Forum Index > Trip Reports > Fremont Point Cabin, Nov 21-23, 2018
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D. Inscho
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Joined: 28 Feb 2010
Posts: 891 | TRs
Location: Bellingham,WA
D. Inscho
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Not bored yet...
PostMon Jan 21, 2019 4:45 pm 
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I hadn’t intended to post this trip initially because of getting chased out by a winter storm  a mere 2 nights into a 5 night stay.  But with time and distance I can see the appeal of sharing with others despite the fail.
Wy'east, original name
Wy'east, original name
No place to be
No place to be
Dust and water
Dust and water

This is a difficult “winter” rental for non motorized access due to the long high approach on the ridge.  My forecast for the stay looked benign with just a few festive inches of snow predicted midway through the stay.  However the forecast changed dramatically the afternoon of my second day.  That evening I was confronted with forecast winds of 60-80 mph, and up to 18 inches on Thanksgiving.  Another 12 inches were possible on Friday.  Even if winds did not topple trees across the long ridge top road, the drifts would be relentless and deep, kind of like a static ocean of peril.  Even with 4wd, 2 sets of chains, an axe, and a shovel,  I did not want a knife-fight with mother nature; I’ve history with her and was fortunate to come away with just a few figurative scars last time.
Winter Ridge to Summer lake
Winter Ridge to Summer lake
Earth mirror
Earth mirror

The original cabin burned in 2002 and was rebuilt in 2015. The cabin is named after explorer of the American West John C. Fremont.  In his second of five lifetime expeditions, Fremont passed over this ridge in this area December 16, 1843.  He named it Winter ridge.  Read a wonderful account of the passage from his journals here:  https://oregonheritage.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/summer-lake-and-john-c-fremont/     It is equipped with three beds, wood stove, propane lamps and propane refrigerator.  A stockpile of wood is ready for the visitor.  It overlooks the dusty playa of Summer lake and the vast expanse of the Oregon Outback.
Life on the inside at blue hour
Life on the inside at blue hour
7200' Holiday getaway
7200' Holiday getaway
Between heaven and earth
Between heaven and earth

I arrived after a 10 hour drive from Bellingham after exploring the sunny Fort Rock formation nearby, arriving just as the moon was peacefully rising above the playa.  That was the last of any calm I experienced.
Fort Rock
Fort Rock
Dry arrangement
Dry arrangement
State Park
State Park
Sagelands
Sagelands
Moonrise over Summer Lake playa
Moonrise over Summer Lake playa

I awoke the next morning to a great bluster that harassed any passage outside, and made camera-slinging a challenge.  Regardless, I walked the ridge line, pondered in ponderosa** forests, and split rounds for the hallowed wood stove.   A thought from my communion with those ridge top pines:

**Definition of ponderous 
1 : of very great weight
2 : unwieldy or clumsy because of weight and size
implies that something has greater density or thickness than the average of its kind or class.
History and Etymology for ponderosa pine
New Latin ponderosa, specific epithet of Pinus ponderosa, from Latin, feminine of ponderosus ponderous 

Fantastic wind
Fantastic wind

Evenings were spent reading and writing next to the animated light and popping wood stove while snow fell outside.  Despite the warnings I was reluctant to leave, hoping the forecast would relent.  Through the morning winds and light snow I slowly started to pack.  Kind of like in a reluctant breakup where you hope the other will realize it was a big mistake.  Well, about noon my hopes of reconciliation were confronted by winds at the top end of the prediction and sheets of snow.  The ominous message- go or be stranded at 7200 feet.  Within an hour I had a pile of gear at the door and the place clean.   The wind was so great that opening the door required two hands lest the door swing wildly and bodily strike me.  All gear had to be battened down while carrying out so it would not fly off in the gale over Winter Ridge scarp.  Fortunately the truck was parked in a favorable direction lest the doors be ripped from their hinges upon opening.  With the truck packed, dog and driver boarded the wind-rocked buggy.  We made our way though snow already drifting over the narrow double track access road.  Other than an occasional need for 4wd, the rest of the drive out was uneventful.
Playa to ridgetop
Playa to ridgetop
3000' below
3000' below
Star power
Star power

The shortened stay was disappointing, but I consoled myself with a cleansing soak at Summer Lake Hot springs.   I stayed overnight in La Pine and drove back home the next day.

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http://david-inscho.smugmug.com/

The key to a successful trip is to do the planning during work hours.       --  John Muir
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neek
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Location: Seattle, WA
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PostMon Jan 21, 2019 5:18 pm 
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Sounds intense. Brings back memories of a bike tour done around there years ago.  Hung out in Fort Rock with the 6-toed cat and farmer who told us "that's a lousy way of gettin' around."
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Nancyann
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PostTue Jan 22, 2019 12:22 pm 
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Stunning pictures! I always enjoy your trip reports, David!
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D. Inscho
Not bored yet...



Joined: 28 Feb 2010
Posts: 891 | TRs
Location: Bellingham,WA
D. Inscho
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Not bored yet...
PostWed Jan 23, 2019 7:18 am 
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Thanks for the feedback to you both.

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http://david-inscho.smugmug.com/

The key to a successful trip is to do the planning during work hours.       --  John Muir
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostWed Jan 23, 2019 4:34 pm 
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Mother Nature at her gnarliest.  Kind of inspiring and crappy at the same time!

Your opening photo threw me off on the location.  Nice misdirection.  Haven't checked out that area.  Been up and down 97 and across 20 but not into that expanse off the highways.
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Vidalia
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PostWed May 08, 2019 6:17 pm 
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Mother Nature is not to be trifled with!
Great story, thanks.

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The most difficult thing in life is making a decision to do something..... the rest is only mechanics!
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