Middle Fork of the Owyhee River

I’ve recently spent some time on the Oregon coast and need to finish those pictures and get a post written. Actually, it was my honeymoon so it was pretty memorable trip!

A holiday weekend trip to Boise was in my plans over Memorial Day. More specifically in the plans was an overnight trip to Little Jacks Creek in the Owyhees. Heavy rain in the Boise area and throughout most of southwest Idaho forced a contingency. Fortunately the radar seemed dry but cloudy in neighboring Malheur County, Oregon. That immediately turned my mind to the Three Forks.

I have previously been to the Three Forks once. My hiking and photography was done just north of the campground. The spectacular canyons and deep silence were both wonderful to behold. After more patrolling of the area with the aid of Google Earth, I discovered that the canyons to the south seemed even more impressive; they immediately went on my list.

Bad weather had lead me to suggest this area. The remainder of the camping trio (Matt and Trevor) agreed to this idea. We all hoped the rain would subside so we could enjoy a dry hike. Though it started out dry, the rain soon came. Being in the wide open spaces of the Owyhees, one can see rain well before its upon you. The first round of rain was light but soaked all the grass thoroughly thereby soaking my hiking shoes. I had unwittingly left behind my Goretex boots since the forecast just a day and a half ago seemed more pleasant.

The view of the Middle Fork canyon seemed perpetually over the next draw. When we finally made it to the mouth of the canyon we were all impressed. I snapped a handful of photos once in view and then the rain came. First it was rather light, but after I repositioned myself a few feet away the wind picked up and the rain began falling sideways and harder. Fortunately I was wearing rain gear (except my boot!) so I was relatively pleasant, but Trevor and Matt were a little less prepared. I put up my gear after trying to shoot since the rain was falling directly in my line of sight. I packed up and head about a quarter mile away to get another view and hope the rain would stop. The view, though nice, was still hampered by the downpour. It was at this point we decided to head back to the pickup and not attempt to camp overnight.

Juniper and Rocks along the hike

Fortunately, the rain lifted before we completely left the mouth of the canyon. I frantically took shots with only the 24-105 lens on my camera. It was still overcast and another rain system seemed to be threatening. After we all sated our photographic appetite we trudged back through the soaked bunchgrass and sage. Another light rain fell upon us but our spirits were already dampened.

Owyhee River Middle Fork Canyon

The River Down Below

Taking it all in…

The trip back to Boise was a little adventurous with an otherwise nice road becoming a slick, muddy mess. Add dodging cattle while fishtailing and we had quite an interesting 10 mile or so stretch from the campground area back to the Owyhee Scenic Backcountry Byway. I was disappointed that such whether had been encountered, but both Trevor and Matt were pleased with the views and the overall adventure. I, myself, would do it again in a heartbeat.

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10 thoughts on “Middle Fork of the Owyhee River

  1. Aaron- Hey awesome pictures of a seldom visited place. I also like the Pole Creek drainage over there. I work for an environmental non-profit that’s trying to bring attention to this area of the world for wilderness protection. Mind if I make a Facebook post linking folks to your images?

    Chris- with Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands (wildowyhee.org)

  2. Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an email.
    I’ve got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it grow over time.

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