Big, beautiful – and hot | Eastern Oregon in July

You don’t usually go to the desert in the summer. Well, most of us don’t. It’s HOT. And this year at least, it’s on fire.

But Eastern Oregon is a unique natural and cultural destination and well worth a visit any time of year. And as it takes a while to get there, when you have some time, you have to make a run for it. I had some time – so I made a run for it. In July.

What’s the draw? Steens Mountain, the Owyhee river, Fossil, the John Day River, Abert Rim, the Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge, the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, Monument, the Painted Hills. And so much more.

Go east young (and old) man (and woman) – and discover still more of the state of wonder that is Oregon.

They don't live here anymore.  A common sight.
They don’t live here anymore. A common sight.
Empty.  Near Condon.
Empty. Near Condon.
1895 would have been a good time to be here.
1895 would have been a good time to be here.
For sale.  The Shamrock Club in Fossil.
For sale. The Shamrock Club in Fossil.
One business that is alive and well in eastern Oregon - the fire industrial complex.
One business that is alive and well in eastern Oregon – the fire industrial complex.
Just like the military.  The war against fire must go on.
Just like the military. The war against fire must go on.
Pastels near Fossil.
Pastels near Fossil.
About 15 minutes after a fire starts, someone is selling t shirts to commemorate it.
About 15 minutes after a fire starts, someone is selling t shirts to commemorate it.
The camp for fire fighters on Buzzard Complex fire in Crane, Oregon.
The camp for fire fighters on Buzzard Complex fire in Crane, Oregon.
An army has to eat.
An army has to eat.
Big business.
Big business.
Up in flames – your federal tax dollars, to fund another absurd WW II era style “solution” for our inability to live in harmony with the planet.
Sometimes scorched earth is a good thing.  Buzzard Complex burn north of the road near Crane, Oregon.
Sometimes scorched earth is a good thing. Buzzard Complex burn north of the road near Crane, Oregon.
Welcome to misfortune.
Welcome to misfortune.
Next stop Nevada.
Next stop Nevada.
One of the west's great rivers - the John Day.
One of the west’s great rivers – the John Day.
The zen fisherman asks: What at this moment is missing?  Nothing.
The zen fisherman asks: What at this moment is missing? Nothing.
Dominion.  Painting the desert green.  Water - gotta have it.
Dominion. Painting the desert green. Water – gotta have it.
As hot as you need to be.
As hot as you need to be.
'And offer abundant free camp sites to traveling dirtbags.' That's a lot of custom metal work!  South of John Day.
‘And offer abundant free camp sites to traveling dirtbags.’ That’s a lot of custom metal work! South of John Day.
Shaping the landscape.  We have always been here.
Shaping the landscape. We have always been here.
Ok, I'll keep the kid as long as he doesn't have to be this ugly.
Ok, I’ll keep the kid as long as he doesn’t have to be this ugly.
Owyhee Canyon.
Owyhee Canyon.
The water is 80 degrees in the Owyhee this time of year.
The water is 80 degrees in the Owyhee this time of year.

20140721_oregon_0085

Looking down into Three Forks, Owyhee River.
Looking down into Three Forks, Owyhee River.
I guess the locals already know their way around.
I guess the locals already know their way around.
The 35 mile dirt road to Three Forks of the Owyhee.
The 35 mile dirt road to Three Forks of the Owyhee.
No gas.  Closed service station in Burns Junction.
No gas. Closed service station in Burns Junction.
End of an era.
End of an era.
No immediate threat of over population here.
No immediate threat of over population here.
Abandoned homestead near Fields, Oregon.  100 years ago, this was your whole world.
Abandoned homestead near Fields, Oregon. 100 years ago, this was your whole world.
Here comes the rain - and lightning.  A storm rolls in Steens country.
Here comes the rain – and lightning. A storm rolls in Steens country.
Looking south from Steens.
Looking south from Steens.
Guns don't kill stop signs.
Guns don’t kill stop signs.
I wonder why they named it "Poverty Basin"...
I wonder why they named it “Poverty Basin”…