Originally Posted by MasterMarine
Locked gates sure suck.
Where was that first locked gate on your Benchmark Map? I figured that would be an open route from the west side of Long Hollow heading NW past Coyote Gap and then west over to Beatys Butte. Guess not!
Looking good so far. Thanks for sharing!
Nope. I was going to mention this in a later segment but may as well now.
The entire Eastern valley section is private land (Funnel Canyon and OR202 being the Eastern edge). We talked to the owner at Fields Station about it the following morning, it used to be public land but was traded for (I think a smaller amount of) private land on Steins Mt to create a contiguous portion of land for the Steins Mt Wilderness. Did I mention I'm a liberal wilderness lover
. I forget the name of the ranch that contains the land now, Brian (remarksman) may know. The guy at Fields Station wasn't too happy about it, I got the impression it creates a real access headache for locals.
The only other exits that could have worked for us would have been to the North (we went that way the following day) or to have gone all the way South on Beatty Butte Rd and then either loop back North on Funnel Canyon (fastest if your heading to Fields) or East to Domingo Pass.
The locked gate was after we had turned South (off Old Military) onto Valley, near the purple arrow by Coyote Gap. I should have taken a waypoint but I didn't. As I said, that entire valley floor is private land. There was a gate at the end of Old Military, I think that is probably the end of public land but it's not marked. The ranch people said people keep taking their signs but it's equally possible they just don't bother marking it.
The North route we took the following day was the junction on the map right at the tip of Beatty Butte (just above Rattlesnake Butte). We eventually ran into private land that way also (just south of the main east-west Rock Creek Rd). We just closed our eyes and rode through, it wasn't far, but it was clearly posted, first sign we'd seen. The route we wanted to go which we thought would avoid private land just faded to nothing/sagebrush.
It's possible there is a way out also on the other North routes (to the East), i.e if we'd turned North at the end of Old Military rather than going South, but that wasn't convenient for us that night, though it might have worked for the following day.
We bought the hunting map at Fields. I guess BLM sells a similar map which shows the land allocation quadrangles. It's pretty much essential out there as the Benchmark doesn't delineate public/private land, maybe it used to do, but it doesn't now. This map showed pretty much the entire Valley as being private and it's a miss-mash to the North, especially closer to Rock Creek Rd.
Hope this helps!