On the edge of the Alvord Desert, at the base of the Steens Mountain is a shack. It's a run down, weather beaten, ordinary shack, but for one thing. This particular shack was built by a millionaire who left his millions to live on the Oregon high desert and heal himself. He was supposed to die very soon from stress related illness, but upon retiring to the Alvord, he lived many more years, eventually dying a wiser, happier man. Inside the shack is a tattered three ring binder. In this binder relatives of the man, random visitors, and those actively searching this place and its healing leave their thoughts. When I read the entries of the binder I went outside and sat on a rock and sobbed. I wasn't sad. I was overwhelmed. This shack is overwhelming.
The Steens Mountain and the Alvord Desert are amazing, awe inspiring places. The Steens rises over a mile from the flat white plains of the Alvord. This is desert country, and the beauty is there only for those who can see it. The Alvord is filled with borax springs and hot lakes. The Steens is stark and mighty. Where the two meet, along the fault line, is a series of hot springs. The one best developed and most visited is Alvord Hot Springs, a cement enclosed pool. About a mile north of the hot springs is a canyon. That's where the shack is. Camping there is really nice, although the creek is dry most of the summer. There are huge boulders that you camp in the shade of, and the ground is flat.
I can't describe the feeling of the place, or the emotions that the notebook raises. I admit to leaning towards mystical, but when I visited this place I was blown away. In later years, when I read in one of Carlos Castaneda's books about power spots, this shack is what came to mind again and again. It's an amazing place, and one that I want to revisit, when the time is right.