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Petroglyph Lake, Hart Mtn 10/22/20

Posted: February 19th, 2021, 8:25 am
by cfm
I took a 5 day road trip to SE Oregon last fall and was able to hike every day. This was my favorite excursion.

Hartplateau.jpg
Hart Mountain is a massive fault block that rises up from the desert. There is one road that takes you up the cliffs to a vast plateau, where you will find the reserve headquarters, hot springs, and gravel roads leading to high lonesome spots of interest. I parked at a gravel pullout near the rim and wandered cross country along Poker Jim Ridge, in the general northerly direction toward Petroglyph Lake(not visible from the road).
Hartpokerjim.jpg
Hartpokerjim.jpg (23.61 KiB) Viewed 596 times
The terrain is flat, but very uneven with rocks, so it requires attention to footwork. Hard to do when you are astounded by the big sky and dramatic landscape.
Hart2.jpg
I flushed many of these large gray fowls enroute. Finally caught one with my camera. I think it's a sage grouse, but not sure.
Hartgrouse.jpg
Finally the (seasonal) lake came into view.
Hart4.jpg
You might be able to make out the buildings of the refuge headquarters beyond, Where would the petroglyphs be? See the little bit of rock on the right? Seems like the only possibility. I was underwhelmed and expecting disappointment as I approached.
Hart5.jpg
As I neared the rim, I was greeted by this:
Hart6.jpg
Then the art show began! The lovely low autumn sun seemed to shine a spotlight on the images, and there were many!
Hart8.jpg

I spotted over 40 images. Some were obvious animals and people. Others were strange symbols, but the most intriguing were the otherworldly spirit figures.
Hart7.jpg
This panel has so much on it. Stick figure humans, animals and other symbols.
Hart9.jpg
Hartx.jpg
Harty.jpg
Hartz.jpg
At the other end of the lake is the trail-mostly an old road for an easy 1.5 mile hike out.

While I was up on the plateau, I decided to check out the Hotsprings Campground. As I pulled up to th hotsprings, the only visitors were leaving, so I had the place to myself.

This is the "bath house". Inside is a nice deep hotspring surrounded by cement.
Hartbath house.jpg
After my dip, I went over to this nearby outdoor hotspring which is only knee deep. I dangled my feet, and sketched. Took a little nap while listening to bird song.
Harthotspring.jpg

Re: Petrpglyph Lake, Hart Mtn 10/22/20

Posted: February 19th, 2021, 9:45 am
by arieshiker
Nice posting. That really is an awesome area for exploring. I was there in late 2104 and for some reason thought I'd posted a report, but can't find it on here. I went mostly just to see what a town with a name like Plush in the high desert could possibly look like, as well as try to get to one of the dig sites to look for Oregon's gem stone - Oregon Sunstone. After exploring Plush, a long drive on wash-board gravel roads, I spent over an hour digging and sifting and collected about fifty Sunstones. I drove up to the Refuge HQ area, with a large herd of Pronghorns passing directly in front of me on the way. Apparently it was one of my lucky days where a lottery ticket purchase might've been an option. After spending time around the HQ area, I too drove over to check out the campgrounds and hot springs, which at that time were bustling with small (the teardrop kind) trailers and very large pickups and lots of people. I wasn't there to camp of hike around the springs, my goal after Hart Mountain was the 49 mile drive east to Frenchglen and up Steens Mountain. It's an incredible area down there with much to see an do. Some images from the trip I wish I'd have posted back then. Combined with yours they give a fair representation of Hart Mountain.

Re: Petrpglyph Lake, Hart Mtn 10/22/20

Posted: February 19th, 2021, 10:23 am
by bobcat
Yes, wandering around that rim at Petroglyph Lake is fascinating. Hart Mountain is a favorite spot, and I don't get there often enough. My last visit was in 2018: viewtopic.php?f=8&p=203116

Yes, your 'large fowl' is a sage grouse. In encountered a sage grouse researcher while walking to Poker Jim Rim on my last visit, well-gaitered to fend off the cheatgrass but annoyed that I had interrupted his ramblings. He had been recording their 'voices' but they hunkered down and got all quiet when I came along. I did startle a pair on my way back from Petroglyph Lake.

Re: Petroglyph Lake, Hart Mtn 10/22/20

Posted: February 19th, 2021, 4:01 pm
by leiavoia
Thanks for posting this. I've been putting off a trip to Hart Mt for a decade.

What was the weather like in October? I would like to be able to go and see Hart, Steens, Alvord, and Three Forks in one trip and want to know what to expect that time of year.

I've been out to the Sunstone Area in May/June and it was wonderful, but never late in the year.

Re: Petroglyph Lake, Hart Mtn 10/22/20

Posted: February 19th, 2021, 4:40 pm
by arieshiker
leiavoia wrote:
February 19th, 2021, 4:01 pm
Thanks for posting this. I've been putting off a trip to Hart Mt for a decade.

What was the weather like in October? I would like to be able to go and see Hart, Steens, Alvord, and Three Forks in one trip and want to know what to expect that time of year.

I've been out to the Sunstone Area in May/June and it was wonderful, but never late in the year.


I don't know about cfm's trip, but it looked pretty sunny in the photos. I went in late October 2014 and had perfect weather until I got near the higher area of Steens, where I encountered a lot of snow. The higher reaches of Steens arei about 2500 feet higher than Hart Mountain. Alvord and Three Forks should still be fine if it's not raining.

Re: Petroglyph Lake, Hart Mtn 10/22/20

Posted: February 19th, 2021, 9:11 pm
by BurnsideBob
Petroglyph Lake is a place I've long hankered to visit. Thanks for posting your great trip report.

14 October 2023 marks the date of an annular eclipse of the sun. Petroglyph Lake will be close to the centerline of the Path of Totality. While the eclipse path centerline will traverse western Oregon, the Petroglyph Lake area has a much better chance of clear skies.

See you there?

BurnsideBob

Re: Petroglyph Lake, Hart Mtn 10/22/20

Posted: February 20th, 2021, 5:51 am
by arieshiker
BurnsideBob wrote:
February 19th, 2021, 9:11 pm
Petroglyph Lake is a place I've long hankered to visit. Thanks for posting your great trip report.

14 October 2023 marks the date of an annular eclipse of the sun. Petroglyph Lake will be close to the centerline of the Path of Totality. While the eclipse path centerline will traverse western Oregon, the Petroglyph Lake area has a much better chance of clear skies.

See you there?

BurnsideBob

I can see a wealth of restrictions put on access to the area come the 2023 solar event due to the fragile nature of that environment and its refuge status. The kind of stuff we saw during the last eclipse would set Hart Mountain back to the Stone Age.

Re: Petrpglyph Lake, Hart Mtn 10/22/20

Posted: February 20th, 2021, 9:54 am
by Charley
arieshiker wrote:
February 19th, 2021, 9:45 am
I was there in late 2104 and for some reason thought I'd posted a report, but can't find it on here.
Can you tell me, do the Blazers ever win the Championship??? Does the Center curse hold for another century???

JK. :)

I've loved visiting HMNAR in the early summer, but maybe I should plan a fall trip sometime.

Re: Petroglyph Lake, Hart Mtn 10/22/20

Posted: February 20th, 2021, 10:23 am
by Webfoot
arieshiker wrote:
February 20th, 2021, 5:51 am
BurnsideBob wrote:
February 19th, 2021, 9:11 pm
Petroglyph Lake is a place I've long hankered to visit. Thanks for posting your great trip report.

14 October 2023 marks the date of an annular eclipse of the sun. Petroglyph Lake will be close to the centerline of the Path of Totality. While the eclipse path centerline will traverse western Oregon, the Petroglyph Lake area has a much better chance of clear skies.

See you there?

BurnsideBob

I can see a wealth of restrictions put on access to the area come the 2023 solar event due to the fragile nature of that environment and its refuge status. The kind of stuff we saw during the last eclipse would set Hart Mountain back to the Stone Age.
An annular eclipse is nothing like a total eclipse and I would not expect the crowds we saw for 2017 unless people en masse fail to understand that. If you want to protect the place spread the word that you will not be able to look at the sun during this one, and without special equipment all you'll see is the sky a bit darker for a short while.