Spence Mountain Loop (Eastern Oregon) 01-May-2019

Spence Mountain hosts an evolving trail system on a 7,400 acre parcel of land on the west side of Upper Klamath Lake. It’s located 60 miles east of Medford and 15 miles west of Klamath Falls, making it readily accessible for a dayhike when trails in the High Cascades are still filled with snow. Although the trails are designed to accommodate mountain bikers, hikers, and trail runners, the emphasis is clearly on biking. The trail maps we found online (and at the trailhead) show both the built trails and (more faintly) some of the old logging roads that criss-cross the mountain. Some of these old roads are named and signed parts of the trail system.

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Rafting Oregon’s Lower Owyhee River V 18-Apr-2019

Day 5: “Andy’s” Camp to Birch Creek Take-out (5,030 cfs)

The last day on the river is always bittersweet – sad to be leaving such a beautiful and peaceful place but looking forward (perhaps secretly) to a hot shower (particularly enticing after these colder weather trips). Since we’d camped farther downstream than planned, we got a later start than usual for the short run to the take-out at Birch Creek [RM 51].

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Rafting Oregon’s Lower Owyhee River IV 17-Apr-2019

Day 4: Upper Whistling Bird Camp to “Andy’s” Camp (6,820 cfs)

Some high clouds came in overnight, but brought no rain, so the day got off to an easy start. This was good, because today would be our longest and busiest one on the river. We started by passing through the towering cliffs of Iron Point Canyon, which are formed from erosion-resistant rhyolite.

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Rafting Oregon’s Lower Owyhee River III 16-Apr-2019

Day 3: Pruitt’s Castle Camp to Upper Whistling Bird Camp (6,740 cfs)

The rain ceased in the night and we awoke to a day of gloriously dry clarity. 😎 The colors and shapes that form Pruitt’s Castle, which had looked drab under yesterday’s cloudy skies, lit up exuberantly in the morning light. After the baggage rafts left, we did a short hike over to view the Chalk Basin and Lambert Dome.

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Rafting Oregon’s Lower Owyhee River II 15-Apr-2019

Day 2: Lower Fletcher Camp to Pruitt’s Castle Camp (4,850 cfs)

The rain ceased in the night, so today started out overcast but dry. We need the rain but life outdoors is just easier when you’re not perpetually moist. The day stayed mostly overcast, with occasional spots of almost clearing. Teaser sucker-holes. Happily, it didn’t rain again, and then only briefly, until we’d reached camp at Pruitt’s Castle [RM 24.5]. After breakfast, we floated down to Weeping Wall Springs to take on fresh, clear water (the river water is pretty silty), have lunch, and take a short hike.

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