Grant County High Point Trip Report

Date: August 17, 2002
Author: Bob Bolton

I drove to John Day and south to the Strawberry Mountain area, using Ken Jones' perfect directions. As I was approaching FR16 the smoke from another fire just south of me was practically overhead, while the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness was basking under deep blue skies. The risks seemed minor, so I drove on up to the trailhead and did the hike. The last words in Ken's 1997 report was "Lovely!". Well, the fire that destroyed all that timber south of the mountain must have happened since he was there. It was indeed a lovely hike and a lovely day, but that burned forest was anything but lovely.

By the time I returned to the rig the wind had shifted and the smoke from the south was long gone, however the haze still hampered the long views, unfortunately. Started at 2 p.m. and returned at about 5, spending quite a bit of quality time on the summit.

The drive down the hill had a very intense moment. It all happened so simultaneously that I can't remember which I was aware of first. A mammoth dump truck supporting the road grading project came barreling around the corner ahead, requiring me to find a wide spot QUICKLY. The wide spot was happily just ahead. Somewhere in there I was startled by a fawn bounding along the edge of the road beside me. I needed to thread the needle between a defenseless fawn and a crushing truck. Happily the fawn was able to disappear over the bank to safety, and the wide spot was wide enough.