Today we started up Steens Mountain thinking that the loop to the top of the mountain was open. But when we got to the next gate above our campground we discovered it was still closed. So fortunately we headed towards the Owyhees early. It was about 150 miles to the beginning of the road that would lead us into the Owyhees. This drive is one of the most lonely we have been on. I commented yesterday about the empty roads, but todays road OR-78 is even more empty. There was about a 50 mile stretch of this road with no buildings at all, and maybe only two crossroads to indicate there may be people around.
We arrived at Succor Creek Highway about noon which is the beginning of the Succor Creek-Leslie Gulch Backcountry Byway. Calling the Succor Creek Highway is a bit optimistic, it is actually a mix of 1.5 lanes of good gravel, and 1 lane of dirt for the 50 plus miles. When you include the 30 mile roundtrip into Leslie Gulch it makes for a pretty good dirt road drive. However, it is worth every bit of the effort.
Ton was very excited about going to Leslie Gulch, I did not know really what to expect. In a word Leslie Gulch is fantastic. The rock is volcanic and has been shaped by water and wind into fantastic shapes. Ton took a bunch of pictures that she does not think does the place justice.
We took a chance and drove to the other end of the road to Lake Owyhee State Park, thinking it would be empty like the other parks this trip. We were wrong! There were two fishing tournaments going on and it looked like we were going to have to drive back out, but at the last minute someone said that at 7pm the handicapped spots were available if they had not been claimed, since it was 6:50 we ended up spending the night in a nice flat space with all of the amenities.