Long distance hiking through eastern Oregon in May

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bushwhacker
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Re: Long distance hiking through eastern Oregon in May

Post by bushwhacker » March 5th, 2020, 6:22 am

You might want to read through this guy's trip report which covers some of the area you are going to be traveling through. Interesting read. Seems like the logistics of resupply are a bigger challenge then the actual walking.

A few notes:
Late April and May are the prime river rafting times on the Owyhee so it's hard to believe one could ford the river (I did see a report from someone doing the Desert Trail where they pack rafted across it). I've been down there in the fall and it's an easy knee deep ford.

Good luck with Eagle Cap. We have tried to get up there during the Memorial Day time fame on one of the lower creek trails and didn't get far.

You will like Hell's Canyon. Assuming you are doing the Bench/High Trail it's worth the extra effort to day hike up to Hat Point from below. Watch out for poison oak. It's all over the lower canyon and hard to avoid.

Best of luck..

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drm
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Re: Long distance hiking through eastern Oregon in May

Post by drm » March 5th, 2020, 10:36 am

In May I would expect Eagle Cap to be snow covered down to the trailheads - almost certainly in the north. For some of the lower trailheads you might get a little ways up.

How bad water flows will be is affected a lot by weather - whether temps are melting a lot of snow or not.

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seekinglost
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Joined: January 20th, 2020, 6:24 pm

Re: Long distance hiking through eastern Oregon in May

Post by seekinglost » March 7th, 2020, 6:46 pm

bushwhacker wrote:
March 5th, 2020, 6:22 am
You might want to read through this guy's trip report which covers some of the area you are going to be traveling through. Interesting read. Seems like the logistics of resupply are a bigger challenge then the actual walking.

A few notes:
Late April and May are the prime river rafting times on the Owyhee so it's hard to believe one could ford the river (I did see a report from someone doing the Desert Trail where they pack rafted across it). I've been down there in the fall and it's an easy knee deep ford.

Good luck with Eagle Cap. We have tried to get up there during the Memorial Day time fame on one of the lower creek trails and didn't get far.

You will like Hell's Canyon. Assuming you are doing the Bench/High Trail it's worth the extra effort to day hike up to Hat Point from below. Watch out for poison oak. It's all over the lower canyon and hard to avoid.

Best of luck..
I've read through Buck's and the others who've done the Desert Trail. My route in Nevada will have some overlap with the DT route between Job Peak and Denio, but the DT takes a completely different route in Oregon. My route will roughly follow the Oregon Desert Trail (ODT) from Denio to Owyhee Reservoir.

Resupply is certainly a challenge, but so far is looking promising. Resupply can be a town, a post office (send food box from home), or a business establishment along the way... like Rome Station. ODT hikers send a package there to resupply through the Owyhee section. Harper has just a post office (and Brian's Service Station), and the others are all small towns with a small market and post office. I like to send packages to motels I plan at staying at, if you call a few towns prior... can send food from home and/or order food from walmart.com (free shipping over $35). That way you aren't at the mercy of small town post office hours. Otherwise you could be stuck waiting in town all weekend for the post office to open Monday.

In May there's probably going to be too much water in West Little Owyhee to do the canyoneering route, so I am planning to do the overland route. But like you said, still gotta cross the main Owyhee. I've looked though a few blogs and videos trying to get an idea of what a safe flow rate is for the Owyhee, but almost everyone is there in July when it's roughly the same flow rate, like 100-200cfm. I don't know what time of year these guys where there, but they swam the Owyhee at 2000cfm:

https://www.patagonia.com/stories/the-l ... 30371.html

No matter what I'll be checking the flow rate of the Owyhee when I get to McDermitt, and have an alternate ready, but it's really going to come down to the type of snow year and what kind of spring it is. I'm looking at the historical flow rates and see years like 2013 and 2014 where the Owyhee was at 150-250 cfm in May which is what ODT hikers see in July. It's totally swim-able at that rate. Other years the water level is much higher in May. It's going to be a last minute call at the end of the day.

Yup the Bench Trail! I saw literally one video of a couple guys hiking it and said, yup that's my route! I have Hat Point marked on my map, and had been considering doing the climb up. Thanks for mentioning that, I will seriously consider it. I got poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac all in one summer when I was a kid, I've never gotten any of them since. I think I may have become less responsive to it, sounds like Hell's Canyon will be the true test.
drm wrote:
March 5th, 2020, 10:36 am
In May I would expect Eagle Cap to be snow covered down to the trailheads - almost certainly in the north. For some of the lower trailheads you might get a little ways up.

How bad water flows will be is affected a lot by weather - whether temps are melting a lot of snow or not.
I'm only going back a few years but 2014, 2015 and 2018 look like the valleys (along my route anyways) were fairly clear of snow by late May according to NOAA The other years, nope. All I can do is plan for different scenarios, and wait until the time comes to make the call.

https://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/interactive ... &js=1&uc=0

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