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SE Oregon Hot Springs Tour

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SE Oregon Hot Springs Tour

Postby oldranger » Tue May 12, 2009 2:32 pm

Last Thursday AM Kathy and I took off for a tour of 4 hotsprings in SE Oregon. The plan was to camp a night, stay in the old French Glen Hotel, camp a night, stay in a little cabin at Crystal Crane Hotsprings. The plan worked! We covered a little over 700 miles in 5 days and 4 nights.

First stop was Summer Lake Hotsprings.
Summer Lake.JPG

Then we traveled a circuitous route to Hart Mt. Hotsprings (last 50 miles over gravel). Where the first order of business after setting up camp was:
Mike taking in the sun.JPG

After dinner we walked down to the hotspring that we shared with a young couple for a delightful hour and a half conversation. Guess the temp of the pool was about 98 for us to stay in so long. It was down to 25 degrees by the time we went to bed and our WM bags and Exped Downmats plus a little extra in bed clothes kept us warm and comfy. The next morning dawned bright and clear and after breakfast we walked down for another soak.
Hart Mountain.JPG

On Friday we traveled less than 70 miles with a little exploring. All but 7 miles were gravel. At French Glen there was no hot spring but a wonderful old hotel, a great sunset, lots of birds (and birders), a peek into the nest of a great horned owl (two offspring), and last but not least the occasional braying of an appaloosa mule.
Sunset over the Steens.JPG

We then traveled about 60 miles of pavement and 30 of gravel and dirt to Willow Creek Hot Springs. (we won't go into detail how the great ranger missed an obvious sideroad and spent 2 hours 4 wheeling on primitive roads before finally backtracking and stumbling onto the Hot Spring). But the evening across the expanse was another unexpected delight with a soak and another the following morning.
willow creek Hotsprings.JPG

After another 20 or so miles of gravel we hit a real highway. Since it was mother's day I presented Kathy with a card and told her that I would take her to Rome ... Oregon. We visited the pillars of Rome then took off on the Highway to Crystal Crane Hot Springs, first we stopped off to buy some more beer but the only store within 30 miles of the Hotsprings was closed :crybaby: So we would have to make do with our last half bottle of a Two Buck Chuck Merlot (not bad but not very complex). So we had our two soaks but fortunately I woke up early and got a couple of pre dawn shots over the hot pools.
Dawn at Crystal Crane.JPG
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