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A Plush Escape… in Plush Country, Oregon

Get Away to PLUSH, OREGON!

Looking for an escape this coming thaw out?  Think Plush, Oregon, and it’s fantastic sights that are nearby. A definite travelers oasis with roads leading to adventures everywhere. Hunting, fishing, rock-hounding, hiking, even bug collecting are just a few of the endeavors you’ll find people up to, and that leaves out the ranches and their horses and cattle and the gold mining history.

Bald eagle rookeries are abundant on the cliffs outside town on the way to the mines while you pass herds of antelopes. Sounds great if you’ve been snowed in there at home.

You have the town itself with the memorable general store where the staff treats you like a local and that’s a great thing.   Leah and the others take care of you quite well balancing their day around your well being and needs.  Stories abound and the owner is quite the storyteller if you’re lucky enough to drop by while he is running the bar or pumps.  You’ll find happy customers, gas groceries, great food, and some amazing gem quality Oregon Sunstone jewelry and carvings in their display cases.  The carvings from the winter watchman from Dust Devils Mine are amazing in themselves.

Hart Mountain Store Facebook Page

That’s the next best part of that part of that valley since you’re so close to the mines, head on over to The Oregon Sunstone BLM area to collect for FREE your little treasures, whether digging or walking the road you will leave with some nice stones. Maybe even a fortune. They have a pit toilet only, no water and plenty of campsites throughout the BLM mining site, but only four covered shelters first come first serve style with picnic tables.

Nearby you’ll find two options, well reviewed I might add, for mines with machinery operating where you can join in at a price and find some amazing Oregon Sunstones: Watermelons (green w/ red center) or reds, rare blues, and other colors are found occasionally. Dust Devil Mines and The Spectrum both are well thought of and offer packages with a variety of choices, while Spectrum Mines even has overnight lodging and showers.

Their Teepees are recommended by many, and I’ve personally met repeat customers while I’ve been out there so don’t hesitate to give them a visit. Dust Devil Mine is home to knowledgeable men and helpful men who’ve been known to go looking for wayward Sunstone miners on the BLM site when concerned spouses wonder where their hubbies are if they overstay their schedule, which you might be quite tempted to do as you get Gem fever.

No phone signal for the most part out there, quite remote, so Dust Devil has helped a few families out with communication over the years. At the general store in Plush, you’ll find great maps and brochures available so while you’re there gassing up (recommended) look around and ask questions.

Antelope refuge and it’s adjacent hot springs aren’t far away either and worth the drive, while in that area, up on top of the valley, there’s also some other secret finds like hieroglyphs along a dry lakeshore and more.

There’s ample camping near the hot springs and if those are full, lower in the valley there are spots near the lakes before you climb up to the refuge.

The Antelope Refuge website has links. The Hot springs are very nice, one is walled off for semi privacy and has a ladder like a pool down into its inviting warm water, no glass allowed, and another is a bit off to the side and a natural hole in the ground with no man-made alterations.

Visit their site for more information as seasonal road closures are an issue. It is on the main road from Plush to the town of French Glen which is itself near the sight-seeing wonder of the Steens Mtn Loop Rd. The refuge is about halfway or less between the two locations. A bit of a climb up the road so travel safely!  Enjoy Plush soon!

-Marcus Beau

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