Thursday, June 16, 2011

two days at the end of the world

Dug Bar is a long way from anywhere. You have to want to go there. No, you have to need to go there, enough to put up with hours of teeth-rattling, hope-I-don't-meet-another-car-and-have-to-back-up road that goes to sticky clay in the rain. You dive down to the end of the road to an anticlimatic set of drowsing old buildings, remnants of the flush times when there actually was a year-round Hells Canyon trail crew. Heck, when there even was a Hells Canyon trail crew. And before that, when it was an actual ranch, the Dug Bar Ranch.

It was quiet at Dug Bar, the only sound the river, high and chocolate-covered, and a stray meadowlark. We hiked far into the hills, gaining several thousand feet in elevation.
It's a late spring, the hills still green, the creeks still running. We hiked ten miles, short of our plan of 14, but we had forgotten: in the canyon you throw out all the rules. Your normal pace does not apply here.
We were looking at an area that has been free of cattle grazing for some time, but the proposal is to put them back in. I can't lie, I don't want them back. The streams were clear and cool, the bunchgrasses long as hair.
But of course it's not up to me, so I enjoyed what is here now, not what will be or what was.
Well, enjoyed some things. After a sound sleep on the riverbank we all headed our separate ways. I decided to check out a connector trail that leads to the Snake River. After a mile of swimming through poison ivy, I called it quits and Technu'd up by the river. I hope it worked...
The prickly pear cactus was in bloom!

In the end, you always have to go home, so we packed up and left, back to the world of computers and meetings. We left Dug Bar to the intrepid tourists who somehow find their way there, the kind of tourists I like because they are willing to seek out places like these.

I like finding these little cups of silence, these places at the end of the world.


  1. Like: Photos, Dug Bar and enjoying what is there now. Don't like: Prospect of poison ivy.

  2. I don't think you will run out of places to explore and enjoy while you are "staying put." Poison ivy--whaaaa, hope not!

  3. Looks very desolate and beautiful. Lovely pictures but nothing beats being there, does it?
    Our hills lost their green color.
    I seem to be immune to poison ivy and oak but just in case I stay away.


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