Skip to main content

Next Time, Check AllTrails

I am living in the middle of nowhere. Except it's not really nowhere - it's ranchland. I have never seen so many cows. Occasionally sheep, horses here and there, but mostly cows. I am now convinced that all beef sold in America comes from Oregon. 

old stone marker for Oregon trail and wagon

This is not so great for me. When I selected this town on the map, I saw the expansive Ochoco National Forest to the west and the even more expansive Malheur National Forest to the east and thought, perfect! So many trails!

waterfall with snow on the ground

Except there are not...because of all those damn ranches. When I got here and opened AllTrails, it showed only one run-able trail less than a half hour drive from my rental. As for road running, while there is very little traffic and nice rolling hills, most of the roads are gravel and very dusty, so when the odd car does go by, you choke and go temporarily blind. Not really an option then.

river in a scrubland with mountains in the background

But I was already paid and confirmed for a non-refundable 30 days, so I had to figure it out. A little internet sleuthing and chatting with the locals helped me figure out that there are more nearby trails than I realized. The forest service maps show a handful of trailheads less than 45 minutes away. These trailheads aren't on the AllTrails app. And when trails aren't on an app, they don't exist unless you go looking for them, which meant I generally had them all to myself.  

Still, I had to drive more than I wanted to almost every time I went somewhere, and gas out here is not cheap. I figured I should pick the most intriguing places and ended up exploring more places than I would have otherwise. If I came back here, I'd probably stay in John Day or Prairie City, where there are far more nearby hiking options, but had I done that this time, I wouldn't have driven west to Redmond and Bend and the Cascades. They would have been too far, and I would have missed out on some great places I have yet to post about.

snowcapped mountains in the distance between pine trees

While I will remember to check AllTrails before booking in a remote location next time, this worked out well. My initial misgivings were overcome, I've seen a lot of beautiful nature, and I had a fantastic time. This is actually my last weekend here, though I'll be in Oregon for another week after I leave my cozy rental, so there's plenty more nature pics to come.

woman standing in front of archway made of volcanic rock