Wednesday May 26 2010
A friend once asked me dubiously, when I rhapsodized about Owyhee, "Isn't it desolate?"
Desolate, yes. Big, open, spacious - empty and full. Beautiful.
You could ride for days, weeks, (if you knew where all the gates were) and not see a soul.
You'll see deer, snakes, Ravens, eagles, and maybe pronghorns like I did today. You might see, if you're lucky, bighorn sheep or badgers, or, if you're very lucky, cougars.
You might stumble across an old mine, a nugget of gold (there's still gold in the Owyhees), an arrowhead. You might discover an old rock corral or homestead or dam, a cave with thousands-year-old relics, an old irrigation channel from the gold rush days, an old wagon frame or wheel. You might ride over old wagon wheel grooves on the Oregon trail or you might discover a pioneer's grave. You might drink from a cool spring in a hidden canyon.
The Owyhee mountains are quite small - in height and length and breadth - in the scheme of western mountain ranges - but they preside splendidly over the Owyhee desert. They fill the sky and dance with the storm clouds.
Sometimes it's just you out there and nothing else - and everything else.