This is big country. Driving Hwy 140 you can see vast distances. By Sage Hen summit I could see the Steens to the north and the Pine Forest Range to the south with fresh snow on the top. It is a wonderful middle of nowhere type of place. In the valley of Guano Lake there were miles of grass land.
I ventured off to visit the Shirk Ranch – a dot on a map, that I had heard a vague reference to in the past. There seemed to be two ways to get there. One could drive the Beatys Butte Road north and then turn west which is the route I remember hearing about, or drive BLM Road 6106A from the south. I tossed about in my head which way to drive; the route I remember being recommended or the route that seemed logical looking at a map. I decided to try logic and drive in from the south and that was the correct decision. I never saw a east/west road that connected to the Beatys Butte Road.
When arriving at the ranch, one can tell it had been a place of pride. A prosperous ranch with a two story ranch home.
Today the house is occupied by birds. I wondered why the building hadn’t been secured to keep the birds out. Then I saw the holes pecked into the walls. I think it is a losing battle to try to keep the birds out.
- The road to the Shrink Ranch is BLM 6106A from Hwy 140. I was able to drive about 30 mph on the road and I think a SUV can make the drive when the road is dry. But there was one spot that I had to drive through some water. Perhaps in spring the water may be too deep for a SUV. There is a place to turn around if it looks too deep. Also, it looked like the road could be a pain to drive if wet.