Steens

October 2-4

Canoeing, fishing, caving, exploring. Camping two nights, spending three days.

Round Cabin, Malheur cave, Lava flows, Fish lake. All new to me.

Two rigs thus far. Anyone welcome to join. Still working on details.

Oh, this is in SE Oregon

Riverside to Crane to Malheur cave to fish lake
Name: Fish Lake
State/Admin: OR (Oregon)
Country: US (United States)
US County: Harney County
Category: Freshwater Fishing (Recreational Landmark)
Coordinate: N42° 44.184', W118° 38.781'
Source: Global Index

Burns Lodge
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Malheur Cave is a classic example of a large lava tube cave. The cave is 17 miles east of Crane Hot Springs and is owned by the Masonic Lodge of Burns. The cave is 3,000 feet long, and the height varies from 8 feet near the entrance to a maximum of 20 feet far back in the cave. An underground lake fills the lower end of the cave, and fluctuation can cause the water to rise within 1,000 feet of the entrance.
Quote:
Malheur Cave: 43.221111 118.330000

Malheur Cave, 13 miles east of Princeton, is 3,000 feet long, and the height varies from 8 feet near the entrance to a maximum of 20 feet far back in the cave. An underground lake fills the lower end of the cave, and fluctuation can cause the water to raise within 1,000 feet of the entrance.

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We will be traveling from 1900 ft to 9563.8 ft. Camping as high as 7600 ft. Total distance 291.9 miles 138 of that climbing.

Geocache waypoints:Steens.gpx
Steens2.gpx

Snow is possible. I am hoping that it has yet to accumulate. The road was still snowed in when Gabe attempted it this spring. It should be dry now or soon to be. It is a roll of the dice. Worst case we turn around and stick to lower elevations. Plan for the extremes.

It looks like there is a road from Fish Lake to the north near Diamond. It follows Whiskey creek. Diamond Craters road. Passes Riddle Creek and the Pete french Round Barn State Heritage Site ( N43° 7.958' W118° 38.659' ) That might be a neat way to travel? Is this the round rock house everyone talks about?

I see Blitzen campground and Jackman Campgrounds. Any preference? Rumor has it that Jackman is better than Fish lake for camping.

Quote:
Crane Hot Springs
Address:
Crane Hot Springs
59315 Highway 78
Burns, Oregon 97720

Type: Commercial Hot Springs
Hours: Open Monday - Saturday 9 A.M. to 9 P.M., Sunday 2pm - 9pm
Phone: (541)493-2312
Fee: Yes. Inquire.
Website: http://www.cranehotsprings.com

Driving Instructions: Crystal Crane Hot Springs is 25.5 miles southeast of Burns, head east on Highway 78 to the hot springs turnoff, 25.4 miles, between mileposts 25 and 26. Turn left and find parking, 0.1 mile.
Coordinate: N43° 26.409', W118° 38.395'

Quote:
Luce Hot Springs
Remotely located, Luce currently provides water for two feeder pools.

Type: Unimproved Hot Spring.
Fees: None.
Driving Instructions: From Burns, take Route 78 east until reaching the city of Crane. In Crane take the Crane-Ventor / Riverside Rd. and head towards Dunnean / Venator. Take the second left in Venator and proceed to the S. Fork Malheur Rd. The feeder pools can be seen on the left about 1/3 of a mile before S. Fork Malheur Rd. terminates into Juntura-Riverside Rd. Take one of the the several lefts to locate the hot spring.
Coordinate: N43° 28.0889', W118° 12.0983'

Quote:
Thank you for your inquiry. Crystal Crane Hot Springs, your personal Oasis in the High Desert. The natural outdoor spring reservoir provides a comfortable facility to enjoy the warm water with a panoramic view of the wide-open spaces or the immenseness of the night sky. Our sleeping cabins are Rustic, Quiet and Peaceful. Each is tastefully decorated in themes that compliment its surroundings. Four of the five cabins share bathrooms and showers, which are located just a few steps away. One cabin, the Bunkhouse has its own half-bath, and is located several yards from the pond, for added privacy. All cabins are supplied with bedding and towels.

Our cabin price is $45/night double occupancy. Pets are $7/each per night. Our Bunkhouse is $60/night double occupancy. No pets allowed in the bunk house. In any case; additional persons are $5/each per night.

Our R.V. Sites include water and electricity; two sites have sewer connections. Price is $18/night double occupancy for water/power. $20/night double occupancy for water/power/sewer, (2 night min for full hook-up). We also have a Tent Camping Area, price is $15/night double occupancy. Additional persons or pets are $3/each per night.

Any visit to Crystal Crane Hot Springs will be enhanced with amenities including: free high speed internet access, use of the Camp Kitchen and our Commons Room that is open for group social activities.

Our camp kitchen that is available to all guests is open 24hrs a day and has most everything you might need to prepare a simple meal minus the food. The small town of Crane, 2-1/2 miles down to highway, does have a restaurant which is open 7am - 7pm/7 days a week.

Any overnight stay does include use of the hot pond for swimming. We also have our private and enclosed soak tubs available with room for one or more guests for $7.50/person per hour.
Our website www.cranehotsprings.com has additional information and some pictures of our facility.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us via E-mail or by calling (541) 493-2312. It is always a good idea to make your reservations as soon as possible as cabins can fill up quickly.

Thank You,

Amzel, Crystal Crane Hot Springs

Steens Mountain Loop:

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Finally a little time to sit down and fill in a trip report.
The Steens loop trip was a whorl wind run. more of a scouting expedition for future visits.

The night before we celebrated a friends birthday with drinks at TGI Fridays followed by a visit to Haunted World in Nampa, ID. Home and to bed by 2:00 am. Meeting at Mac's Lounge for breakfast by 7:00 was done as planned, but we just made it. After that a quick stop at the fire station for some ice and we were on the road.

Nothing eventful on the way down. Our plan was to enter the loop from the south. We did stop for a picture at the entrance sign, but I had card problems and those photos were lost. Various sections were being rebuilt. Rollers, excavators and graders parked along the way.

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The road was rough on the climb up. I took a small section in four low to ease through pulling the trailer. Entering from the south it is a hard pull from 4000 ft to 9500 ft. In hind sight this section would have been much easier descending.
The views were gorgeous.

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About half way up a range fire was building in the distance.

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It was really hot out for this time of year. Mid eighties (F) all the way up to the top. We were in T-shirts all day.

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From the top you can see the Alvord desert. A little hazy but quite a view all the same

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Today was opening of deer season so there were quite a few rigs out and about. We stopped at the turn here and decided to head on down to find our camping spot as there were quite a few vehicles at the viewpoint just above us.
Fall colors in the Aspens were scattered among the sage brush and Junipers.

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We passed by Jackman camp and proceeded to Fish Lake

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It held to its name and provided half a dozen fresh rainbow trout between our group. A tasty bit added to dinner that night. Brazilian BBQ and chili for dinner. A couple cold ones and off to bed.

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We received a brief sprinkle of rain that night, but it was still very warm. I doubt that it got below the mid sixties over night.
The next morning I found an old Model T that didn't make it out of here.

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This day our goal was to make it to Crystal Crane Hotsprings.

After leaving Fish Lake our plan was to drive to and through Diamond. Somehow I missed the road. I think perhaps it was before we reached Fish Lake? Gabe , an avid fisherman stayed back to fish the streams and reservoirs around FrenchGlen. We agreed to tie a ribbon at the junction as we went to the cave.
That will have to be done on another trip. Time and fuel requires that we move forward. We did detour slightly to check out the Pete French Round Barn.
Gabe , an avid fisherman stayed back to fish the streams and reservoirs around FrenchGlen. We agreed to tie a ribbon at the junction as we went to the cave.

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Still raining a bit most of my pictures were from inside. The roof and walls show the new wood. It has been fully restored. A beautiful structure.
Around here we found cell service and word from the others who were to meet us later that day. They were both sick and were not coming. We arrived at Crystal Crane Hot Springs in good time. Parked the trailer and made off for the Malheur Cave. Rain showers off and on all day.

A quick measurement of hands above head and we decided the truck would fit with just a little spotting to get inside.

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Once inside a few hundred feet the cave opened up to a nice high ceiling. We picked our way through the rocks as far as we could drive.

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From there we parked the truck and hiked back to where our path ended at the waters edge.

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The hand held HID light worked just great. Instant day light, This dark was incredible. It totally consumed light. We too the same picture as above with our headlamps and tactial lights.

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Big difference.
The temperature was very nice. The air so humid water vapor was everywhere making it hard to take pictures. With a high pollen count outside the break was very welcome. We could all breathe sneeze free in here. I can see why the Masons hold meetings down here. It is an amazing atmoshpere.

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I thought Tach might be a little spooked about all this. A quarter mile under ground, total darkness, etc. Boy was I wrong. He loved every minute. The dog stumbled a couple times. We nee to get her a headlamp.
Back to the truck.

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You can see the bleachers that are set up here. Conduit and lights are in place too. I would imagine that a generator powers them when they hold a meeting here.

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Back in the truck now a three point turn and we make our way back out.

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We finished with the group shot.

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Back into the drizzly day up out of the cave and head back to the Hot Springs

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The pole in the picture above is a flag pole. From ground level this is the only sign that the cave is here.

Back at the hotsprings

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Gabe had just arrived so our timing was good. It was still early in the evening so we went for a swim in the pond.

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A wonderful little place. The rent cabins, full RV hook ups and campsites. What a great place to drop in for the night. The new awning paid for itself. The Spinaker also worked great. So well that I ordered another one once I returned home.
The rains picked up just after dinner. We ate and then took another dip in the pond before bed time.

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The next morning it was homeward bound via the desert between Crane and Juntura.

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Total mileage just over 520 miles. A quick trip, but a good one.
Lessons learned:
Take the loop in from the north and out the south. Bigger awning with room for guests. Less firewood for a two night trip. HID rocks! 200 lumen tactical LED lights for $10 are the stuff! Check the mileages and study the maps closer. The extreme distance traveled caught me by surprise a little. I usually have better fuel reserves.
I need a bigger truck. I wish we could have had two motorcycles with us. Sadly my little truck is not going to work for that.

Winter is around the corner. Time for Halloween parties and cozy fires. Good times to plan the next adventure.

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