Sunday, January 1, 2012

Owyhee River Walk

Ken and I took a drive out to the Owyhee River area on Thursday.  Drove west on Hwy 95 to Hwy 201, and took Owyhee Lake Road out to Owyhee Reservoir State Park.  Beautiful country, as long as you're not expecting any trees.  Lots of wonderful cliffs and rock formations, volcanic colors exposed from erosion, and the river just beginning to ice over.

The dam was built in the 1930's.  You can't walk or drive out onto it, but you can stop near it for photos, then drive into the State Park on the shore road.  There are boat ramps and picnic areas.  It's a very long reservoir in some very desolate, very unpopulated country.  I don't think I'd want to make the trip during the summer - it would be boiling hot out there.  But a sunny winter day with storm clouds blowing in was great.


We stopped at least four times to take pictures of the landscape.  This was our first stop.  Interesting colors, remains of cinder cones perhaps, and eroded pillars of stone.



Next we stopped at an alluvial arch we saw on the other side of the river.  By this time clouds were starting to blow in and the light kept changing from sun to shadows.

This is the Owyhee River flowing away to the east, where we came from.

This is looking a bit south of west, with the sun on the trees.

Below is the arch, with an obvious flow of eroded material coming out.  There's a ford at this point in the river.  Another time we might come out here in warmer weather and wade across.  All the really interesting places were on the other side.




Our next stop was at the Owyhee Dam.  After some lunch at a lake-side picnic area in ever-increasing clouds, we headed back along the road, and stopped at the Owyhee Tunnel.  This time we couldn't resist climbing up for better views.

I took 93 pictures this day.  It was hard to take a bad one, the landscape was so amazing.  We climbed up onto the hill the tunnel went through.  You could see up river quite a ways.  And the rock itself was fascinating, full of lichens and moss.  A sign of low air pollution.  It's so empty of people out there, and you don't see much sign of livestock grazing.  Just fishermen and hunters.  We even saw fly fishermen out in the river.  Brrr!

 Here's Ken perched on the hillside before we reached the top.
It started to rain just as we were coming back down.  Not hard or steady.  But it was a sign of weather to come.  That night a big windy-rainy storm blew through Nampa, and we knew it had passed over the Owyhee River area before reaching us.

A view up-river from the top.

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