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Old 08-14-2013, 10:48 AM   #83
TheAdmiral OP
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Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Sand Hollow, Idaho
Oddometer: 1,133
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!

Time to unload and get going

While passing by I notice...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 out of my 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.

Georgie always enjoys a water stop on a hot day. She really enjoyed the river down by the raft take out.

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.

Birch Creek Ranch. BLM takes care of the ranches. Here's more information about the ranches history:

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 I saw 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!

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 and some other structures at the ranch

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.

More landing strip. There are also campsites along the airstrip next to the river (not shown)

Time to head home. Cool views climbing back out of the Birch Creek Canyon

Since I had a little time on the way back, I took a quick trip to Jordan Craters. Interesting and hot!

Neat looking in the crater. You can see the volcanic lava flow in the background

Well, that's all for this ride. See ya next trip!
For the record, I hate snakes!

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