June 25, 2016
Four short trails provided access at different parts of the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Each allowed closer access to the painted hills.
The Painted Cove Trail took us on a nature walk around a rounded clay hill. We stayed on a boardwalk for most of the short trail.
Another trail, the Red Hill Trail, took us to yet another painted hill.
We had timed our visit perfectly. The rains held off until we were on our drive back north to Washington. The rain came in cloud bursts, so heavy that once I had to pull off the road until the rain let up. As we crossed the Columbia River into Washington, a vibrant rainbow appeared, seemingly giving a final blessing to our trip.
June 24, 2016
June 23, 2016
“It was coming on a rain. The day had a two-way look, like a day will at change of the year — clouds dark and the gold air still in the road . . . ”
— Eudora Welty, The Golden Apples
We finally arrived at our destination, the Painted Hills of Oregon. What an unusual and amazing wonder it is! I was transfixed by the rounded shapes of the hills — appearing soft as if aging gently — and the pleasing color palette of the bands. But what also surprised me was how small this special area is. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but the Painted Hills are not spread across a vast expanse like the Grand Canyon. The hills are concentrated in a very small geographic space.
Most of the areas are off limits to walking or hiking. The surface of these hills would be easily marked by footprints. You can see evidence of animal tracks on this hill. Imagine how the velvety-looking surfaces would be marred if humans were allowed to wander at will. So access is granted via five viewpoints, all except one are just short walks from the car. My favorite was the longer Carroll Rim Trail Viewpoint, a 3/4-mile hike uphill, giving a more lofty aerial perspective.
Interpretive signs say that the bands of color were laid down millions of years ago during periods of wet and dry climates — evidence of past times of climate change.
The following photos were taken from the Painted Hills Overlook Trail. My next two posts will show you other parts of the Painted Hills Unit. Please do stay tuned!
June 20, 2016
“. . . a gauze dance,
yellow, blue at the tops of trees,
more God, more God everywhere,
more world everywhere . . .”
— Anne Sexton, from “The Fury of Sunrises”
Would anyone sleep late if they knew that there was a rapture-inducing light show celebrating all Creation outside their doors and windows? How many times have I missed these spectacular natural performances simply through inattention and lack of care (and tiredness)?
My husband and I drove the night through on our road trip to the Painted Hills in Oregon. So, cocooned in our car, we were enveloped by the dawn. The skies began to brighten incredibly early, around 4 a.m. (The summer solstice in Seattle is today, June 20th, at 3:34 p.m. — how appropriate that today’s blog post celebrates the sun.) And we were presented with a “gauzy dance” as the earth awakened. We kept stopping along the road so that I could photograph the cloud choreography. Our destination may have been the Painted Hills, but we started the day immersed in the spectacle of painted skies all around us.
I didn’t think the day could get much better than this.
November 9, 2010
This weekend was the first time I went hunting for wild chanterelle mushrooms. My sister and brother-in-law took us out into the forest up the hill from the Columbia River in Oregon. Chanterelles like to grow in thick leaf and needle mulch on the forest floor, near ferns and rotting branches and stumps. We looked for a tell-tale orangish color, which made them relatively easy to spot in the brown and green ground cover. We learned to identify edible chanterelles by the long ridges that ran under the cap and onto the long stem. It seemed like no time before we had three bags full.
It wasn’t easy walking off trail in the thick underbrush. And it was very easy to get turned around and lost. We stayed within calling distance of each other and relied on a compass to find our way back to the road and our car.
Now I have the more difficult job of cleaning our haul. Right now our kitchen counters are covered with chanterelles drying out a bit, in a single layer, on brown paper. We had some this morning in our scrambled eggs for breakfast. They are a real gourmet treat!
April 21, 2010
While the guys went salmon fishing, the three generations of women (my sister, niece, her young daughter, and I) played tourist in Portland. We parked at the Lloyd Center garage and then hopped on the free Max light-rail to the Portland Saturday Market. We spent the day at the Market, a vibrant, crowded, colorful place with hundreds of craft and food vendors. It’s right along the waterfront in downtown Portland. The people-watching was all the free entertainment we needed. We had a great “Girls Day Out.”