My great friend and collaborator Andy Adkins and I decided to detour through Heart Mountain National Antelope Refuge on our way home from Steens Mountain on Monday. What a great choice! We had two objectives: 1) Wash the dust of the Alvord Desert off our bodies in the Heart Mountain Hot-springs, and 2) see what Hart Mountain offers as a future location for a photo adventure. Were we ever glad we took this route!
In 1960 US Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglass wrote this about Heart Mountain:
"I always feel sad leaving Hart Mountain. Yet after I travel a few hours and turn to see its great bulk against a southern sky my heart rejoices. This refuge will leave our grandsons and granddaughters an inheritance of the wilderness that no dollars could recreate. Here they will find life teeming throughout all the life zones that lead from the desert to alpine meadows."
The scenic grandeur and solitude of Heart Mountain can not be overstated. You will not find any maintained trails or paved roads here. You will however find all the rewards of adventuring on the road less travelled; a feeling of true high desert wilderness and wide open space. And yes, the hot-springs are deservedly legendary.
Andy and I only spent a few hours at Heart Mountain in the middle of the day. I shot the few images here handheld (yes, even the pano); some just out the window of the car. It was hard to drive away from the last aspen trees on fire with fall color. Vowing we would be back soon, we started the long road home.
The sky was incredible at sunset as we drove northwest. We were in a long stretch of sage scrubland with no foreground but the road in sight for miles. Sometimes though, that's the story, and that's enough...