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Date:  June 30, 2003

Location  Steens Mountain Backpack - Day 1

Where:  South Steens Campground to Little Blitzen Gorge


 This year's 'Cousins Backpack' was to Steens Mountain in southeast Oregon. Often mistakenly referred to as The Steens, or as Steen Mountains, it is in fact a single mountain, named for Enoch Steen of the US Army who chased a band of Shoshoni over the top and down into Kiger Gorge in 1860. Because of the many glacially carved gorges it is easy to think of the rough terrain as mountains rather than a single mountain. Our backpack trip was up one of these huge gorges and down another. We made a five day loop, starting at the South Steens Campground, hiking up the Little Blitzen Gorge, across the top, and down into Big Indian Gorge and back to the campground.

ready to leave South Steens Campground

Hiking down into Little Blitzen Gorge - photo by Holly Scott

Hiking in the Little Blitzen Gorge - photo by Holly Scott

The lower end of the gorge was very warm and everyone appreciated being close to the Little Blitzen River. We made out first camp in the shade of some tall cottonwoods and spent the remainder of the afternoon relaxing, some wading, some napping, and some playing cards. I was able to get a photo of Narrowleaved Skullcap and a Common Buckeye Butterfly.

Mary and Allison fording the Little Blitzen
Bethany and Eric cooling off in the Little Blitzen
Tylor, Mark & Eric relaxing in camp with cards