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Glass Buttes, 2017

Winter has had a persistent hold on the coming of spring but there comes a point when you just need to get out, so we headed east for a weekend and landed at Glass Buttes.  It’s not too hard to tell how the buttes got their name, there is literally obsidian just about everywhere.

The glass of Glass Buttes

We picked a somewhat random spot upon arrival and went for a cross-country walk.  There’s enough glass scattered across the ground to keep a person looking down almost the entire time.

Wandering Glass Buttes

We found a few specimens.  Apparently a person is allowed 25 pounds a day with a 250 pound annual limit.  I wasn’t sure who could make use of all that glass, until we has a run in with a local, but more on that later.


We eventually found our way to the top of the main Glass Butte.  I’d wager you can see 20% of the state from there.

View from Glass Butte to the Cascades


View from Glass Butte to The Steens

After a bit of exploring around we ended up in a camp not far from where we started the day.  It gave us a great view of the area.  It was also apparently about 40 feet away from a mining claim and not long after we set up camp the owner of the claim stopped by to let us know.  He was friendly enough and described that his claim was essentially for the magnetite that makes the fire in fire obsidian.  He actually gave us a piece, and if the sun wouldn’t have been at the right angle I would have never been able to see it.  We decided to stick to looking at shiny glass and let the pros go after the specialty stuff.

Glass Butte Camp


Western Bluebird


The next morning the wind was howling so we made the day into a long indirect road trip home.

GI Ranch Road


We headed up through the enormous GI Ranch to the South Fork of the Crooked, then started east through the sagebrush sea.  There’s a lot of open country out in these parts.

South Fork of the Crooked River


We even came across a historic cemetery from the long extinct town of Barnes, Oregon.  There are 8 people buried there but just 2 gravestones.

Barnes cemetery (did they spell it different in the 1800’s?)



Here’s to new country and open spaces.

Logan Butte




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