Sunday, November 17, 2013

Moonlight Butte Wilderness Inventory / SEPTEMBER 19 - 22 2013

I spent 4 days in the Moonlight Butte Proposed Wilderness, a wild country composed of dry lake beds and buttes topped with juniper stands. Here I participated in a another Wilderness inventory with other volunteers of the Oregon Natural Desert Association. It was great to see some good friends again I've made on previous volunteer trips. We shared in a rather unexpected adventure involving an armed "gentleman", summited Sand Rock, and explored a collapsed lava tube. 

Utilizing digital cameras, maps, and GPS units, we traversed several "routes" to determine if they met the specific qualifications of being either a "road" or a "way". Wilderness designation allows for "ways" (unmaintained, primitive routes) within its boundaries, however Wilderness cannot contain "roads". The evidence collected from these routes will be used to illustrate the remote nature of this area and hopefully aid in its eventual designation as Wilderness.

Images were captured using a Canon G12. Some are date/time stamped for possible use in legal documents.  Additional photos taken by other volunteers on this trip can be accessed on ONDA's Flickr site:  2013 Moonlight Butte Wilderness Inventory Trip

a mountain bluebird

pronghorn on the run

little brown jobs

Elk Butte

Bill on the phone with Oregon State Police after our run in with a gun wielding character in the midst of our route inventory. The individual pointed a pistol equipped with a silencer right at the cab of our truck as we passed him by. When the police later caught up with the guy, he said he was shooting rabbits. Sure he was....
afternoon sand storm blowing in

David ascends Sand Rock

rough "roads"

Bill Crowell
a dry watering hole

view from atop Elk Butte

junipers laden with lichens

Benjamin Cave, a collapsed lava tube

a rather large nest at the entrance to the cave


Michael explores the cave


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