Tuesday, May 25, 2021 (Tomorrow early, a total lunar eclipse, and later, the Super “Flower” Moonrise)
We’re in the Ochocos, local mountains, having paused where often I’ve ridden horseback. Osix races back to where I’m lagging. I’m strolling and gulping-in the gorgeous setting. Ahead are the others.
This brief stop gives the dogs a break from riding in the SUV. The Ochocos are surprising me by popping up many pleasant memories from past years. The dogs and I are en route to Oregon’s Painted Hills. They’re about an hour away, on just this side of Mitchell, a tiny tourist community.
Many times, while driving toward the more Eastern Oregon, I’ve glimpsed the Painted Hills but always have been in a hurry. I’ve passed its turnoff road that gobbles six out-of-the-way miles, one way. This time, I’m giving myself a take-it-easy day away from ranching. I’m carrying a camera.
I’m astonished by a sheer natural beauty of those Painted Hills. These are one of three units of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. This particular geologic unit covers over 3,000 acres, has designated driving roads taking tourists to various viewpoints, offers hiking trails, and carefully insists that no vehicle, person, or dog disturbs any of the landscape.
In this ancient fossil site, if one accidentally happens to spot an undiscovered fossil, pocketing it is an illegal theft. Tourist instructions are to photograph and report any spotted fossil to area supervisors. In fact, lifting and taking anything, rocks, plants, or animals, is against the law.
Dogs must be on leashes, and so, my four slept in the SUV.
I drove over every road absorbing colors and views. Even my wordy self can’t describe accurately the awe simply of being among those hills. Their sheer beauty, completely natural and widespread.
Viewing from an overlook site.
My zoom camera doesn’t excellently capture distant scenes, but effectively records sectional close-ups. In this large shot, colors that show appear muted.
A close-up from the same area reveals the striking vibrancy.
A few more outstanding captures.
More fun with a high-zoom camera, a hiker captured from hundreds of yards below.
Before leaving the area, we made a looky-lou quick trip through Mitchell. I’ll return someday and walk through it with a camera.
On our way home one more stop, and again, in the Ochocos where sublime greenery covers.
Dear Friends: Increasing wildfires that devastate urgently call on us to protect still-natural areas. Diana