Today gave the riders a bit of a break, with fewer miles and a lot less climbing. What didn’t let up was the perfect weather or the spectacular scenery, though the views today were far different. The first climb took us up Wright’s Point, which marks the route of an ancient stream on a large alluvial fan made of volcanic materials (not sure what that actually means, but it sounds impressive nonetheless). After a decent descent it was a long trek through some wide open spaces on the way to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge headquarters, a haven for bird watchers and a shady green oasis that made for a perfect lunch spot.
After lunch there was another short but surprisingly steep hill, then a long romp through scenic badlands. Tonight we’ll be camped in Diamond Valley. This is a remote and sparsely populated area (with surprisingly great wireless Internet access). It is so remote, in fact, that it is one of the bast places in the region for looking at stars, which we’ll be doing this and tomorrow evening with the aid of several Oregon astronomy clubs.
Tomorrow is the option day. Some will be riding and some will be resting while taking in local attractions.