06 February 2010

Haphazard Hiking - Criterion

In anticipation of our hiking/wedding trip in May, I suggested to JD that we start taking day hikes to get in shape. Last Sunday we drove out to a place just south of Maupin in central Oregon and hiked for about two and a half hours.

The map posted in the parking lot called the property the Criterion Acquisition. In the early 1990s, the BLM purchased the old Criterion Ranch with an eye towards providing additional access to the Deschutes River and linking other public lands (although there was some debate about the efficacy of their efforts published in The Bend Bulletin.)

JD knew about the area from his bird hunting days and indeed we did meet some hunters in the parking lot as they were wrapping up.

We had amazing luck with the weather: 50F and sun! What a treat in rainy PNW January. We had the area to ourselves and we turned Henry loose as soon as we got away from the parking lot. He was overjoyed and it was fun to watch as he bounded through the sagebrush stopping every few feet to sniff something interesting.

We walked along the service road for about half a mile and then turned to go overland following a gentle hill. I had to stop several times just to listen - to nothing at all. What a luxury to find somewhere away from the noise of humans and machinery. There wasn't even a plane flying across the sky. The only sound was the wind blowing through the juniper.

The air was so fresh, filled with the clean scent of sagebrush - that always takes me right back to my parents' place in New Mexico.

The main purpose of the hike was hiking but neither of us could resist shooting a few photos on such a beautiful day.

It was interesting to see Mt. Hood from the east side with sagebrush and juniper in the foreground rather than the doug fir forest I'm used to:


There were a few fences left from the ranch and one spot had a mass of vivid green lichen growing on it:


The sagebrush was mostly twiggy and leafless and the bright orange lichen looked lovely against the grey bark:


We even got Henry to sit still for a few shots although it was clearly under protest:


We took it easy since it had been a long time since either of us had been hiking. I also wanted to test how my leg held up. Neither of us are planning on climbing Everest or anything but we do want to be able to hike a bit for the sake of photography. We just want to get a little way away from the crowds to seek out some more unusual photos. I'm happy to say that we both held up well and weren't even sore the next day. I'm encouraged and looking forward to more trips.

Do you like to hike? Where's your favorite spot? Do you like to meander or challenge yourself?


  1. I'm a meanderer. And if we come to a creek? Well, I'll be there for a while, so just keep going and I'll catch up with you later! I can sit by the water forever...

  2. Thanks for commenting, Kat. I'm with you on the meandering. What's the point of getting out into the wilderness if you don't just stop and enjoy it?

    Oh, and I love Trixie Beldon, too!


Homesteading Webloggers
Powered By Ringsurf