Coming down from a high | Day 2a Photos

by Elouise

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Mitchell, Oregon (pop. 130) looks like a town that forgot about time. That’s where we spent the night after our first look at the Painted Hills. We arrived in Mitchell just as it was getting dark, dropped off our luggage at The Sky Hook Motel, and drove to the only café in town for supper.

The motel owners, probably about my age, have lived in Mitchell for more than 30 years. Each motel room was different: homey, comfortable, clean if not fancy, walls covered with art work, quotations, and Scripture verses. The kind that encourage you to persevere because you haven’t been abandoned.

We hadn’t planned to visit the Sheep Rock unit, but our host was enthusiastic and persuasive. So the next morning we were up early, ready to drive to the Blue Basin area of the Sheep Rock unit.

Before breakfast, D and his camera took an early morning walk around the motel grounds. Here’s some of what he saw, beginning with the front of the motel. You can see the hill just behind it and the slope down just in front of it.

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Looking down the hill, there’s Mitchell below the trees and highway.
First a panorama, then a zoom in on Main Street.

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Now back to the motel grounds for one-of-a-kind yard decorations.
Right out of the 60s and 70s, I’m guessing.
Bits and pieces of west central Oregon.

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From the moment we arrived, we saw wild life around the motel.
Most weren’t nervous about us–just curious, like this lovely creature
who doesn’t know deer hunting season is about to begin.

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The deer below blended right in with the hills just behind the motel.

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Finally, a beautiful Oregon Evening Grosbeak:

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After breakfast at the café, we took off. But not before a conversation at the café. A gentleman from Mitchell came in and asked whether anyone here had called him this morning to see if he would open his gas station early (at 9am). He had agreed to do this, and wanted to let this gentleman know he could bring his car by for a fill-up.

The caller in question wasn’t in the café. So this owner of the only gas station in town was out looking for him. Would that happen where you live?

To my eyes, the untouched, unscripted, unrehearsed hospitality of Mitchell and the few residents we saw complemented and enhanced the untouched beauty of the high dessert and the Painted Hills.

On our way to the Sheep Rock Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument:

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To be continued….

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 26 October 2015
Photo credit: DAFraser, October 2015
Mitchell, Oregon