Oregon Desert Trail
Extreme Hike for Extreme Hikers
The true beauty of a land can only truly be discovered through walking along its terrain. Whether that terrain is very rocky, sandy, or lush and green, it all begs to be discovered through hiking. Hiking allows the hiker to connect with nature like no other mode of transportation, but no matter what hike you do on, you need to make sure you are prepared. That is especially true if you look to conquer the Oregon Desert Trail.
What is the Oregon Desert Trail All About?
There are hikes that take people through some pretty impressive landscapes, but if you want to really test your skills as a hiker, the only place to really get into nature is the Oregon Desert Trail. This 750-mile trail takes hikers through amazing vistas and varying terrains throughout the journey. The trail is conveniently broken up into sections that make it more easily navigated. Central Oregon Volcanic, West Basin, East Basin, and Owlyhee Canyonlands are the different sections. Within these sections, the journey is further broken down into subsections so you can keep track of where you are through GPS and typography maps.
Understand Your GPS
Some trails are well marked and therefore easily navigated by most people, but Oregon Desert Trail is not actually recognized by the United States Government agencies as a true trail. It only exists from the efforts of countless hiking enthusiasts and volunteers cataloging their journeys and maintaining the trails that do exist. There are no signs throughout the trail, but volunteers are hopeful that their petition for the area to be sanctioned as a national trail will be granted and signage can begin to assist travelers throughout the trail. The risk of getting lost is high due to the lack of signs and even some typography maps can cause novice hikers to become lost, but GPS technology gives all hikers an edge when it comes to these types of circumstances, but know your personal GPS device and have much experience using it before attempting the Oregon Desert Trail in its entirety. This will ensure your safe travel even when there are no visible trails to be found.
Water is a Must
The mere name of the Oregon Desert Trail should tell potential hikers of the need for water. Desert climates often do not have many sources of water and some of those sources may not be very clean. Throughout the trail, travelers can find some water sources, but they will not be as available as many of the other trails you may have traveled. Since water sources are on the scarce side, it is recommended that you pack in all the water that you can and bring along a filter in case you find a water source that may not be so clean.
The Need for Rest
When you hike such extreme environments as the Oregon Desert Trail, rest is essential to your overall enjoyment. Adjust your time so you can take rests when you need them. Resting allows you to take in the sights and the sounds of the trail and gives your body a chance to refuel itself. Many people try to rush through and hike as many miles as possible and this is fine if you are going for the world record of hiking speed time on the trail, but the average hiker is not looking to such lofty goals and nor should they. There is far too much to see and going at a slow pace enables you to get the full experience of the Oregon Desert Trail without missing out on anything.
Things to Know
Food is obviously needed when you choose to take a hike of this caliber and throughout the Oregon Desert Trail you will find areas that you can restock your food supply, but one thing that may not be often thought of is the need for a way to cook any food you may have. Although many hikers rely largely on protein bars and freeze dried food sources, there are times when you may catch a fish or small game on your journey and therefore cooking is in order. Due to the dry climate of the area, fires are not recommended along the Oregon Desert Trail. You are however encouraged to bring a lightweight camp stove for safe cooking.
The Oregon Desert Trail is maintained by volunteers and a very minimal staff as we have previously stated and therefore it is essential for anyone camping on the trail to keep their campsite clean. There is to be no trash or human food left behind, so pack everything out that you bring in and camp in a no trace type of way. Camping in this manner ensures that none of the wildlife are effected by your presence and further, the animals do not get used to human food and allow that to interfere with their natural way of life.