked like the flames were four feet high.  The wind usually comes up in the evening here at Barnhouse, so it had me a bit worried.  No harm getting ready to roll just in case.  To their credit they stayed right with the fire until it burned down a little and didn’t throw any more wood on it. 

The boys fed and out for a quick potty run, I get the big green machine on the road.  The morning air is nice and cool and we take our sweet time wending our way down the mountain.

The boys are suddenly on high alert when they notice a herd of antelope crossing the road ahead of us.  I slow down from a meander to a crawl and get as close as I dare to get a photo.

DSC_0022 (2)Antelope on road into our Barnhouse CampAs we gain Hwy 26 the plan is to take in the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. I spot this old barn along the way.

DSC_0054

DSC_0071

These hills are fascinating and beautiful.

DSC_0068Painted Hills

Once we are finished drinking in the odd, stark but colorful Painted Hills we head west again on Hwy 26 and go through Prineville purchasing gas here.  Almost $100 to fill up!! Welcome to the west coast.  Just prior to landing in Redmond, I get this shot of The Sisters through the trees only because there was a place to pull over.  Most two lane roads are not conducive to photography for lack of sufficient places large enough to get off the road, but I was lucky with this one.

DSC_0073 Sisters Mtns

And I wasn’t about to pass up stopping to photograph this gorgeous old building when a parking spot right by it called my name. Of course it was too close to get the whole beautiful building in the shot, but I will take what I can get.

DSC_0072In Redmond, OR   Then we make a dog park stop.  The Redmond dog park is one of the cleanest dog parks we’ve been in.  I was a bit weary and didn’t bother bringing the camera in with us, but the boys had a marvelous time!

With no place found to stop for the night we head on to Madras. I have enough time to do laundry and get ice and then we’re back on the road heading to the rest area just north of here.  It’s in a construction zone and they worked far into the night, but a place to park is a place to park, and I am grateful I didn’t have to drive on in search of a camp.  AND, I found out who discovered Mt. Shasta.  Say what? One finds this out in Oregon?  Yep.

DSC_0075Sign at the rest area

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel! Hugs, Shawna

 

 

Prairie City. John Day. Fossil Beds. Barnhouse Camp Ground

July 7, 2018. We leave our lovely camp, Wetmore, in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and head west on Hwy 26.  I rarely go more than 50 miles a day, sometimes 75, but this day proves a long one. 

We make a quick stop just up the road from Wetmore Camp Ground and I buy a block of ice and think how getting rid of the bigger Cube Cooler in Utah was such a good choice. This smaller one is so much easier to handle.

We motor on and gain the area near Prairie City where there is an overlook presiding over the valley below.  A  giant replica of a Conestoga wagon houses a few tiny facts about the surrounding area, but is mainly advertisements for the little town.

DSC_0003 (2)Larger-than-life Prairie Schooner, Prairie City, OR  It looks hot and dry down there in the valley, and we’re headed that way.

There are several small towns and a lot of highway we travel on before we reach John Day where I make a stop at their local market. A box of Cheese Nips is almost $5. I don’t buy much just enough to get us through a couple of days.

We stop at the little park in town and find a nice shade tree under which we park and have lunch.  Lordy, it’s hot. I am grateful for the large shade trees.

After lunch I scout a road I saw coming in that goes to a little town called Canyon City only to find there is road work, and a lot of it, up ahead. I am not in the mood to sit in this heat waiting to get through so I turn around and head back toward Hwy 26.

There is a marvelous old antique shop alongside the road with old buggies and some wonderful metal sculptures of pigs and goats and such, but I am too tired and too hot to bother stopping for photos. I know I will regret this later, but right now, at this moment, I do not care.  I just need to get the big green machine moving with some air blowing on us.

Travelling back through town again, we leave John Day behind, and the day seems to get warmer, but we determinately move forward, eventually coming to an overlook just before the John Day Fossil Beds.  It’s an interesting stop, but lordy it’s SOOOO hot. I know. I am whining.

The boys don’t even want to be outside, but they do need a potty break, and it’s a quick one.  On the way back down the hill I stop and get a shot of this old homestead and one of a wooden farm thingy, looking like it’s for loading grain or hay or something.

Just up the highway is the John Day River and the entrance–after a short ride through the rock-walled canyon–into the Sheep Rock Unit of the fossil beds.

DSC_0014John Day River

 

DSC_0016Just past the Fossil Bed National Mon Sign

DSC_0015  It’ not far in, maybe three or four miles, but once at the visitor’s center I find not a spot of shade to be had anywhere.  I will not leave the boys in a hot car and it’s hot, hot, hot. Reluctantly, but necessary, I turn the van around, and we head back out to Hwy 26.  I do stop briefly in a couple of places to grab these shots.

It’s been a long, hot day, and as I am wondering just where we are going to lay our heads tonight, I spy out of the corner of my eye as I am driving by, a National Forest sign and the words ‘Barnhouse Camp’.  At this point I really do not care how much I have to pay for a site, we need to stop.

I get turned around, and we head into the Ochoco Mountains and toward TREES.  It’s about four miles in and it’s paved all the way to Barnhouse Campground and beyond to two more campgrounds.  This is a dry camp, but it has a vault toilet, tables, and fire rings.  FREE. No water, and pack your garbage out.  That’s a deal to me!

Grateful to have a place to call home for a day or two, but I don’t make camp until the next morning, after a cool and restful night.  Oh how wonderful to be out of the valley and up where it’s cool.   We’ll sleep good tonight.

DSC_0037 (2) Next morning we take a hike along the Barnhouse Trail.  It’s not a regularly maintained trail, and pretty tough going so we don’t go too far.  DSC_0039 (2)Barn House Trail Sign                                                        DSC_0052 (2)Fries along the creek at Barnhouse

DSC_0044 (2)Water Trough Barnhouse Camp     This old water trough hewn from a log is interesting!

Even though we don’t hike very far on the Barnhouse Trail, there are enough chipmunks in camp to keep The Chiweenie Brothers extremely occupied between morning and evening loops around the camp lest we forget how to walk.  🙂

DSC_0025 (2)Digger Charlie, Barnhouse camp

 

DSC_0036 (2)Charlie digging at Barnhouse FS Camp east of Mitchell OR off Hwy 26

Thank you for stopping by 2DogsTravel! Hugs, Shawna

We stay three days then head out. Coddiwompling all the way.

Coddiwomple

Wetmore Campground, Hwy 26, Oregon

As we leave the valley floor behind after our visit to Unity, Oregon and the history of the fight for water from the Burnt River, we begin to climb in elevation. I am very happy about this as it will mean a respite from the building heat.

Amongst the tall pines we find the Forest Service campground, Wetmore, and it’s totally empty. I choose a nice shaded site and we settle in. The breeze floating through the pine boughs murmurs a sweet welcome.

After lunch the boys and I take a nap. A few people drive through but no one stays; perhaps because it’s right by the highway? I do not find the sparse traffic annoying, and here we will stay for five days. Tomorrow we will explore the walking trail.

There is a lovely walking trail between Wetmore and the next campground, Yellow Pine, and only a half mile hike.  It does have a couple of switchbacks to gain some elevation, but it’s an easy walk. The Chiweenie Brothers and I walk this every morning.

DSC_0027 (1)Bridge to the Wetmore CG trail

DSC_0030 (1)Chweenies on Wetmore CG TrailDSC_0022 (1)Huge Rock along trail in Wetmore CampDSC_0031 (1)Wetmore trail to Yellow Pine CG

We hate to leave this camp, but supplies are

running low. Time to move on.  Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel.com  Hugs, Shawna

CAMP AMENITIES

Water:  Yes            Garbage: No

Bathrooms:  Vault Toilet at upper tier    Electricity: No

Tables: Yes             Shower: No

Fire Pit:  Yes           BBQ: No

# of Sites:   !2         Fee: $5/$2.50 

Other:  Don’t leave your doors open at night.  Lots of mice. Ask me how I know this.  😦 — But it’s okay. The Chiweenie Brothers are perfecting their eradication skills. 

DSC_0032 (1)Wetmore to Yellow Pine trail

Continuing Our Trek to Unity and Beyond

As we continue our drive along Hwy 7, we have mostly bald mountains, a green, irrigated fertile valley, and the Burnt River.

DSC_0061Skyline of burned trees, Hwy 7

DSC_0057Burned tree and skyline Hwy 7 near Hereford OR

We gain the little town of Hereford, OR. I stop at a kiosk standing alongside the road and in front of an old, well-cared for building from days gone by; Hereford Union High.

DSC_0062Old Building, now the high school in Hereford, OR, Hwy 7.JPG

DSC_0063Hereford, OR old building explanation Sign

We eventually make it to Unity, a spot in the road, but it does boast it’s own tiny post office and small market. More history here as a historical marker tells of the fight between ranchers and miners for the water that was available.

DSC_0004 (1)Eldorado Ditch sign Unity, OR

 

DSC_0006 (1)Eldorado Ditch sign

My curiosity satisfied we backtrack to the turnoff along Hwy 26 that will take us west and will, eventually, take us to John Day.

We climb a bit in elevation and the rolling bald hills give way to forest. This will be a nice respite from the heat that is supposed to hang around for another couple of weeks. I hope you will join us in our next camp! Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs! Hugs, Shawna

Baker City and The Burn

After five days at our sweet little camp off Hwy 244 beyond the little town of Ukiah, Oregon, we head east to La Grande. The only appeal this city has for me is their dog park at Riverview Park. The Chiweenie Brothers are treated to two different play times on Sunday, July 8th and another romp the next morning. The weather is warming up and it’s quite a complex decision on which way to go from here. Mileage. Elevation. The availability of shade. All play a factor, and I spend a very warm afternoon making that decision.
Tuesday morning, July 10th, I bounce out of bed just before sunrise, the boys get a quick walk to relieve themselves, and we are on the road by 6:00 a.m. heading southeast toward Unity. The boys are excited to be on the road, Fries doing his usual front-paws-on-the-dashboard thing when he’s excited about going somewhere. It’s only a hundred miles, but it’s twice as long as our usual driving days are. I nose Freedom onto I-84 and we head to our halfway point, Baker City.

Sticking to today’s “It’s a Wild Wiener Dog Day” (a nice ride, the dog park, McD’s) we head directly to the dog park. Waggers going ninety, the Chiweenie Brothers are beside themselves with this delightful surprise. And …. They have the place to themselves. After about an hour of running, wrestling, and hiking (of legs), I load them up and head to McD’s for a large coffee and a sausage biscuit to share, and we are on the road to our destination, Unity, Oregon.

I follow the GPS’ directions which takes us down Main Street into the historical section. I had no idea what we would find and am dismayed that I am not prepared for the historic old buildings here. I am oooing and awwwing and totally forget about photographs.

Once out of town we drive through a beautiful valley DSC_0043 Oregon Hwy 7 Valley Floor after coming down off Dooley Mountain

and then onto Hwy 7 and into the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.  It’s a two-lane, tortuous, snaking road of about 25 miles with a speed limit the same, and it takes us for a climb before throwing us downhill through what is left of the forest after the Rail Fire swept through here in 2016.

What’s left is terrible and fascinating at the same time. The recovering undergrowth of grass and bushes is lush and green,  the blackened skeletal remains of the burned trees jut upward toward a brilliant blue sky.

Although a terrible tragedy it is interesting to see the underbelly of a forest now gone. It allows one to see just how rugged and steep this mountain range really is, and seeing the road ahead in places where it twists and turns, actually makes for a very interesting drive.

DSC_0047Hwy 7 Fries looking out the window in burn


As we come out of the mountains we travel along the irrigated green valley with some interesting old barns. We’re still a ways from our destination, but the drive is lovely, taking us through some bald, rolling hills; an interesting backdrop to the lush green of the valley.

DSC_0053one of the old buildings along Hwy 26 in Oregon

 

To be continued …

Thanks for stopping by! Hugs, Shawna