Sunday, April 3, 2011

John Day Fossil Beds

The first stop on our spring break tour was in eastern Oregon at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.  The last time we visited here was eleven years ago.  We stayed at the same place in Dayville as we did before.  There are three main areas to visit.  On our previous visit we went to the Sheep Rock and Painted Hills area.  This time I wanted to go to the third area, the Clarno unit.

Driving from Idaho, we encounter the Sheep Rock area first.  So we stopped and walked up one of the trails in the Blue Basin area.  It was cloudy but not rainy on the slight ascent.  Of course there were beautiful layers of colors in the strata and in the rocks.  Anna and I took lots of pictures.  There were dark clouds looming and they caught up to us as we started back down the trail.  Freezing cold winds and hail inspired us to run back to the car.  Of course we had left our rain jackets in the car and I got an "ice cream" headache from the cold wind.

While in the car, Frank pointed out that if we had not spent so much time taking pictures, we might have gotten back to the car before the storm had arrived.  Choosing to ignore that, we drove to the new interpretative center that wasn't there eleven years ago.  Inside, we warmed up and tried to dry out.  They had very nice displays and information about all of the different kinds of fossils found there.  I especially liked the leaf fossils.

 When we came out of the center, we saw the newest snow (or maybe hail piles) on the tops of the hills.

Since it was about a 20 mile drive one-way up to the Clarno unit, and we weren't sure what kind of weather we would get, we decided to go to the Painted Hills area instead.  The weather held out for us there. Once again we saw beautiful layers of color.

This one above is a close up of the texture of the hills.  The one below is one of my favorites for all the colors in it - the red, goldish and pink colors in the foremost hill, the green one in the middle ground and the blue mountains in the background.  Frank is standing in the middle.  Can you see him? 

As I was looking at the pictures from our last trip to this area, I found a picture I had taken in almost the exact same spot I did this one, only Frank wasn't in that picture and the colors were slightly different.  Could have been the old fashioned film photos we used back in the day.

No comments: