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Oregon Desert Trail Section 2: Christmas Valley to Paisley (2022 Thru Hike Journal)

Day 9: Teaming Up With Donny

May 20th

Donny and I were not in a hurry to get moving early in these cold temps, although today will rapidly warm up. We headed over to the fast break Chevron station for breakfast, and started hiking around 9:30.

We ran into another ODT hiker on the walk out of town. His name was “pine needle”. An older gentleman, currently driving around some of the towns, caching and such.

We followed a trail of over 200 shooter bottles of Fireball to a house along this road on the walk out of town. Truly incredible to see such an obvious trail of garbage lead to one house, but there you have it. Life’s hard on the streets of Christmas Valley.

After a few miles of pavement, we reached a dirt road and entered an area called the Black Hills. They didn’t look black, but they were hills.

The temperature is warming up now and it was quite pleasant, as long as we were moving. We gained a little bit of elevation and had an elevated view over Christmas Valley. Look at all those Santa worshipers down there!

We hiked a series of dirt roads to St Peter’s Lake, which was dry. The view started opening up from here, and we could see snow capped peaks In the distance, growing ever closer.

We hiked a series of dirt roads, taking a different route than what is suggested by the ODT. Our route looks more direct and eliminates a cross country segment, in an area that didn’t look all that scenic anyway from the map. We stopped for a break under some power lines, then continued down the valley.

We passed a guzzler, first I’ve seen in Oregon. There was water here, and it looked fairly decent. However, we didn’t need it.

A few miles later, we reached an ODT water cache, first of two this section. There were 29 gallons of water here in two coolers. We filled up water, ate dinner and moved on. Future ODT hikers, remember to pack out your water bottles from the cache, don’t leave the empties there.

Next we entered the Diablo Mountains Wilderness study area. The scenery was improving a little, and it felt like we were starting to get somewhere now.

We found a place to camp along a 4×4 road around 7:30. Not a bad spot.

ODT Day 9 Map

Day 10: Diablo Rim Ridgewalk

May 21st

Slept warmer last night with my new sleeping bag liner. I was surprised it added as much warmth as it added. Still, I’d rather just have a quilt that keeps me warm on its own. Next time I’ll bring a warmer quilt.

Donny and I started walking around 8:30 this morning. We had camped at the base of the climb up to Diablo Rim, and now we have an 1100ft climb over the next few miles. Most of today will be cross county.

We gained a smaller ridgeline, which we hiked for a while as we approached Diablo Peak. Then it’s another climb to a higher ridgeline. The climb isn’t too steep or difficult here.

We gain the ridge and the views are getting good. Diablo Peak is ahead, and we pick a path to the top. The climb is short, but there are multiple false summits along the way. We reach the summit of Diablo Peak, high point of Diablo Rim, at 6147ft. Wow!! Awesome views over the Diablo Mountains Wilderness study area and Summer Lake, which is mostly dry. Outstanding.

We stopped here for lunch and soaked in the scenery. This view was time lapse worthy, with the billowing clouds all around. It looked like rain all around on the horizon, but clear above us. Perfect.

Next, we begin the descent down Diablo rim as the scenery continue to impress. This reminded me a lot of Central Nevada, my hike on the basin and range trail in 2020. Walking a ridge line overlooking a massive basin, and dried lake beds. Best views along the Oregon Desert Trail, thus far.

As far as cross country hiking goes, I found this walk to be fairly easy going. Sure, there were some rocks to step over, but there was no soft sand like the valleys below, and the sagebrush was generally not as thick.

I really enjoyed the hike along Diablo Rim. I felt like we were getting somewhere now. There were some snow capped peaks and ridges in the distance multiple directions.

Soon It was time to drop down off Diablo Rim. After doing so, I found an arrowhead made of a dull looking obsidian. Cool.

Next we joined an old 4×4 road. We’re still in Diablo Mountains Wilderness study area, where there’s no motorized traffic allowed. So these roads here are decades old, and nature is reclaiming them. It’s 6+ miles to the next water cache now.

In the distance we saw some animals, which we thought were cows at first. As we got closer, we could tell they were wild/feral horses. At first we saw one, then a few more, and eventually, we realized the herd totaled about 20. The alpha headed up to the top of the ridgeline, while the rest of the herd ran off through the sagebrush. These were the first horses we’ve seen on the ODT, and I have a feeling we’ll see many more.

Next, we passed a few water holes, which were man-made. They look like dry lake beds now, But there was water here. Ah, that’s what sustains all of these horses.

As we continued hiking, we saw a few more horses. Then we saw a few cows. Over the next hill, We got our first view of giant water hole. There were a ton of cows here, and they began to flee as we approached.

Our water cache is here, near the water hole. We found two coolers filled with 20+ gallons of water. I have 2.5L now, enough to get me into town tomorrow, another 14 miles.

We set up camp near the water cache. It was rather windy tonight and really, nowhere to get out of the wind. Hopefully it dies down soon.

ODT Day 10 Map

Day 11: Resupply in Paisley & Summer Lake

May 22nd

Started hiking at 7:30 this morning. It’s about 14 miles to Paisley, so we’ll reach town mid-day for resupply.

We hiked rocky old 4×4 road for a few miles, which led to a larger dirt road. Now we can really cover some miles. I found my first agate of the hike here along the road, but it was nothing special.

After exiting sand hollow canyon, we emerged into an open valley and the town of Paisley can be seen in the distance now. A rancher was driving out of the canyon and stopped to see if we needed a ride. I said no, we’ll be fine road walking the last 8 miles or so.

We reached town around noon, and stopped at the Sagerooms Motel. There was no office, we had to call a number on the door. No answer, left message. Time to eat lunch at the Pioneer Saloon while we wait.

The waitress told us the owner of the motel also owns the summer lake hot springs resort, about 6 miles away, and gave us their number. I got ahold of the owner and he informed us the motel was booked, but he could pick us up and take us to the Hot Springs Resort. Sweet.

We did our grocery shopping at the Paisley mercantile, ordered a pizza to go from the saloon for dinner, and the timing worked out perfectly; Duane (hot springs resort owner) picked us up just as we finished. We really lucked out, as the resort is booked into July, and typically requires a 2 night minimum. However, they had a last minute cancellation, and he was ok with letting us stay for one night.

After getting settled in at the cabin, we took a soak in the hot springs. There’s an indoor soaking pool, and a couple of outdoor pools. The water was nice, and it was a relaxing way to end our last section of hiking.

We met a girl named Melanie at the indoor pool, and she invited us over to her campsite (the hot springs resort also has rv and tent sites) later for a fire. However, she came by just before dark and said she was tired and going to bed. That’s how we felt, having covered about 14 miles today by noon. On the bright side, she offered to take us back to Paisley tomorrow morning, so we can continue our hike. Nice, one less thing to worry about in the morning.

ODT Day 11 Map

–> Continue reading Oregon Desert Trail Section 3: Paisley to Lakeview (51 miles)

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