Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge 6-26-18

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bobcat
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Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge 6-26-18

Post by bobcat » July 7th, 2018, 8:41 am

I camped a night under rustling aspens on Bond Creek in the Hart Mountain NAR. The next day, I did a couple of shorter hikes, both described in Sullivan’s Eastern Oregon guide, before moving on.

Pronghorn, Hart Mountain.jpg
Tent, Hot Springs, Hart Mountain.jpg
Western blue flag (Iris missouriensis), Hot Springs, Hart Mountain.jpg

Barnhardy Cabin Loop

This was a cross-country jaunt up Rock Creek from the campground. Since they’ve taken the cattle off the range here, the creekside thickets have grown back, so sometimes I had to head up the sagebrush slopes. The dried carcasses of culled junipers were scattered across the hillsides (Junipers have proliferated in what was open range because of fire suppression). I dislodged a few deer from their shady retreats in the willows. At some point the shrubs disappeared, and Rock Creek was meandering through a lush open meadow blooming with irises. Warner Peak was dead ahead topping the long ridge of Hart Mountain.

Willow bottom on Rock Creek, Hart Mountain.jpg
Oregon checkermallow (Sidalcea oregana), Hart Mountain.jpg
Mountain mahogany, Rock Creek, Hart Mountain.jpg
View down Rock Creek, Hart Mountain.jpg
Wild blue flax (Linum perenne), Rock Creek, Hart Mountain.jpg
Dwarf purple monkey flower (Mimulus nanus), Rock Creek, Hart Mountain.jpg
View to Warner Peak, Rock Creek, Hart Mountain.jpg

Hiking up the creek, I crossed Barnhardy Road, still closed to the public at this time of year, with Barnhardy Cabin, a line shack used for shelter in the livestock era, visible ahead in its grove of aspen. Below the cabin, in Barnhardy Meadow, is an orange SNOTELT site used to collect snow data (The data is now transmitted by telemetry, but this is a repurposed aerial marker - an overflight by a survey plane would simply look at snow depth where it measured on the horizontal orange bars). The notch above the cabin is the beginning of DeGarmo Canyon. After inspecting the cabin (There’s only the stove pipe remaining for appliances/furnishings), I continued the loop along Barnhardy Road, getting high views down to the hot springs before descending for a solitary dip in the outdoor pool. Very refreshing!

Peak 7379 and Barnhardy Cabin, Rock Creek, Hart Mountain.jpg
ASOS station, Rock Creek, Hart Mountain.jpg
Barnhardy Cabin, Rock Creek, Hart Mountain.jpg
View to Warner Peak from Barnhardy Road, Hart Mountain.jpg
Thompson's paintbrush (Castilleja thompsonii), Barnhardy Road, Hart Mountain.jpg
View to the hot springs from Barnhardy Road, Hart Mountain.jpg
Desert yellow daisy (Erigeron linearis), Barnhardy Road, Hart Mountain.jpg
Aspen alley, Barnhardy Road, Hart Mountain.jpg
Outdoor pool, Hot Springs, Hart Mountain.jpg

Petroglyph Lake

I parked off the road near the rim where the entrance road descends to the Warner Lakes, and then hiked cross-country towards the rim on Poker Jim Ridge. The vegetation here is kept low by the almost constant wind. There was one irregular prominence on the near horizon and, walking towards it, I realized it was a human cluttered with all sorts of sensitive gear. He wasn’t too happy to see me; in fact, he was involved in a sage grouse research project, and I supposed my unexpected appearance in the empty landscape had somewhat scuttled his plans for the day. After a brief chat, I departed for the rim to get views down to the spread of the Warner Lakes and south to the Rabbit Hills and Crane Mountain. My goal was a prominence on the rim, Knoll 5936, which hosted a few scattered junipers and a view north to the magnificent west wall of Poker Jim Ridge.

Hilltop Reservoir Trailhead, Hart Mountain.jpg
Proliferous wild buckwheat (Eriogonum strictum var. proliferum), Hart Mountain.jpg
North Ridge, Hart Mountain.jpg
View over Campbell Lake, Poker Jim Ridge, Hart Mountain.jpg
Desert Indian paintbrush (Castilleja chromosa), Poker Jim Ridge, Hart Mountain.jpg
Narrow-leaved paintbrush (Castilleja linariifolia), Poker Jim Ridge, Hart Mountain.jpg
View to Upper Campbell and Flagstaff Lakes, Poker Jim Ridge, Hart Mountain.jpg
North from Knoll 5936, Poker Jim Ridge, Hart Mountain.jpg
Stone Corral and Turpin Lakes, Knoll 5936, Poker Jim Ridge, Hart Mountain.jpg

From the knoll, I could see east across the open landscape to a couple of lakes. Petroglyph Lake was the closest, so I set my sights for its north shore, and scrambled down off the knoll for a cross-country ramble. As the lake hove into view again, a group of about 30 antelope lollygagging down by the lakeshore spotted me on the horizon and made off. Above the west shore of the lake is a low rim of basalt, which harbors at least 65 panels of petroglyphs. The north section of this rim has the most as the basalt has smooth faces with a dark veneer of rock varnish suitable for sketching. I almost stepped on a two-foot rubber boa, which then disappeared down a crack before I could snap a picture. The more weathered center of the rim has no petroglyphs, and there are a few more on the south end. On my amble back to the road, I startled a sage grouse pair about where I had encountered the researcher!

View to Petroglyph Lake and Beatys Butte, Poker Jim Ridge, Hart Mountain.jpg
Clustered broomrape (Orobanche fasciculata), Poker Jim Ridge, Hart Mountain.jpg
Looking along the rim at Petroglyph Lake, Hart Mountain.jpg
Space alien, Petroglyph Lake, Hart Mountain.jpg
Etchings, Petroglyph Lake, Hart Mountain.jpg
Lizard, Petroglyph Lake, Hart Mountain.jpg
Elegant sunburst lichen (Xanthoria elegans), Petroglyph Lake, Hart Mountain.jpg
View over Petroglyph Lake to Beatys Butte, Hart Mountain.jpg
Upsidedown man, Petroglyph Lake, Hart Mountain.jpg
Creature, Petroglyph Lake, Hart Mountain.jpg
Golden currant (Ribes aureum), Petroglyph Lake, Hart Mountain.jpg
Crawling thing, Petroglyph Lake, Hart Mountain.jpg
Lunch spot, Petroglyph Lake, Hart Mountain.jpg

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retired jerry
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Re: Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge 6-26-18

Post by retired jerry » July 7th, 2018, 10:19 am

I went there several years ago, interesting area

Did you try the hot springs? It was very pleasant. "Interesting" people around.

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bobcat
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Location: SW Portland

Re: Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge 6-26-18

Post by bobcat » July 7th, 2018, 4:16 pm

retired jerry wrote:
July 7th, 2018, 10:19 am
Did you try the hot springs?
Yes, of course. I used the outdoor pool (last picture in the Barnhardy sequence), which is just as hot as the stone-walled structure and offers much better views!

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retired jerry
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Re: Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge 6-26-18

Post by retired jerry » July 7th, 2018, 4:30 pm

I thought it was hotter, I did the structure

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MariposaMan
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Location: Eugene, OR

Re: Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge 6-26-18

Post by MariposaMan » July 7th, 2018, 9:23 pm

Nice report! I made a similar visit several years ago, in mid-September (good weather. but brown and no wildflowers, of course). Very interesting and scenic landscape. The mostly cross-country trek up Warner Mtn. was worth the effort. I'd like to go back--in June, most likely, and hike up Degarmo Canyon.

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