June 24, 2007: Several goals brought us over to the east side of the mountains. Chris wanted to go fishing and I thought it was a good opportunity to look for Calochortus longebarbatus (and other wildflowers) in the Ochoco mountains and the Maury mountains. The weatherman promised sunshine and gusty winds on the east side but otherwise it would be suitable for camping.
In spite of our best intentions to get on the way early last minute details held us up until after nine o’clock.
We stopped for lunch at the Black Bear restaurant in Madras. Our favorite is the Southern Scramble but it is just about twice the size necessary for gastronomical comfort. It is a meal that will last you for the day. Sausage gravy smothers a large biscuit split in half and layered with two large sausage patties and two eggs. The rest of the platter is filled with a generous helping of country potatoes. Bring your best appetite and don’t worry about the cholesterol.
East of Madras we stopped roadside to photograph Calochortus macrocarpus (Mariposa Lily). Most of our favorite patch has been removed by a roadside project but a few flowers escaped the scraper.
We decided to visit the Forest Service office in Prineville, collect some brochures and road information and then head for the Big Summit Prairie located high in the Ochocos. Michelle (receptionist) was very helpful and suggested several locations where we might find wildflowers.
We were a little late for the spring bloom but it is interesting territory. We followed forest service roads (FSR 42) to Paulina and ended up at Antelope Flats Reservoir in time to get some fishing in before dark.
We spent 30 minutes cleaning up our favorite camping site. The pigs that used the spot before us left behind their bottles and cans plus a generous supply of other garbage. It might help if the campground had garbage cans but no doubt vandalism limits the value of leaving anything unattended. We brought along a generous supply of garbage bags so we bagged the junk and hauled it out when we left.
The lake was a muddy chocolate brown so fishing was a waste of time. We spent most of the night in the quiet solitude we were looking for… but early (very early, much before daylight) the loggers started arriving. The camp area had been previously “thinned” and the trucks and loaders came to haul away the accumulated logs.
June 25, 2007: We spent the morning hours road running roads in the Maurys, watching for blooms. Iris missouriensis was plentiful and butterflies were numerous.
Logging operations were in progress and we were forced to play dodge with logging trucks. The big fellows have the right of way no matter which side of the road they take and they waste no time heading for the sawmill.
We stopped at the Black Bear in Madras for one more helping of the Southern Scramble before heading back over the mountain toward home.