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Thanksgiving Adventure


Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 4, 2012
This year we decided to get out of town and forgo the big family gathering. We opted to travel even though we normally would not on holidays. We picked a remote in state destination, Crystal Crane Hot springs as our base of operations. Weather permitting we had planned on visiting several other places , day tripping. But wouldn't you know it Mother nature dumped 12"-18" of fresh snow the day before our trip. Knowing that we'd be traveling on the off days of the holiday we decided to brave the snow packed roads and make the best of it.

Crystal Crane Hot springs is a developed resort. They have camp spots, tepees, cabins (no bathrooms),and rooms with private bathrooms and private soaking tubs. There is a community bathhouse and a community kitchen onsite. They also have private soaking tubs for day use rental.

We opted for a room with private bathroom and soaking tub. Glad we did because it was damn cold and making a trek to the bathroom would've really sucked! The main feature is of course the natural hot springs and soaking pond. Which they maintain to a temp of 101°f year round. Even with the temps outside they have to pump in cold water. Neat thing is all of the paved walkway, patios, are heated with geothermal, so no snow or ice to worry about.

The closest town is 25 miles away so we prepped and packed all of our food for the trip.

I cooked a turkey breast on the 14.5" Weber (thankfully the day before the snow came). I also made Stuffin Muffins.
My wife made pumpkin-rye whiskey mini pies. Same normal pie recipe just made in pot pie size tins.

For the duration of the trip the high temp was 20°f during the day and -2°f-6°f for the low at night. Soaking in the hot springs was a godsend!

We only made one trip out and visited the Malheur Wild life Refuge. It was cold, but a fun trip. There is a small museum there that was open to look at. The main visitor center was closed for the weekend. I have been there several times in my life the last time was almost 40 years ago. Normally one would see tons of birds, but it was blowing, foggy, and too cold.

Anyways here's a few photos of our off grid adventure and our non-traditional TG day meal.

Main Pond

Our private soaking tub on the enclosed patio off our room - Heated walking surface

Sod House lookout tower - 1938 Located at the Refuge headquarters. Named for the original settlement several miles down the road.

All of the original buildings are cut stone and were built by the CCC between 1936-1938. Most of the workers were brought in from the Midweast via train to Lakeview Oregon (at the time the closest depot to the area) and then trucked into the camps.

Juniper post and willow branch fences were commonly used in the area for corrals and wind breaks.

Bathroom Buffet! - Yes that is a P-38 can opener on the cranberry Jelly!

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Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Sep 12, 2018
Looks like it was a fun trip. Great looking food as well!

JC in GB

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Sep 28, 2018
Wow, looks like a great trip... Very nice... :emoji_cat:


Master of the Pit
Joined Feb 27, 2018
If Knoxville got 12-18 inches of snow there would be a state of emergency lol. Looks like a cold but relaxing Thanksgiving!


Master of the Pit
Joined Mar 11, 2015
Looks like a fun getaway, Case. I would love to forego the family gatherings once in awhile and do something like this. Seems like a one way street when it comes to family gatherings, I’m always traveling to them.

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