After leaving the Steens Mountain high country, I spent a night at the South Steens Campground — where uncouth visitors in need of firewood were hacking down large tree limbs within the campground proper — and then proceeded on to the Alvord Desert. My stay at South Steens was unremarkable. There’s a reportedly amazing trail that ascends Big Indian Gorge, but the amazing part demands an overnight backpacking trip that I couldn’t squeeze in. The first three miles or so that I hiked out and back are rather pretty in their own right, though.
The Alvord Desert was more my cup of tea. It’s a large, desolate, beautiful playa that sits at the eastern base of Steens Mountain. This time of year it’s dry enough to drive across, and I even saw a handful of little sail-powered cars zipping along the windy flats. I spent a few days out there exploring, including some long walks to nowhere and also a scramble up Tule Springs Rim, just to the east of the playa.
Here are some pictures of the playa. Since then I’ve driven across Nevada and Utah. I’m writing this from Colorado, where I’m retrieving stored personal belongings in anticipation of resuming a normal life with a roof over my head.
Hey Duncan! Greetings from Hood River, Oregon. I started drawing this in a coffee shop, but left when it was invaded by a skater kids. Now I’m parked on a patch of gravel near an I-84 on-ramp, and it’s way more peaceful.
I just moved. Now I’m at a nearby county park overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. When I finished writing that last paragraph I realized that I could probably do even better than a gravel patch near an interstate. I’m sitting at an oak-shaded picnic table overlooking a beautiful river … near an interstate.
Today I woke up near the east fork of the Hood River, hiked up to a place called Lookout Mountain, and then hiked another trail out to the tricky-to-spell Tamanawas Falls. It was a pretty good day.
The night before last I camped up on a Forest Service road near treeline on Mount Hood. When I woke up there yesterday I met two vegans, one of whom explained the outcome of the Vietnam War as a result of our adversaries’ ability to subsist on rice alone. He also explained that you can eat moldy rice. I am skeptical.
Hey Aimee! You can see here (above, in the squiggly letter “E” in the word “maybe”) where my dog Skillet jumped off the picnic table. It’s getting late in the afternoon, and these days the sun sets early. At the outset of my travels this year I could look forward to early morning sunrises and lingering sunsets that hung in the sky until eleven p.m., but now the sun is going down without much fanfare and the equinox is almost here.
I’m camped on the banks of the Hood River in Oregon, and across the river to my west is a forested ridge that’s going to be hiding the sun in maybe half an hour. When I hold my hand at arm’s length I can fit two fingers between the ridgeline and the sun. Somewhere along the way I learned that each finger is worth fifteen minutes of daylight.
I have a couple friends who have done work processing employee injury claims, and I’m guessing that somewhere along the way they learned to value fingers not in minutes, but in multi-thousand dollar increments.
Hey Aimee, it’s Mike again. I’m writing this with the pen held between my teeth. You see, Bigfoot ripped both my arms off. He only let me live because I promised to plug his new T.V. sitcom, Sheriff Bigfoot, premiering this fall on CBS. Here are some clips.
I’ve never seen the sitcom, so I had to imagine what it might look like. Halfway through drawing the third clip I realized that the “avenge my death” line is also in the first season Bigfoot episode of The Simpsons, but I was in too deep to back out. Anyway, Bigfoot is gone now, and I’m going to seek medical attention. Thanks for your time!