The Painted Hills of Eastern Oregon
Thursday, May 27, 2010

When most people think of Eastern Oregon, they think desert. That's because, well, it is. And while some are able to appreciate the unique characteristics of an arid landscape--very fragrant sagebrush, the SUN!, or (gasp!) the overabundant reptile population (eeek! ewww!)--most people who live in The Valley, I suspect, don't really find the value in leaving the recreational mecca of Portland to travel 5 to 6 hours by car only to end up in a land comparatively deficient of moisture and vegetation. Even when they know one of Oregon's most fascinating geological masterpieces can be found there.

These, my friends, are The Painted Hills of Eastern Oregon--an impressive 3,000-acre stretch of colorful layers situated within the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. The entire area was an ancient floodplain, and the different types of matter deposited there over time are what gives it such diverse and highly saturated coloring.

Totally. Worth. The Drive.

Vibrant yellow flowers growing in the crevices

Wyatt and Avery running up and down the boardwalk of one of the trails

Trying to catch a lizard
(Notice how Avery is interested yet remains cautious
behind the protective shield of the trail sign. Love that girl.)

We spent the weekend exploring the monument, camping amongst snakes, lizards, and feral pigs (thank God we didn't actually see one of those!), and getting to know the townsfolk of the neighboring communities. Apparently it's common practice for the overall-wearing, axe-carrying, Paul Bunyan lookalike owner of the local mercantile to make female customers follow him out to the field behind the store to gather their own firewood and haul it back by themselves. Good to know, right? My heart was racing a million miles a minute. Oh, and did I mention his two ginormous rottweilers were sniffing my crotch the entire time I had my arms full of firewood? Oh yeah. I thought I was a goner.

Damn dogs.

Blogger Carmen had this to say:

Wow! Beautiful pictures and great story to boot! I didnt know Paul had kin folk in Oregon...???

May 28, 2010 at 6:45 AM 

Blogger Alex and Ashley had this to say:

Oh my gosh those are amazing pictures!

May 28, 2010 at 6:12 PM 

Blogger Sara Seratte Jansen had this to say:

Dude with an axe? You're a much braver woman that I would be. At the mere mention of "follow me out back" I would've fled the scene!!!!!

May 28, 2010 at 7:45 PM 

Blogger Grandma had this to say:

Awesome pictures I would like to have one in a frame :)

May 30, 2010 at 7:15 AM 

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My Wine Personality:
For the most part I’m a chardonnay, as I consider myself to exhibit a somewhat sunny and mellow disposition (most of the time), but because I find a tremendous amount of joy out of showering my two kids with hugs and kisses, I also possess the subtle sweetness often found in a riesling. But don’t be fooled. I love a great outdoor adventure and am willing to try anything once. This occasional display of boldness is thought to match that of a cabernet, whereas my appreciation for nature suggests that I have an earthy component to my personality—very characteristic of a merlot. (more)


“Wine rejoices the heart of man and joy is the mother of all virtues.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1771