Sunday, August 31, 2014

North Fork of John Day River: Granite Creek day hike

Friday, August 15 - day hike on Granite Creek trail - round trip 8 miles

Friday morning we luxuriate in a leisurely morning in camp.

Mark scares the fish for a while, and Dorothy paints in the meadow.

After lunch we head southeast out of the meadow on the Granite Creek trail. Another beautiful bridge takes us over Granite Creek. Later on there is a dicier bridge with a horse ford next to it.

We pass the Lake Creek trail but do not take time to explore it. The Lake Creek trail connects to Road 1010 in about 4 miles - it could be another access point to the Granite Creek Meadow campsite.

Easy to see why the creek is named "Granite Creek." 
Granite is one of the indicators for gold in the area.

After about 4 miles of hiking we come to a road. Exploring it for a bit we find HUGE MOUNDS of river rock - oh my goodness! It looks like they go for miles. The remains of former mining activity.

The road must be access road 1035. We rest and snack, then retrace our steps for a lovely day hike that totals 8 miles. Coming in from this access point would provide another way to reach Granite Meadow in only 4 miles.

 The cabins are always intriguing to us. This one looks like it sees current use; the roof is sound. Perhaps someone maintains it for summer or hunting season use? Access it from the road by horse? It is across the river (and down a steep slope) from our trail, so we just look and take photos. It appears to be empty today, and it is definitely within the wilderness boundary.

 I am a little worried that we'll meet other campers coming in. It's a beautiful Friday afternoon, and the weekend weather forecast is good.

(I even worry a little about encountering a group…what if they are on horseback, with guns, and there are more of them than us? Will we have to relinquish our beautiful meadow campsite??)

But all is calm and undisturbed when we return to camp, and we enjoy another beautiful afternoon and evening of solitude in Granite Meadow.

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