Biologist on a Bike

Day 12: Baker City, OR to Halfway, OR

Distance: 56.04
Average speed: 10.4 mph; Max speed:  mph 34.4 mph
Elevation gain: 3,294 ft
Average temp: 84.7 F; Max temp: 53.6-100.4 F

I woke up before my host, but we had set up for that, putting out all the things I would need to make breakfast without having to rattle around the kitchen and wake her up. I did get a bit of a side-eye from the dog, though. Despite having slept amazingly well (the comforter on the bed was as cozy as it looked), I felt tired again by the time I finished my breakfast. The solution to that, a quick nap.

Where I woke up, Day 12

But, as will happen, the quick nap became a longer nap, and I rolled out of bed over an hour later, this time for good. I packed up all my gear and swapped map section 2 for map section 3! Two down, ten to go!

Map change #2! Two map sections down, 10 to go!

Loading up was quick, and I was on my way only a little after I had meant to leave. The first stop of the day was 7 miles outside of town, the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, a must see according to several people I have spoken to in the last 12 days. Ellen wasn’t sure, but said she thought today was a free admission day. She was right. I would have gone anyway, admission was not expensive, but this was an unexpected bonus. She also warned me that they had a steep driveway. Despite the warning, I was unprepared for a steep driveway that was a full mile long. I’m not kidding. They even had a sign up advising larger vehicles to park at the base of the hill, that’s how steep it was. I made it about halfway up before thinking “screw this,” and engaging the granniest of granny gears, the walking gear.

This memorial monument is a few miles before the museum

The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

Inside are superb dioramas, artifacts, information, and audio-visuals. I only spent an hour, but I could easily have spent 3 or more had I read everything and watched all the videos all the way through. At one point, you can pick up a card and follow the journey of a specific traveler. I don’t know if this is like the Titanic exhibit where not everybody survives, but my person made it, as did her sister and husband.

There was a hill to climb right out of Baker City and before the museum, but after the museum the road dipped into a broad valley with some stunning views.

What a view!

From there, the road began paralleling the Powder River as it winds its way through the hills.

I suppose that makes this spot Quarterway.

Female Yellow Warbler (?)

In 1984 there was a spectacular landslide that covered the highway I was on. So extensive was the landslide that they built a new road rather than uncovering the existing one. You can see the old highway disappearing under the rubble.

This highway was blocked by a landslide in ’84.

I’m not sure the townspeople are happy with your choice of nest site, osprey.

I stopped in Richland to eat, top off my water bottle, reapply sunscreen, and rest before today’s climb. I don’t know if it’s the cumulative fatigue of the trip, the moderate headwind I had battled most of the day, or the heat of the afternoon, but even though this climb wasn’t particularly long, it was exhausting. I was so happy to reach the top.

Today’s nameless summit

I was even happier to see this sign.

Cue the coasting!

Halfway was at the base of the hill about a mile off the road. It had a well-stocked market, so I got some vegetables to go with my dinner. Unfortunately, no Warmshowers hosts were available tonight, so I’m set up in my tent at the RV park. The grass is soft, the shower was hot, and my neighbors are quiet, so I count this as a win.

There were quail in the campground!

Roadkill count: 1 bird, 1 skunk, 2 unknown mammals.

Map Day 12

8 thoughts on “Day 12: Baker City, OR to Halfway, OR

  1. Connie Joki

    I forgot about the steep drive to the Trail museum but I’m so glad you toured it. You hit 3 of my top 10 favorite spots in Oregon; Smith Rock, Painted Hill and Oregon Trail Museum. So awesome.

    It seems you are starting to get in the groove of this tour; knowing you limits – when to push and when to rest.

    Keep going and keep posting

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