On the Road with the Kidds! travel blog

Hart Mountain Campground, old CCC camp.

Our campsite for a week.

Our campsite from the hill. And not a lot of other people...for...

Pronghorn Antelope Sparring

The road up the mountain..see why we did not bring the camper?

Hot Spring!! Ladder and walls added. You can stand up in this...

A natural hot spring. Shallower but beautiful!

A view from the top of the mountainl overlooking Warner Valley


Amazing stars at night

Hart Mountain and stars

How many deer can YOU see?

Mule deer

Awww, little chipmunk!

Sandhill Crane

Pronghorn Sproinging!

Sunset from the campground

Campfire...with cow chips! :-)

Sticky found a bone to chew on, or is it chewing on...

Desert Paintbrush. FOund this in colors ranging from orange and salmon to...

I saw on a map how this Antelope Refuge was not far from where we were in Malheur so again we headed south a ways. This refuge is designed to help preserve Pronghorn Antelope. It sits mostly on top of Hart Mountain. We are camping at the base of this mountain (Hart Mountain Campground). This is an old Civilian Conservation Camp from the 1940’s. They built all the structures and roads in this refuge. There is a free campground. There are other campgrounds in the refuge, but we are content to stay at the bottom of the hill and not haul the trailer 10 miles up a gravel road to get to the top where there is a field station for biologists and refuge manager, and a crisscross of dirt roads to different parts of the refuge and the other campgrounds. Besides, we are the only ones here! There is also a way to cross the entire mountain about 35 miles to the town of Frenchglen, which is at the southern end of the Malheur Refuge we just left, but we knew we did not want to subject the trailer to that. We found another way here, a bit longer (100 miles or so).

The only drawback we have discovered by being here, if you can call it a drawback, is there is NO cell phone coverage, no Wi-Fi, no electronics. We can live with that! But we did need to find some cell coverage, because when we pulled in and disconnected the truck, there was a loud thump and the support jack we have been having electronic error messages about (which we had stayed in Redmond to fix) broke. This time it is not the control panel, it is the jack itself. We had to prop it up with a spare tire and some blocks. We are essentially sitting on three legs now. We had to go tem miles up the hill where we were able to find one bar of signal, if we sat on one side of the gravel road and did not move. We managed to call the repair shop in Redmond, so he is ordering another part for us, and now we will sit and wait here until it is ready.

The Hart Mountain Campground does have potable water that we can use to fill our water tanks. Mike has set up a small pump and a couple of seven gallon water jugs that we can use to haul water with so we don’t have to move the entire camper to get water. There are only eight sites here, and there is no one here but us. So quiet!!! And the stars at night are amazing! It is a nice quiet, relaxing place. The weather has been finally warming up to about 70 degrees so we both have sunburns now.

On top of the mountain, we have seen herds of Pronghorn Antelope, some even sparring. We have also seen herds of mule deer. They do not compete much for food however since the Pronghorn are fast runners (fastest land mammal in North America with speeds up to 70 mph) they forage where there is low sagebrush so they can visually see if any predators are coming. The deer use the high sagebrush areas since they prefer to hide from predators. (Your animal fact for the day!). We have also seen jack-rabbits, a couple different types of ground squirrels, chipmunk, marmot, and a lot of meadowlarks and northern harriers. We hear meadowlarks constantly in the campground.

A really cool thing up the hill is hot springs. There are a couple of hot springs within the refuge that are also free to use. There is a campground there as well, but again, we don’t want to haul the rig up that hill. One of the hot springs is deep enough to submerge yourself in standing up. It has a concrete deck around it with some benches, and some open top concrete walls to keep out the wind, but let in the sun. It feels wonderful! There is another spring nearby that is shallower, and a little hotter, that is in its natural state. It is beautiful. We have visited the hot springs several times while here.

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