A vast land of magical shapes, spires, and walls, Leslie Gulch lies in the Owyhee river country of the extreme southeast corner of Oregon. I am drawn there in the springtime, when wildflowers and bird songs fill the canyons formed by volcanic tuff–ash that has consolidated through heat and pressure in solid rock. Wind and water have sculpted these walls into an infinite number of patterns. Early evening and early morning intensify the colors.
In May, when the days are clear, I simply put out a tarp, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag and sleep under the stars. Waking up at dawn to the melody of chukars, canyon wrens, and meadowlarks, I feel deeply alive and grateful.