First off, the runway is N/S not E/W, and if you are expecting a 100' wide strip like the description says, you're in for a surprise. Especially if you drift to the west and find the deep, unmarked ditch that runs the length of the runway and is completely hidden in the grass.
Winds can be fierce in the hot afternoons so landings and take-offs should be done early morning or late afternoon/evening. Though touted as a one-way strip, with the majority of landings upriver and departures down river, when winds are hard out of the north, and you've some skill as a back country pilot, landings can be done over the trees from the south.
Having said that, you couldn't ask for a more beautiful place; Ponderosa pine, Engleman spruce, and Grand firs. In the evenings, if you are quiet, you may sometimes be rewarded by the silent emergence, from the forest fringe, of deer or elk coming to the meadow to feed.
The Minam River is beautiful; clear, swift and cold. There are some nice secluded swimming holes to be found. One afternoon I peeled Caddis larvae out of their tubes and fed them to the trout.
The best camping is on the south end, near the end of the runway. On the east side there is a great spot under the trees, with an outhouse nearby. This spot affords welcome shade pretty much all day. Remember the ditch? Right across the runway from here there is culvert that allows taxiing across the ditch to the west side of the meadow. Camp here if you like being in the sun all day.
Though privately operated for decades, this spot now belongs to the USFS. There are volunteer caretakers who come in and stay for about one week rotations. Make sure you take the time to go down to the main lodge building and visit. On one trip I met one of the caretakers whose father was actually shot and killed on the property many years ago.
The Minam Lodge just down river is scheduled to go on the auction block in August 2010, and is for sale to the highest bidder. Stay tuned, because we can only guess what the outcome will be, and how the character of the place may change. If you are interested in a little history of this ranch, here is a link:
Lat: 45.34153083333 , Long: -117.62603583333 - OREGON, USA
Leave a Reply ·
You must be logged in to post a comment.