Sunday, April 24, 2016

Rome, Oregon

OK, this blog entry is more travelogue than hiking blog, unless you count Lane running in terror from a hissing snake as a hike. But I have pictures and feel obligated to share, so here it is.

Be it ever so humble...
Located in the middle of nowhere in eastern Oregon, the "city" of Rome consists of a store, restaurant, gas station, and a couple of houses. The Owyhee River runs right past the hamlet and we camped at Rome Launch which was surprisingly busy. Turns out, the launch is where the Owyhee Canyon rafters put in but they can only do so when the river is at a certain height. So naturally, the best time to run the river is when the river carries the winter runoff which happened to be the weekend we chose to land there. The campground was a busy place what with rafters camping everywhere. Our ultralight no-frill camping gear looked meager and sparse when compared to the luxurious rafter digs. 

Evening in Rome
The basic plan was to camp one night and then head to the Owyhee Lake area for some backpacking fun. However, the forecast called for snow, rain, and 50 mile-per-hour winds so we weren't looking forward to backpacking the next day. Sure enough, in the middle of the night came the howling winds which fortunately, were a few miles short of 50 m.p.h. But dang, it was cold though, seemingly at odds with the desert environs we were camping in. It sure felt like snow was on the way so we decided to postpone the backpack trip one day.

We camped next to the Owyhee River
So, the next day was spent doing some sightseeing in the area (blogs to follow) and on the higher plateaus above the river, we did run into some nasty snow, sleet, and high winds. We all agreed it was the right call to wait one more day. By the time we finished our touristing, the winds had abated and the cloud cover was breaking up. It still was cold, but not as cold as it had been the previous night.

Say "aaahh!"

This property protected by guard snake

Run, Rick, run!
In the late afternoon, Lane and I followed a path along the Owyhee River. Suddenly, Lane shrieked like a little girl and ran down the trail screaming something about a hissing bush. Turned out there was one pissed off gopher snake with anger management issues lurking in the sagebrush. Watching out for the pointy end, I eventually captured the snake but not before he gave me a nip that drew a spot of blood. The snake was released off-trail and the first thing it did with its new found freedom was to give chase to Rick, throwing strikes while hissing like an overheated radiator. Lane's trail name is now "Snake Girl".

What warmth looked like
We enjoyed the setting sun around a rather large snake-free campfire that Mark built. The rafting group next door supplied us with food, drink, tunes, and general all-around camaraderie. Life was good and we enjoyed the comparatively warm night in Rome before packing up the following morning. And that's it for our Rome stay: Arrivederci Roma!

Arrivederci Roma!

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