My favorite part of the Northwest for a getaway is the southeast quarter of Oregon -- the high desert country. It is spacious, beautiful, wild, remote and uncomplicated. One can stay at the historic Frenchglen Hotel and enjoy family style meals without the distractions of phones, TV or the internet. From there, Steens Mountain, the Round Barn, Malheur Refuge, Diamond Craters, Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge and the Alvord Desert with its thermal lakes and hot springs are accessible.
I know from experience that it is possible to spend weeks looking for petroglyph sites while seeing very few people except maybe some real cowboys, sheepherders or a wildlife biologist. Prepare to be astonished by the antelope; the saline lakes like Lake Abert, filled with brine shrimp and covered with thousands of shorebirds, pelicans, ducks and geese; and the ground yields agates, petrified wood, sunstones and jasper. The high desert streams have native redband trout and in spring the wildflowers are spectacular.
In the higher reaches of Fremont National Forest one can find aspen groves and old growth Ponderosa pines along with some wilderness lakes. The whole area is a treasure land for those interested in volcanic geology.
But it is not for everyone. You will either love it or hate it.
-- MELVIN ADAMS, Richland