July 26 – Into Soldier Meadows

Woke to complete cloud cover over the entire valley, with spotty showers in the distance. Quick breakfast at Bruno’s and stop at BLM for info on back roads, but they are closed (Steve thanks “the Donald”).

The Black Rock Desert is surrounded by mountain ranges. Selenite Mountains to the south, Granite Mountains to the north, Black Rock Mountains to the west. I love this area. The region brings with it a deep emotional reaction I cannot really explain.

A quick stop at Wheeler Range and Wagner Spring, we are off into Soldier Meadows. We come upon the most beautiful mustang I have seen close to Mud Meadow Creek. He stood proudly on top of a mound watching us as we watched him. Breathtaking creature, and you could feel the connection of spirit as our eyes met. He was never afraid, intimated or wary.

We pass Soldier Meadows Lodge and Guest Ranch. On to the Summit Lake which is on native land, then after checking out the lake we come to a very glittery section of roadway – heads up, Molly Jessup! This time the glitter is not mica, it is obsidian!

Onto the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, mostly set up as an antelope sanctuary, and see lots of antelope, a handful of rodents, and lots of volcanic material and ancient flows. Also, sage, lupin and maybe a kook or two…in our mirror. We head on Road 8A past the Fish Springs camp. Our route seems to be taking us into a huge rain cell.

We head on 140 to Denio to get a room, but all full (there’s only one), then to Fields (same thing here), then French Glen (a small, picturesque hotel on the national historic register, with home style meals) but no room at this inn either. Head then into the infamous Burns, Oregon seeing bucks with big racks on the way.

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