London, Paris, New York, BURNS

In far southeastern Oregon, the old west lives on. Ever wonder what places like Sun Valley, Jackson Hole, or Telluride were like before they became international destinations for the glitterati? Then go east, young man (and lady). To Burns, Oregon. And more broadly, to Harney and Malheur counties.

High and dry in a vast sage desert on the northern edge of basin and range, Oregon’s southeast corner is a great place to get lost. There’s just the right combination of natural and human interest. You can explore the high ridges of Steens Mountain, walk the baked white oven of the Alvord Desert, watch millions of birds come through the Malheur refuge, or float the deep and winding canyons of the Owyhee River. Sift through what’s left from pioneer attempts to subjugate and domesticate the land. Or explore the noir legend of Peter French.

The place is big, so you won’t find much company. There’s something like 40,000 people in an area about 1/3 the size of New England.

County – Square Miles – Population (2013 / 1980)
Harney – 10,135 – 7,260 / 8,314
Malheur – 9,888 – 31,440 / 26,896

So go to Burns.

And once you’ve had your fill of city living there – light out for the surrounding territory.

Be sure to bring plenty of your own fun, water, and gas.

You're going to need to do some of this to get there.
You’re going to need to do some of this to get there.
Peter French's round barn.
Peter French’s round barn.
Inside the round barn.
Inside the round barn.
On the Steens.
On the Steens.
Pyramids of the American west.  The neat rows of trees remain - but the house is gone.
Pyramids of the American west. The neat rows of trees remain – but the house is gone.
Cottonwood planted over a hundred years ago is now lifting up settler homestead.
Cottonwood planted over a hundred years ago is now lifting up settler homestead.
Be careful what you plant.
Be careful what you plant.
Mark of the French-Glenn Livestock Company.
Mark of the French-Glenn Livestock Company.
There was blood.  Cattle king Peter French built an empire - and was murdered by a penniless neighbor on December 26, 1897.
There was blood. Cattle king Peter French built an empire – and was murdered by a penniless neighbor on December 26, 1897.
All handmade juniper.
All handmade juniper.
When there's water at the Narrows.
When there’s water at the Narrows.
Field Station on the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.
Field Station on the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.
Oregon's big sky country.
Oregon’s big sky country.
A storm rolls over Steens country.
A storm rolls over Steens country.