I don't know why exactly, but the Alvord Playa holds a special place in our hearts. Perhaps it's because it was the first big playa that we ever drove out onto and camped on. Maybe it's due in part to the history around the women's world speed record and our search for the final tracks left by Jessi Combs after her death there several years ago. At least partially, it's due to the surrounding landscape - full of hot springs, old mines, vast ranches, and of course, the ever-present Steens Mountain.
We've ventured onto Steens Mountain before, trying to make our way - on dirt - over the southern end in order to explore the Steens Mountain Loop, but were turned around by locked gates. What we've never tried to do is explore the northern flank of this gigantic behemoth, extending 50 miles to the north.
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