Simply Nahala

Writer. Photographer. Soul Traveler.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Oregon Outback

Ever since we were involved in an auto accident this summer, I've been wanting nothing more than to get out into the desert where the smell of sagebrush permeates the air and it is quiet and still. This weekend we had a chance to get away and headed southeast on Oregon's Outback Highway. After turning left at the Horse Ranch Store, the lodgepole and ponderosa pine forest abruptly morphs into sagebrush plains reminiscent of the Australian Outback.

Fort Rock, Oregon

After heading east for about 20 minutes, we approached a mysterious rock formation called Fort Rock. The National Landmark is an ancient volcano that resides in a dry ice age lake bed. The tuff ring is approximately 4,460 feet (1,360 m) in diameter and rises 345 feet (105 m) above the high desert plain. From a distance, the jagged rock wall appears to be the palisades of an old fort.

Alien Nation

Fort Rock Cave is situated approximately 1/2 mile west of Fort Rock. In 1938 Luther Cressman, an Oregon archeologist discovered 9,000 - 12,000 year-old sagebrush sandals as well as other prehistoric artifacts in the cave covered in volcanic ash.

Capturing A Moment 

After leaving Fort Rock, we jumped back on Highway 31 and headed towards Summer Lake, one of my favorite places to decompress. Once a lush area containing a freshwater lake after the last ice age, is now a shallow alkaline lake surrounded by arid land that supports over 250 varieties of birds and other wildlife. For me, it is a comforting place that is timeless and remote.

Entering Summer Lake, Oregon

ZX Ranch, the largest ranch in Oregon is situated in this remote corner of the state off of Highway 31 in Paisley, Oregon. Due to the size of the ranch, there are three buckaroo crews. While soaking in the mineral water at Summer Lake Hot Springs, we had a chance to chat with two young women that have boyfriends working on the ranch. They both agreed that ranch life takes hard work and grit. "People come out here and see beautiful land, we see work."

Cattle Drive Near Paisley, Oregon

On our way home from the hot springs, we ascended up Picture Rock Pass towards La Pine, Oregon and then stopped at mile marker 63 to get some photos of petroglyphs or ancient rock etchings that can be found at the top of the pass on a south-facing basalt boulder. Many of the petroglyphs in the surrounding area may date as far back as 12,000 years ago during a time when the Pluvial Lakes filled much of the desert basins of Southeast Oregon.

Picture Rock Pass Petroglyphs

Below are some more pictures from 
The Oregon Outback:

Rest In Peace

Abandoned Homestead

One-Room Harris School Built in 1890

Favorite Things

Old Root Cellar

Welcome Committee

Best Wishes For A Great Week!


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