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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂
Thank you for stopping by 2DogsTravel! Hugs, Shawna
We stay three days then head out. Coddiwompling all the way.