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Tom Weir - Oregon Desert Trail Journal - 2018

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Tom Weir
City: Pullman
State: WA
Country: USA
Begins: Apr 28, 2018
Direction: Eastbound

Daily Summary
Date: Thu, Apr 26th, 2018
Start: Pullman
End: Bend
Daily Distance: 0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 470
Journal Visits: 2,124
Guestbook Views: 24
Guestbook Entrys: 4

Oregon Desert Trail Map

Unfinished Business

Last year at about this time, I attempted to thru-hike the Oregon Desert Trail. The ODT is not really a trail but a route. It follows old roads, goes cross country, and only occasionally exists as constructed trail. Starting about 10 miles east of Bend, the ODT winds it's way 750 miles across southeastern Oregon to near Owyhee Dam. The ODT was created by the Oregon Natural Desert Association to showcase the natural wonders of Oregon's Outback. It crosses through the lava flows and cinder cones between Bend and Paisley. South of Paisley it joins the Fremont National Recreation Trail to climb over the mountains to the base of the Abert Rim, the longest and one of the tallest fault scarps in the country. Then up on the rim past ancient stone hunting blinds to the Warner Wetlands and the tiny town of Plush. The ODT then crosses Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge to Frenchglen. Then up on Steens Mountain where glaciers have cut U shaped valleys into the fault-block mountain. The route drops precipitously to the playa of the Alvord Desert. Then on to tiny Fields, where the store is famous for its milkshakes. Then cross country through the Pueblo Mountains to pass just north of Denio, NV. The route then runs through the Trout Creek Mountains and crosses US95 nine miles north of McDermitt, NV. Then comes the crux of the whole trail, the canyons of the Owyhee River. The trail drops into the canyon of the West Little Owyhee at Anderson Crossing and follows the river for 35 miles to the confluence with the Owyhee which it follows for ten miles. The route along the rivers is either a bush wack along the shore, a wade in the river, or even a swim when the canyon narrows. The route climbs out of the canyons at Three Forks and follows the rim to the outpost of Rome, OR. From Rome the trail passes through the highlands to the east of the river to the terminus at Owyhee Lake State Park.

Last year I had some shoe/foot problems and had to drop off the trail after hiking Bend to Lakeview and then Plush to Lakeview. Since then I have found better shoe. I have also gotten in better shape by hiking the Arizona Trail last fall. I am now ready to give the ODT another try.
The ONDA has recently added some alternate routes to the trail. Some are for scenic reasons and some go through towns to make resupply easier. I plan to take the Christmas Valley alternate so I don't have to hitchhike in from the Wagontire Highway crossing to resupply. Also, since I hiked the main route last year, this will be something new. I will also take the McDermitt alternate to avoid another hitch. I am skipping Lakeview as a resupply. I would rather carry all the way from Paisley to Plush than to try to hitch the eight miles into Lakeview along 395. I might also take some of the scenic alternates. There is a good chance that I will take the Orejana Canyon alternate and the Blitzen River alternate.

I am excited to be back on the route. I am dedicated to finishing this time. I've given myself plenty of time so a small delay won't derail the whole hike. So here I go again

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Tom On The ODT, Take 2

A Hike Across Oregon's Outback


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