September 5, 2019, day 1
Lake Owyhee State Park to North Sheepshead Spring, ~10 miles
Friends of the Owyhee ED Tim Davis picked us up this morning and took us to the eastern terminus of the ODT. Tim grew up in the area and recognizes how special and spectacular the Owyhee country is. He also saw there are opportunities for ranchers, recreational enthusiasts, and conservationists to come to the table to share knowledge and use science for improving and sustaining this place for a variety of needs and interests. Also, ranchers, conservationists, and recreation enthusiasts can be one in the same. Sometimes I think we need less labels and more discussion about why we all care.
It was a beautiful drive out to the TH, there could have been at least 20 more miles of the ODT through such fantastic country!
After taking our obligatory pictures at the terminus and getting our things in order Gabriel and I set out. Umbrellas up within 10 minutes. Today the high was supposed to be around 93, likely the warmest day of the trip. It felt darn warm at 10 am.
Our first day is all about acclimatizing to 5-days of gear packs, walking all day, the more arid conditions, etc. Especially when it’s warm. We took it easy, breaking in every smidgen of shade and using our umbrellas where there wasn’t any.
After gaining the grassy uplands via a road we set off cross country through bunch grass and lava rock hillsides, sometimes finding cattle trails to make the walking easier. The rabbitbrush is starting to flower and turn the hills yellow. We saw pronghorn zooming across the grasslands ahead of us. Speeding then watching. Always alert. Ahh, how I love being in pronghorn country.
Late afternoon we made it to Rookie Canyon Spring and met our first cattle of the trail. The three angus amigos were very polite and let us fill up on cold delicious water. I suspect I’ll have to stop counting cows here in a day or so, cause the herds could be bigger.
As we headed over to Sheepshead Mountain we noticed the blue black clouds and rain cells to the West, but heading our way. We dropped off the ridge as thunder started to roll, getting as low down as we could near a spring and tire set up. Just we found a place to camp the rain cell burst over us. We’re using our Black Diamond mega mid for this trip and we’re able to set it up over our gear in just a few minutes.
Allgood said it rained only one day of his ODT hike last year, I wonder if this is “it” for the rain for us.
Pictures are out of order.
Team pic. A rare selfie…
Getting water at Rookie Canyon Spring!
Mukmuk and the way ahead!
Views along the ODT of rolling hills, sagebrush, bunch grasses, and cloud shows.