Today, Bend’s Sage Clegg, 33, will begin an 850-mile hike from the Oregon Badlands Wilderness to Lake Owyhee State Park along the newly mapped Oregon Desert Trail. Clegg hopes to arrive in Ontario by July 20 — for more than 900 miles — and become the first person to through-hike the trail.

Over the past several years, the Oregon Natural Desert Association has scouted the best trails, jeep tracks and routes through the state’s High Desert to link them together as the Oregon Desert Trail. From the Badlands, the trail goes southeast to Hart Mountain, Steens Mountain and then winds back north through the Owyhee Canyonlands.

Clegg, a wildlife biologist, is one of the world’s fastest female ultralight backpackers. She plans to chronicle her journey at

“It’s a really cool route and it highlights a lot of ONDA’s gems of wilderness areas and places they’ve been working so hard to conserve,” Clegg said. “... This is the kind of route I love. It has that ultimate freedom of just navigating over a landscape with no trail tread.”

— Mark Morical, The Bulletin