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~ Kathy M.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Drive Along the Oregon Outback: Summer Lake Hot Springs Resort

Yesterday, we loaded up the dog and took a drive down the Oregon Outback Scenic Highway.  Dana was thrilled to go, and we were thrilled to have her along.  We were not thrilled when she sat in our seats, and covered them with white dog hair, but it was what it was.

On Highway 97, south of La Pine, you will find the Hwy 31 turn off.  This quiet highway will take you to Ft. Rock, Christmas Valley, Silver Lake, the Oregon/California boarder or on to Reno if you are so inclined (369 miles away).  This is a high desert and ancient area, which used to be underwater before it all dried up.  Fascinating, but somehow disconcerting if you are not used to this kind of scenery.  I wasn't.  There are super old rock formations and a lot sagebrush, at first.  When you move further down the road and run into views of Summer Lake, then it looks like an ocean.  Weird.

Ranching seems to be the occupation of choice in this area of Oregon:

And even the cows like to go to church:

Our destination was Summer Lake Hot Springs.  We had heard about it, looked it up on the internet, and had talked to two Facebook friends about their experiences there.  These hot springs are about 93 mile drive down Highway 31 from Highway 97.  So, we got there, checked it out and took some pictures.

The Driver:
Cary got his cast off on Friday, yay!

The Bath House:
Listed with the Lake County Historical Society, the hot springs bath house was first built in 1925.

There was a family inside enjoying the five foot pool.  Water temperatures range from 101* to 103*.

When I digitally developing the above picture, I found this disembodied head up at the very top of rafters.  Weird!

Back of the Bath House:

There were two pools outside.  One was full and one was empty.  Esthetically, I would have liked to see those pipes all covered up with rock (maybe some fake lightweight rocks on top so that they could get to the pipes if they needed too). 

Lodging choices include cabins, a larger home for rent, tent camping and RV spots.

There was also some neat yard art:

I am glad that we checked it out, but I'm not sure that we will go back.  For us, there are prettier hot springs available in on the other side of the mountains that we can get to in a shorter period of time.  They are McCredie, Cougar (Terwilliger), Belknap and Deer.  There are also some by Diamond Peak that we haven't been to yet, but have heard nice things about.

I do appreciate that the owner is working hard to provide a place for folks to come to these springs at Summer Lake though.  It is early in the season and was only 45* out, and people were enjoying themselves.  It just seemed a bit run down around there.  Perhaps things look different in the summer.

After leaving the resort, we drove the 10 minutes into Paisley and Cary had a hamburger at the saloon as I sipped on an iced tea.  The people were very nice there, and we met some folks from the valley who were on a "Ranch Tour".  They had their own ranches but were visiting others to see how ranchers on this side of the state did things. 

Our day was fun for us, but it was a lot of driving and we were happy to get back home.  We probably won't be headed out that way anytime soon, unless we decide to go to Reno.

Here is the link to the Summer Lake Hot Springs Resort's website: Summer Lake Hot

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Dawn Malone said...

I was surprised to see people swimming inside after looking at your first few pictures because it looked abandoned from the outside. Never been to southern Oregon, only the northernmost part by the Columbia River. Great pictures, Kathy - thanks for sharing!

Tammy said...

Cool trip and pictures! I have to ask what kind of dog Dana is, though. She looks a lot like a dog that was so near and dear to my heart!

Arkansas Patti said...

Dawn said what I was thinking. The people in the pool were a shock.
That head was a bit spooky.

Retired English Teacher said...

This is really interesting country. I loved the photo of the church and cows.

Wendy said...

What's with the disembodied head? What a great story you could write about some haunted springs. Brrr. Like Dawn, I thought this place was abandoned, so I was surprised to see people splashing around. I've never seen hot springs before -- it never occurred to me they could be INSIDE a building.

Little Nell said...

That looks an interesting place, though I agree it could do with some more worlk on it to make it a bit more inviting.

Tammy said...

Thanks for telling me about your dog, Kathy! You confirmed something I've long suspected. My Griswold looked so much like Dana but black/gray/white. Also a rescue. Was quite big, though, and blacker, so our vets all said Irish Wolfhound, but I was convinced he was at least part Old English because he herded, acted as a sentry, and was unbelievably smart. Dana is beautiful!!!

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