Birch Creek & Morrison Ranches on the Owyhee River, Eastern Oregon
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Thread: Birch Creek & Morrison Ranches on the Owyhee River, Eastern Oregon

  1. #1
    Senior Member admiral's Avatar
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    Birch Creek & Morrison Ranches on the Owyhee River, Eastern Oregon

    Nothing like riding on a dusty, hot 90-100 degree day, through miles and miles of sagebrush down into a remote river canyon to do some more splor'in. The ride down to these ranches are more or less a follow up to my Twin Springs ride. Quick note, the ranches are sometimes grouped together under the Birch Creek Ranch, but are in fact two seperate ranches. Also, the Morrison Ranch and airstrip are also know as the Pinnacle Ranch. I've not found information on the name change so far, but the BLM still calls it the Morrison Ranch for what it's worth.

    There use to be a couple of river fords near the ranches, but a flood in the mid 1990's and the area designated protected by the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act river, I'm not sure one is suppose to ford the river anymore. It's been done (not by me), and I found a place to cross, but time and distance are not on my side. Which is why this has turned into a series, with the Twin Springs ride #1 and Birch Creek/Morrison Ranches #2. There will be at least one more trip to the Watson area nearby, and hopefully the final chapter in the series, but maybe not!

    Well, my day started with a slight delay. Rode for over 8 years and never got a flat. Put on new rear tire and in under 3 weeks I experience my first flat. I press on!


    I can't believe it! So no one's disappointed, again the OAF (Oregon Air Force), disguised as a crop duster, was tracking my movements





    Staging area


    I hate it when the cow's burn down a ranch house


    On my way to Birch Creek, I pass by Jordan Craters. If I have time I'll stop by here on my way back. It's only 3 miles away...by road!


    Starting my decent into the Birch Creek drainage to the Owyhee River. In the far far distance, you can faintly see smoke from a fire (da) on the far ridge above the canyon rim.


    Not a river crossing


    I can start to see the Owyhee River below a particular land formation know as "The Nipple". Also, if you look close you can see the rock and wood fence on the slope (left) above Birch Creek Ranch.


    Well, you be the judge!




    The previously mention fence up close


    Birch Creek Ranch. BLM takes care of the ranches. Birch Creek Ranch Site Oregon/Washington BLM


    more to come
    Hidden Content A ride in the woods helps me relax and release tension. The fact I'm dragging a body should be entirely irrelevant?

  2. #2
    Senior Member admiral's Avatar
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    The Morrison Ranch is about a mile up the road, downstream. Here is one of the irrigation waterwheels the ranchers used for their uses. There are still a few up and down the river. This is the only one accessible on this trip.


    Just before I reach the Morrison Ranch, I come upon what they call "the bone yard". Lots of old farm implement items. Old and older!




    Old hay wagon




    First building at the Morrison Ranch. With the little research I've done, I know this was the root cellar. Morrison actually lived in it at some point also.


    Morrison ranch house


    I was surprised at how well the BLM has maintained the buildings on the ranches. I did see a pickup truck at Birch Creek Ranch and I've heard there are caretakers who live here. All makes sense as to why the building are in such good shape.


    Just past the Morrison Ranch is a river take out for rafters. Due to low water levels in summer, most of the rafting is done in the spring or early summer, depending on river level


    At the north end of the Morrison Ranch is a remote airstrip. Because of the Wild and Scenic River designation, it's only for emergencies.


    On the way back, I took the time to make a quick trip to Jordan Craters. Interesting and hot!!




    That's all for this trip folks
    lizrdbrth, Scutler, B-dub and 1 others like this.
    Hidden Content A ride in the woods helps me relax and release tension. The fact I'm dragging a body should be entirely irrelevant?

  3. #3
    Senior Member elime's Avatar
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    That was a super report and great pictures. Makes me wish I lived somewhere I could ride in areas like that.
    Long live the internal combustion engine!

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    Senior Member old white truck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by admiral View Post
    Well, my day started with a slight delay. Rode for over 8 years and never got a flat. Put on new rear tire and in under 3 weeks I experience my first flat.







    I hate it when the cow's burn down a ranch house




    Not a river crossing

    That is a professional looking patch job. What kind of patches did you use? (Also good to see you managed to get the hammer in your very first photo).

    NEVER trust cows!

    Do you always have Georgie test the water depth before you cross?


    Admiral, you set up the best trips. So much interesting stuff to see. I imagine I could fill up an entire memory card just taking pictures of the old machinery that you found. I think my wife and I will have to plan a trip to that end of the state just to try some of your incredible routes.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Wingnut's Avatar
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    Admiral....great report as usual, that "drone" that was tracking you does not look to be very stealthy....
    i have not searched for any past threads on this, but, your TW's paint job? Looks to be custom British tan, gas tank and plastics both, was this a custom job? Rattle can job? Any details will be appreciated.

  7. #6
    Senior Member admiral's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by old white truck View Post
    That is a professional looking patch job. What kind of patches did you use? (Also good to see you managed to get the hammer in your very first photo).

    Do you always have Georgie test the water depth before you cross?

    Took the tube to a nearby tire shop for repair. Dealership didn't open till 0900 and not guaranteed to have TW tube. Thought the hammer would be a nice touch since this nail was in the tire . It was hot so Georgie had no problem testing the depth and temperature of the water. Should have seen her enjoy herself at the river raft take out!
    Hidden Content A ride in the woods helps me relax and release tension. The fact I'm dragging a body should be entirely irrelevant?

  8. #7
    Senior Member admiral's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wingnut View Post
    i have not searched for any past threads on this, but, your TW's paint job? Looks to be custom British tan, gas tank and plastics both, was this a custom job? Rattle can job? Any details will be appreciated.
    Ah, your gonna be disappointed, rattle can tan from the auto parts store shelf. When I get a scratch, I just touch it up. Up close it's like an actor without makeup...ugly! Course this paint holds up pretty well and if I wasn't so rough on the TW, the paint job would probably look nice.
    Hidden Content A ride in the woods helps me relax and release tension. The fact I'm dragging a body should be entirely irrelevant?

  9. #8
    Senior Member B-dub's Avatar
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    Great ride, Admiral! Lots of interesting stuff. Man, that rascally nail must've really had it in for you to get you not once, but twice! The powers that be in the Oregon Air Force must not perceive you as much of a threat anymore to downgrade their surveillance from jets to a cropduster. I thought the water wheel was quite interesting. I also liked the bone yard, and the crater. Makes you wonder how big the meteorite was to make that big of a hole and push that much dirt out. I enjoyed your report, thanks for sharing it with us.
    My handle is B-dub, I ride a T-dub, and drive a V-dub.

  10. #9
    Senior Member admiral's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B-dub View Post
    I also liked the bone yard, and the crater. Makes you wonder how big the meteorite was to make that big of a hole and push that much dirt out.
    I visualize your riding area similar to this one, but different! I should have explained Jordan Craters. It's from a volcano and the black which surrounds the crater is the lava flow. According to the information sign near where I parked, in geological terms, this volcano and lava flow is fairly recent compared to others. I can't remember how long ago, but before the Civil War for sure!
    Hidden Content A ride in the woods helps me relax and release tension. The fact I'm dragging a body should be entirely irrelevant?

  11. #10
    Senior Member B-dub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by admiral View Post
    I visualize your riding area similar to this one, but different! I should have explained Jordan Craters. It's from a volcano and the black which surrounds the crater is the lava flow. According to the information sign near where I parked, in geological terms, this volcano and lava flow is fairly recent compared to others. I can't remember how long ago, but before the Civil War for sure!
    Hmmm, silly me! I've just never seen a ground level volcanic crater before. Around here the crater is always at the top of a cinder cone. I've been to the large meteor crater in northern Arizona, so when you said crater I just assumed it was a meteorite crater, & that the meteorite hit at a shallow angle. Thanks for explaining it for me! So, with what you've said, and looking at the picture again it appears to me that the volcano formed a cinder cone, then got plugged up and blew it's top off like Mount St. Helens, leaving the crater. Makes perfect sense now! So, in addition to enjoying your great report I've learned something new. Thanks again, Admiral.
    My handle is B-dub, I ride a T-dub, and drive a V-dub.

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