Monday, April 14, 2008

Trip out to Eastern Oregon #2

We spent this last weekend exploring parts of Eastern Oregon that we missed last year on our first visit. Wah-Wah and I were both feeling like we needed a break from the daily grind, so we headed out back east.
Eastern Oregon is very different from Portland and the coast. It's referred to as the high desert. The area gets about a quarter of the rain, that Portland and the Cascades gets. It is much more isolated and less trees. As a result, ranches pop up everywhere.

After Woogy finished his T-ball game on Saturday, we headed out of Portland through the Columbia River Gorge and stopped at a natural preserve (I can't remember the name of it, Wah-Wah can I'm sure). I was promised fields of wild flowers but had to settle with small patches of them. Still, I thought it was sweet to watch my little girl pick some.

After stopping at White River waterfalls (which we saw last year), we headed out towards John Day National Monument, which are fossil beds spread out over three areas. We stayed the night at this bed and breakfast in a small town called Fossil. Fossil is a very small town and kind of depressing. Cell phones were no use. This bed and breakfast was nearly the only place to stay in town. I guess it was alright, but Wah-Wah and I stayed at a much nicer bed and breakfast in Weston MO. The kids seemed to enjoy it and the breakfast was pretty good.

After leaving Fossil the next day, we headed out to our first John Day site called Sheep rock. This area reminded me of the Badlands in South Dakota that I visited when I was much younger. The hike we went on had some fossils on display throughout the trail. No dinosaur fossils, but all early "horse like "mammals use to inhabit the area.

After visiting Sheep rock, it was off to the Painted Hills (the second John Day fossil site). They were pretty impressive to see shades of red throughout these hills. Not a lot of other people around the area, so I really enjoyed the solace.

Here was a trail that went around a red hill. It was like walking around on Mars.

We spent the night at a regular hotel this time in a town called Prineville. After leaving there we headed out to Smith Rock State Park. We found this to be a spectacular park, but hard to find since there are not a lot of signs around. We ended up asking this grizzled old rancher for directions. He was pretty grizzled and reminded me of Curly from "City Slickers."I wanted to ask him what was the secret of life. I envisioned him saying "One thing." Anyway, this is the view from the other side of the canyon. Smith Rock is one of the premier rock climbing areas. Unfortunately, I've never had any desire to go rock climbing, so I settled with a nice hike down by the river.


Portland wawa said...

It is called the Tom McCall Nature Preserve. BB didn't show the picture of the Columbia River Gorge behind it. It's on a bluff overlooking the gorge, quite impressive.

I don't know why Eastern Oregon fascinates me so much. I guess it's because the Cascade mountains that we live by are so wet and green, full of trees and eastern oregon is so barren. The contrast is amazing. Eastern Oregon seems to me what Arizona or Utah would be like.

GoldenSunrise said...

Neat. Sounds like you had a nice trip.

shakedust said...

You know, I have never heard anything about eastern Oregon at all. I really mean nothing. So, it is interesting that there appears to be stuff to do out there.

I agree that it looks a lot like the South Dakota badlands. Is the population there as sparce as it is around the badlands?

Doc said...

Next trip you need to check out the Eagle Cap Wilderness in northeastern Oregon. The mountains there are beautiful. You can stay at a cabin in a nostalgic resort on Lake Wallowa. The town of Joseph, Oregon nearby has quite a few art galleries, and I remember at least one good restaurant. There is a gondola that goes up 4-5,000 feet to the top of one of the mountains. And Hell's Canyon along the border with Idaho is nearby.

Roaming Writer said...

This looks like a fun trip. We are the opposite of you guys - we live in the desert, dry part of Espana and will go this weekend to visit the green wet part!

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