Mount Vernon to Boulder Creek Ranch

Monday, June 14, 2010
Long Haul Trucker

Day 9: 54 miles. Total: 472

The hiker/biker campground at Clyde Holiday State Park was great. I got a hot shower and slept warm and comfortable. The next town, John Day, was only a few miles. John Day is the biggest town in the area. We spent some time looking, in vain, for a fuel canister for John's Jetboil. All they have out here are the big Coleman canisters. I can see why so many people say that a white gas stove is the only way to go. I'm glad I picked up an extra canister in Bend, but I regret not insisting that John take it

As we approached Prairie City the Strawberry Mountains starting coming into view to the south. At 9,000 feet there is still snow on them.

The ride kept getting more and more scenic as we continued. We stopped for a long brunch in Prairie City. I had blueberry/rhubarb pie. John had some stuff waiting at the post office there. After Prairie City the mountains were even closer and quite picturesque across the green valley.

Soon we started to climb up the grade to Dixie Pass. No idea why something out here would be called Dixie. Once again the climb was a stead 4 to 6 percent. Each of the last three days we've had a climb similar to Greensprings but easier. On the way up there was a view point looking back on Strawberry Mountain.

Soon we were back in the pines and of course it was much cooler on top. Just half a mile from the summit was the Dixie campground which was John's destination for the day. Here we parted ways as I was heading on to Linda's high school friend Scotta's ranch further ahead. It was great riding with John these last few days. We looked at how we might meet up again but after today I'll be a day behind him, and if I go into the Wallows, a week behind.

The covered wagin
I didn't take this shot, but this is the famous prairie schooner that we passed on the way up Dixie Pass.

So I continued along solo down the northeast side of Dixie Pass. Here the world changed again and it felt like I was back in Oregon. The pines on top gave way to a lush mixed forrest of pine, fir, and tamarack. I was reaally excited to see tamarack as I hadn't seen these since we lived in northeastern Washington. I expected the forrest to thin out as I descended but it didn't. I soon came to Austin Junction which was surrounded by forrest. The store/resturant was closed as expected. Here the Trans-Am route leaves US highway 26, which cuts southeast, and instead takes state highway 7, which heads northeast. Another mile up was county road 20 which was my cutoff for Boulder Creek Ranch. I would follow the middle fork of the John Day river downstream for 13.5 miles. This was a tough ride as there was a stiff wind comming up the valley. Fortunatley it was mostly downhill so I was able to keep it over 10 mph most of the way. The valley is well forested and quite scenic. It's mostly pines but you could see firs on the ridges.

Day 10 - Rest day at Boulder Creek Ranch

Les and Scotta have had this ranch for about 5 years. They here after living for many years near Salem, which is quite a change. This place is abount as remote as it gets, surrounded by BLM and tribal land. I didn't see any other places on the way in. They have horses and goats and dogs and a guest cabin which the rent out as a get-a-way destination. Very nice. Scotta served me a great dinner and showed me around the ranch. Today I'm taking a rest day as I've ridden for 9 days straight. It is much colder here, and today it is cloudy and windy. A good day to not ride.

Sheherd's Wagon
The old shepherd's wagon where I slept my second night at Boulder Creek ranch.

Here is a link to the Boulded Creek Ranch website.


Wild Iris
There were wild Irises growing in many of the wet places in the John Day Valley


The Strawberry Mountains
Gorgeous view of the Strawberry Mountains from John Day and Mount Vernon.


The Strawberry Mountains
I really liked the John Day valley. The veiws were great. It was fairly green. And it was quiet and far away from the madness of the cities.


Strawberry Mountains
The Strawberry Mountains from the east end of the John Day valley just before heading up Dixie Pass.


Dixie Pass
The highest elevation of the trip so far.


Dixie Butte
Dixie Butte from the middle fork John Day valley.


Boulder Creek Ranch
Dixie Butte from Boulder Creek Ranch.


Boulder Creek Ranch
The homested at Boulder Creek Ranch.


The cabin where I spent the first night at Boulder Creek Ranch.


Dixie Butte
Anothert shot of Dixie Butte from Boulder Creek Ranch.