Fish Lake, Steens Mountain

August 5, 2007: Fish Lake, Steens Mountain, Harney County, OR: In spite of being August, at an elevation 7,400 feet the night got cold. We stayed in our sleeping bags as long as we could stand it and waited for the summer sun to warm the air.

Fish Lake
Chris at Fish Lake 8/5/2007

Chris wanted to try fishing in the lake but the wind was up, the surface choppy, and the fish weren’t biting. After a few casts he gave up and we decided to head north to Yellowjacket Reservoir near Burns. Maybe fishing would be better there.

About ten miles north of Burns, on the road to Yellowjacket, we were stopped by a flagman. He announced that the road was closed due to forest fire activity so we had little choice but to backtrack to Burns. (It would have been nice to have a sign down by the main highway stating the road was closed.) We were getting a few fist sized raindrops on the windshield, falling from thunderstorm clouds overhead… we could see occasional flashes of lightning… we might be in for a summer storm.

We decided to head toward Seneca on US 395 and camp for the night in our old hunting camp on Burnt Cabin Creek.

We had the old hunting camp to ourselves. The wind was gusty so we staked the tent. Several of the big Ponderosa Pines seemed to lean our direction so we decided if the wind came up we would move out into the meadow, out of reach of the big trees. As the sun went down the clouds disappeared and the wind subsided so we spent a peaceful night.

The next morning we took Lucy for a walk up the 488 road to the Leighty Elk Camp.

We met Merle and Darlene Leighty while deer hunting the season of 1992. Merle was suffering from lung cancer and he thought it might be his last hurrah. Darlene was worried about him and fussed over him.

They were good to us, sharing pie and ice cream, and we enjoyed a few hunts together.

After returning home we were shocked to find Darlene’s obituary notice in the newspaper. She had a heart attack and passed unexpectedly. Merle lived for a few months longer but also passed away. Their kids put a big sign up at the elk camp designating it as “Grandpa and Grandma’s Place”


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