Coming down from a high | Day 2b Photos

by Elouise

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Badlands? Star Trek? Sheep Rock’s Blue Basin is other-worldly. Here we are in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by desolate landscape. Yes, there’s a trail, though it’s sometimes narrow or partly washed out. The Blue Basin seemed forsaken by all but elusive birds, hardy insects and scrubby plants.

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Hopper in the Blue Basin

We hiked up through canyon-like formations, and across 13 sturdy metal bridges. A sign at the front end warned that if you had a dog along, you might have to carry your dog across each bridge! We didn’t see any dogs. Only 4-5 people, all coming up as we were going down.

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Bats caves? Snake dens? Fox holes? What are these cave-looking holes about?

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The major colors were shades of blue and green, chalky to the touch. A bit like I imagined the water in the streams to be—chalky. Here we’ve reached our destination, with a smooth, inviting bench and a grand vista. Don’t miss the lone trees that stand out on the top ridges.

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It’s mid to late afternoon, so we decided to drive back to the Painted Hills for one last look. The sun was low in the sky when we arrived, but it didn’t ruin anything. This was an opportunity to get close to the Painted Hills–even touching them sometimes!

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Yes, that’s lavender in the last photo. Just beautiful against all the green and pinky bronze, don’t you think? The hills are cracked and dry right now. But the colors and textures change when it rains. The claystone soaks up the water–which changes even the colors and sheen of the hills. One funny fact: This is, of course, a protected area. However, this clay makes great kitty litter! Just thought  you’d be interested in a bit of trivia….

Thanks for coming along on what turned out to be three parts, not two. You can catch Day 2a and Day 1 to see more beauty.

Small. That’s how I felt in the Sheep Rock unit of the Fossil Beds. Not insignificant, but incredibly young and ignorant about the way this planet has evolved over millions of years.

I also felt the importance of living each moment as fully as possible. The end of at least one natural era came with the most explosive, wide-spread volcanic eruption ever experienced in this part of the world. Will there be another? Am I ready? Are you ready? Life is precious, if not always easy. Just the way God intended it to be.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 28 October 2015
Photo credit: DAFraser, October 2015
Sheep Rock and Painted Hills Units of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon