Monday, May 11, 2015

Mud Springs Horse Camp and Salter's Cabin, Oregon

This was my second trip with my new LQ, having had most of the problems with it fixed in the interim. So enjoyable not to be in a tent anymore!
Mud Springs is located in the Ochoco National Forest outside of Paulina OR. As per usual it took twice as long to get there as Bing maps led me to believe. The roads were all in good shape, just one small stretch of washboard in one area.
Directions are accurate in the OET book, although a little off on mileage. Directions on the FS website are not quite as accurate. Like most out of the way places, there is only signage once you get closer to camp.

The entrance to camp.

Set amongst huge Ponderosa, this camp is absolutely beautiful. The entrance has a very narrow cattle guard, which I barely squeaked my trailer tires over. It is one long road rather than a loop, with big sites on each side with the best one at the end, next to a meadow. According to the camp map there are six sites but technically there are only five. Only three of the sites have corrals, which are steel, and you are not allowed to put up high lines or portable corrals in any of the others. This is a free camp and does not have a manure bin or garbage. There are two bathrooms and a stock watering hole (mud spring) but it's not highly convenient. It is behind the camp and requires a longish walk to get to it.

The nicest site at the end of the road.

Steel corrals and lots of grass for a happy pony.

Mud Spring.

This is kind of a "wing it" place to ride. Take off on old abandoned roads, ride cross country, or as I did the first day, do a large loop along FS dirt roads. I surprised a herd of elk along the way, although they did not stick around to pose for pictures.

Rager Creek is not raging.

Riding on the FS roads.

On day two I rode the South Prong Trail, this leads into the Black Canyon Wilderness.
The trails in the Ochoco's are notorious for not being cleared on a regular basis so I was not surprised to come upon some obstacles along the way. Some were harder to navigate than others...I was hopeful I would make it all the way, but got about two hours in, and had to call it quits. This ride is 5.5 miles one way into the canyon, dropping 1600 feet in the last two miles where it eventually meets the Black Canyon Trail. Restoration has been done on the trail recently and it is in good shape other than the blow down. There are lots of sweeping views as this is an old burn area. Since I got back earlier than expected I also rode some old abandoned roads that meandered down hill from the watering hole.

The trail head leaves from site #1.

South Prong Trail.

A couple of coyotes watched me pass by.

South Prong Trail.

South Prong Trail.

Black Canyon from South Prong Trail.

Downfall started to get too hard to get around.

The following day I decided to check out Salter's Cabin, which although not directly on the way home, is only about six miles out of the way. This is also a free camp that has obviously been used mostly by hunters. There is the cabin...which I would not recommend staying in, and I don't think the forest service wants you to...a corral, a fenced pasture area, a tack room, a bathroom, and a water trough. As of this visit the water hadn't been turned on yet, although the trough was full. There were several downed trees that had crashed into the corrals as well.

Salter's Cabin.

Salter's Cabin

Salter's Cabin is a little rustic.

The tack room at Salter's Cabin.

I went on a brief ride following both of the roads nearby, but there are no trails and not really any logging roads so it's another "wing it" kind of place but not as interesting as Mud Springs.
Driving home I passed directly through the center of Oregon....the little town of Post.