Thursday, July 18, 2013

July 18

Day 4: Deschutes National Forest

This is by far my favorite part of the trip. The forest is truly breathtaking and the people were amazing. The day started off with a doe in camp right by my tent. After scarfing down some fuel, we headed to Lava River Caves south of Bend. After a quick talk by the director Scott McBride, we had a very informative talk with Barbara Webb, a Wildlife Biologist, who specializes in bats. We learned about white-nose syndrome and the precautions the Deschutes NF takes to prevent this fungus from invading the small bat population here.

A short time later, we got to talk with Bart Wills, a Geologist, who took us on a tour of a lava tunnel. He explained the formation of the tunnels and why it was so cold down in the tunnel. 42 degrees is pretty cold but it actually felt pretty good. And boy was it dark. This tunnel was possibly the darkest room I have ever encountered. The lanterns seemed to barely pierce the abyss that surrounded us. So fun!

*Sorry no pictures.. camera batteries decided to take a break.

We next met with Amy Tinderholdt, the Recreation Team Leader, who took us up to Lava Butte. There we had a couple talks with Erin Woodard (Archaeologist) and Doug Johnson (the Fire Management Officer).

The best view!
Erin explaining her job with artifacts
The ponderosa have a beautiful view

Stuart, a summer intern, describes his job as fire lookout

Then we ate. Thank you to the whole Deschutes team who put together the potluck in our honor!

So yum!
Apr├ęs lunch, the forest team took us on a short hike up the Deschutes to Benton Falls. It was amazing to see how beautiful the trail and banks were kept despite having so much traffic each year.

It looks so calm...

And then... Benton Falls

Kevin (far left), Shane (far right) and Amy (middle). You were awesome!
Thank you so much to Shane Jeffries (Deputy Forest Supervisor), Kevin Larkin (District Ranger), Amy Tinderholdt (Recreation Team Leader). The other gentleman in this picture, I cannot remember his name but he is to be especially thanked as this whole "Deschutes" experience would not have happened without him. Thank you!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

July 17

Day 3: Kah-nee-ta to Deschutes

Packing up camp was by far the least enjoyable thing on this trip.  Doing this first thing in the morning made it 100 times worse!

The morning was filled with a beautiful drive to Kah-nee-ta where we would have a chance to have some fun and do some horseback riding.

On the way to Kah-nee-ta

Stables at Kah-nee-ta

Chance and Cristian getting ready to head out!

Cougars riding horses!

After horseback riding, it was a stop at the Warm Springs Museum. There we got to view the museum and the exibit of Apolonia Susana Santos and had lunch provided by the museum. Afterwards, we were blessed with talks by Aurolyn Stwyer and Radine "Deanie" Johnson who shared about their lives, culture and language.

We later headed to the Deschutes National Forest and the Deschutes Bridge Campground just south of Lava Lake. It's a beautiful campground that is permanently closed but we were able to get permission so we had the whole camping area to ourselves! This is where we camped for the night.

Deschutes Bridge Campground


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 16

Day 2: Warm Springs

Today we woke up very early. We ate some fuel and headed to meet our contacts with Warm Springs Fish and Wildlife, Jason Grant (Habitat Biologist) and Austin Smith (Wildlife Technician).

Initial restoration spot with Jason Grant (light cap) and Austin Smith (dark cap).
They would end up taking us to two restoration spots; one fully restored and one yet to be started. The first was a restoration of Shitike Creek at Warm Springs.

The once straight channel is now back to its original winding self

Read more about Shitike Creek and its project in this beautiful article here.

Shitike Creek restoration project

Next we learned about Austin Smith's project with tracking mule deer and ended our day at Potters Pond. It was a mill site where mill creek was dammed up with berms to make ponds for curing wood. Previous to this, the creek had been a spawning ground for salmon. The restoration project would see the partial removal of berms and the restoration of a natural stream and floodplains.

Austin showing us radio collars and tracking device

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15

The trip has already ended. The following are notes and pictures I took during the trip. Enjoy.


The plan was to meet at Heritage University at 8am on Monday, July 15th. Twenty-six of us would embark on a journey that would take us to meet the people of the "big river", the Columbia. We were to start in Toppenish with a talk about the Yakama tribe and their relationship to the big river. However, like many well laid-out plans, the realities of life asked us to make modifications. This would be an inescapability of our trip but I like to think we did it well. Thank you Jessica, Leonard, Graciela, Chrissy and Monet for dousing the fires, planting the seeds and tending the harvest. Without any of you, this trip would not have been such a great success.

Day 1: The Yakama

Between having to pick up much needed gear an hour after vehicle loading time, a mix-up in locations for our Yakama talk, getting the blogs set up and a young man getting his braces, we still managed to leave at a respectable hour.

296 hours with this bunch !?!?

Stever Ridgon and Paul Ward gave a talk at Heritage University about the Yakama tribe and their relationship to the big river. They were not the planned speakers for the day, so they deserve a great deal of thanks for coming to talk to us on such short notice (only an hour or so!). Thank you both! They discussed salmon, the history of the people, restoration and our part in that restoration.  While this would be a common theme amongst all the tribes we visited, each would have subtle differences in their relationship to the land, its restoration and our part in stewarding the land.
Our first stop was at Celilo Falls. Aside from its cultural significance as a trading place and superlative fishing ground, it must have been an unparalleled-sight to see the falls before the dams.
Columbia at Celilo
Our next stop would be Horse Thief Lake State Park for lunch and a hike to view petroglyphs.

How old are these?

Could be as old as several thousands of years.

Our dauntless leader coordinating our trip but missing an amazing view!

After the short hike to see the petroglyphs we made our way to the Warm Springs to visit the Warm Springs Agency. There we stayed in the longhouse and witnessed a truly remarkable sunset.

The longhouse at Warm Springs


More Warm Springs sunset