Steens Mountains


This is part 2 of our eastern Oregon trip. If you would like to start at the beginning in the Alvord Desert click here.

The Steens Mountain is a 30 mile long fault block mountain range rising almost one vertical mile from the Alvord desert. It was the mountain range we had been looking at the night before and this morning our plan was to go to the summit.

Unlike all of our other summit endeavors of backpacking in the past this would surely be the easiest as the highest road in Oregon takes you straight to the top at 9,733 feet on a 52 mile loop.

Leaving the Alvord desert approaching the Steens Mountains
Beginning our drive up the mountain

Sleeping in the Alvord desert made us feel completely alone. This road took it to a whole other level. We would end up driving for hours and not see one other car. It is a bit unsettling if you think about it. I knew heading out that we would want to have a full tank of gas. The next possible town of any size would be Frenchglen population 12.

Half way up the summit road
The top of the Steens is just a big high desert plateau. I would not want to be broken down out here as there would be no one coming by to help you.

Once at the summit, 9,733 feet above sea level we were able to look down upon the Alvord Desert where we had spent the night before. There was a sand storm racing across the desert floor below us, one of the reasons we had made a hasty retreat that morning.

I love watching the cloud shadows move across the earth. Our travel video of the Steens mountains has some cool time lapses and can be viewed below.
Our video from the Steens Mountains

There are a few campgrounds on the mountain that look very interesting and may be on the list for a future trip. Tonight we are on our way to the Steens Mountain Resort. Resort is an interesting choice of words.

As I had stated in part one of this adventure we have always wanted to film this part of the state but due to lack of businesses and population there was little to no sponsorship. We came here anyway. Today would set the new theme of the trip. We would call ahead to the few B&B types of accommodations scattered around eastern Oregon and ask them to put us up for the night, feed us if they had a restaurant and give us a couple bottles of wine.

The only accommodation option on the Steens Mountains besides a few campgrounds and wild camping is the Steens Mountain Resort. The resort is basically a few modular homes and some RV spots. The owner was very hospitable and friendly and was happy to offer us a trailer for the night. I did not take photos of the trailer but we did do a full tour in the video above.

It was an incredibly peaceful and lovely experience sleeping in the high desert and once again, quiet.

The view from our trailer

He did not have a restaurant but recommended the Frenchglen hotel located a few miles away for dinner. There were BBQ’s at the resort but no store to buy supplies so we called the restaurant, told them that we were filming a documentary of the area and they graciously invited us in for dinner and wine. I will continue to mention this throughout this travelogue because these are the people that made this trip possible and who helped these complete strangers on their journey through eastern Oregon.

Next stop we will visit Frenchglen and the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in part 3 of our trip through eastern Oregon.

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About XPLORE FILM and Sip & Stay

The Art of Life

Tony and Terri-Lynn met in 1987 as teenagers. In 1991 they were married.  Tony has been a professional musician his entire life and spent the 90’s touring and releasing albums.  In 2001 the couple left the cities and moved to a small community on the Oregon coast. This is where they fell into television production and film making. In 2004 Makai Ohana Productions was founded and the couple produced advertising and creative content for hundreds of tourism related businesses and government entities in Southern Oregon and Northern California. Realizing the industry was evolving towards the internet they re-branded the business in 2012 to Xplore Film.  This company would now be an international business producing films world wide as well as an NGO in West Africa where the couple provides clean water boreholes, scholarships and even a prosthetic hand project.

In 2018 Tony and Terri-Lynn with their dog Bisque Kitt packed the belongings they could carry on their backs and flew to Spain. They bought a home and planned to spend equal time between the two countries running the business.  Then Covid hit and the world closed.  By 2020 they realized Spain, and specifically Torrevieja was now home.  They bought a sailboat and started to create a life on the Costa Blanca of music, film, events and community.


Music from Xplore Film

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