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Alkali Lakes & Ranches


8/29/12, N. Of Alkali Lakes, OR - Tonight, I’m camped 18 miles north of my previous camp at a rest area (there’s not much else around).

Even in this dry desert landscape, it was a day of changing scenery and stunning landscape.  By the time the day was over, the lads and I had moved the wagon out of the alkali basin and had entered a new landscape.


Sanddunes located on some higher ground near the alkali lakes.

Just before I drove by the DOT maintenance shed, I stopped and visited Bob, a local rancher and trapper. He is also a trapper and horseman who enjoyed a chat and a visit with the lads. It was a nice break to stop and share a beer with this fine gentleman.


This could be a scene from a New England shoreline, but was actually the side of the road near the Alkali Lakes.


Bob liked my big ‘ol honest horses!

As I drove closer to the alkali lake beds, the sagebrush was replaced with a hardy, thorny saltbush.  The taste of alkali salts was always present on my lips.  It was a real delight to finally get south and up wind of the basin.


Several miles across, the dry, Alkali Lake was not exactly a vacationer’s dream for boating and fishing!


Though 5 miles away, this cattle truck was quite visible.  You didn’t need Tonto’s eagle eyes to spy it’s passage across the dusty plains.

After lunch, I started climbing out of the basin and the terrain once again changed, As the soil got sweeter, the saltbush disappeared and was replaced by dried out crested wheat grass and clumps of rabbit brush.  With no alkali dust blowing in the wind and the yellow flowers, it was a welcome change.


Along with the improved scenery, I also saw some pronghorn antelope, but they were very shy and I couldn’t approach them within 1000 yards.

For the second night in a row, the lads had all the water they could drink.  The BLM and the Highway Department operated a nice roadside park.  To keep the park clean, I parked in it, while the lads were on the highway right-of-way alongside. While there, I some city-type guy ask me, “What are you doing?”  I replied, “What are you doing?”


A nice night at the roadside park, with water and a 150# bale of alfalfa that was given to me during the day!