Sunday, June 28, 2009

Warm Springs Reservation: Bears, Wild Horses, & more...

Wandering around the Warm Springs Reservation with the boys
Wild horses framed by 10,400+ Mt. Jefferson

Our journey began on the right of the map coming from Hwy 26. The original goal was to get the kids up to the highest point in Wasco County. 

Worth noting here is what comprises the Federated Tribes of Warm Springs. The tribe was formed in 1937 by the joining of three bands. The Wasco band lived along the Columbia River and were fishermen. Their location offered them the opportunity for great trade. The Paiutes were a high plains band existed more in southeast Oregon hunting big game. The Warm Springs band lived along the tributaries of the Columbia River building clever structures to catch salmon as they migrated over waterfalls. The bands all spoke different languages and had different ways of living.You could only imagine how difficult that must have been for them when the U.S. Government effectively forces them to all occupy the same space.

Back to the trip...

Skipping stones in Mill Creek at camp.
We drove in a long way from Hwy 26 with some cool vistas along the way. The road had some abandoned vehicles. 
We spun out of control and landed in a trench (ok not really)
Moments before the wild horses dashed in front of us.
After effectively being forced out of their way of living, the young tribe began getting into industry to make their lives more sustainable. Sometime after WWII and into the mid-60's a boom of timber occurred for the tribe. What is now called Old Mill Camp is littered with stories of that era. Everywhere you look in the ghost town, scattered over many acres, you'll find trucks, cables, structures, and various equipment representing the tribes' significant investment in the industry. This is where we camped.

Remnants of Old Mill Camp

Tree gutted for industrialized use.
Boys relaxing at camp

Floating Mill Creek.
Sunset over Mill Creek.
Day two found us improvising. A ton of bugs at Blue Lake meant that we were not going to try the scale Olallie Butte to the Wasco County High Point. We instead went to Lookout Butte where the views were great and the elevation gain was very manageable for young kids.
Chucky with Mt. Hood in background from Lookout Butte.
Mt. Hood from Lookout Butte.
Mt. Jefferson left & Olallie Butte right.
Olallie Butte from Lookout Butte.
Inside the shell of a once great fir tree.

Hike Configuration: Various jaunts from car, climb up Lookout Butte Blaze: all x-country
Start Elevation: 5,114 feet Elevation Gain: 207 feet
Hike Rating: Moderate, bushwhacking
Trail Condition: No trail
Starting Point: North side of Lookout Butte
Trail Traffic: Saw NO one else
Access: I did not check with tribe like I should have. I educated myself later for an expedition in 2013 of Olallie Butte . Passing through the reservation is okay, but camping is only allowed (with a fishing permit available from the tribe) at Trout Lake which is located on the southeast side of Olallie Butte. DO NOT camp anywhere else, it is a disrespectful gesture and I should have known better.
How to Get There:
Take Highway 26 from Warm Springs. Drive up out of the canyon and along the long, flat, and straight stretch. turn left at the sign for "Old Mill" "Blue Lake", County Line or Blue Lake Road. Follow that road as it heads west, then north. You can use the map above after that to investigate.

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