9 Responses to “Nature: Autumn at Fort Rock”

  1. 1 Mike E.
    October 27, 2013 at 22:19

    Love the pictures Gary, are you in the Central OR area? or Portland ? I keep seeing shots that look like places i’ve been.


  2. October 27, 2013 at 20:17


    Trying to remember where Ft Rock is. SE of Bend? A relative of my step dad (who grew up around Bend, Redmond, Prineville) found a conquistadors sword stuck into the ground while out hunting around Ft Rock. At least that was what they thought it was. I still have the Polaroid of it around somewhere I think.
    I tried to trace the sword down and get an account of it but everyone had died off and no one knows what happened to the sword. The story goes that one of the hunters tripped over the handle that was sticking out of the ground. When he looked to see what he tripped over and saw what it was he pulled it out of the ground. It had been stuck (maybe buried?) straight down into the ground to the hilt.
    It was interesting to me because I’ve always been interested in the wanderings of the early explorers. I’ve run into a couple interesting little tidbits like this that indicate that the Spanish may have pushed into places that they generally aren’t considered to have been, like eastern Oregon or north central Wyoming (almost into Montana). Fun to speculate on where they went, what they were doing, who they encountered and what became of them.


    • October 27, 2013 at 20:46

      Wayne when they built the Bowman Dam that blocks the Crooked River out of Prineville, ORegon they found a conquistadors sword. If you like history, although a bit distant, Gale Ontko wrote a 6 volume set called Thunder Over the Ochocos. It is a marvelous compilation of history of the region to include the trappers, Shoshone nation, gold etc. I posted on the blog several years ago (query Gale Ontko Grave) about Ontko’s burial site east of Prineville. I highly recommend the books but realize ORegon history may be beyond your interest….BUT…in those books there is a reference to the Spanish sword the crew found as they blew up a rock formation to start building Bowman Dam….very interesting!!!!! I agree.

      Found this about horses and Spaniards in the West:

      Let’s finally take a look at whether or not the Spaniards themselves were in Oregon. Lenette Stroebel, Prineville, Oregon, stated:

      “Gordon Shortreed here in Prineville has a Spanish sword found on the rimrock when Bowman dam was built. There are Spanish mines in the Camp Creek area, as well as the remains of a rock fort near the mines.
      Early ranchers in the Camp Creek area found huge ‘pots’ (which they used for watering livestock) which are similar to those used in Spain today for certain mining processes. Camp Creek is perhaps 100 miles from Beatys Butte (where the original horses were gathered that became the nucleus of the Kiger herd). There is definite evidence of the Spanish having been here. There were not really any ‘settlements’, because their only reason for being here was to obtain gold. There is some evidence that the Spanish had expeditions as far as Canada and that the Indians (Shoshone) ended the Spanish occupation here, maybe about 1600. The last conflict between the Indians and Spanish was supposed to have been near the north end of the Steens Mountains.


      Page 45 “Other Spanish patrols combed the interior from Crooked River {Prineville} to the John Day Valley in search of gold.” NOTE: A Spanish bayonet dating to 1600s was found during construction of Bowman Dam -16 miles SW of Prineville and it used to be on display on an E. Fifth Street Auto Body Shop!



      • October 29, 2013 at 21:34

        I think my step dad may have told me about the “Thunder” volumes. Thanks for the other references to the Spanish swords and camps! Really similar to things I read about what may have been their wanderings into the Bighorn mountains and basin between Cody and Sheridan, Wyoming. Fascinating stuff to me. The only thing left is their ponies and a few metal shards etc, if they could talk I wonder what they would tell?


        • October 29, 2013 at 21:37

          I truly. The courage, the strength, the hardships. Amazing explorers from all the far flung places. I am glad you brought that up…it rekindled my appreciation for the time I spent reading Ontko’s work and studying maps.


  3. October 27, 2013 at 11:46

    Beautiful shot with the incredible colors and light:)


  4. 8 alanyshapiro
    October 27, 2013 at 10:07

    Beautiful colors!


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