Simply Nahala

Writer. Photographer. Soul Traveler.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Painted Hills

Sometimes you just need to get up at four in the morning, jump in the truck, rock out to Michael Jackson and head for the hills. My daughter, Abigail, Lucy Lu and I recently went on an adventure to Eastern Oregon and on the way, stopped at the Painted Hills. One of the three units that make up the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. A unique place where the hills seem to be hand-painted by Gaia herself.

We pulled off of Highway 26, nine miles northwest of Mitchell while the sky was still etched in black and watched the sun rise over the periwinkle mountains. What a treat! When I'm in the area, I always like to stop and observe the monument that seems to transform each visit due to the lighting conditions and moisture levels. The colors on the hills seem to be most prominent on a clear day in the late afternoon or after a rain storm. These photos were taken just after sunrise.

Once an ancient river flood plain in a warm tropical climate, prehistoric horses, rhinoceros, elephants, camels, creodonts and saber tooth tigers roamed freely in a lush forest. The colorful stratifications on the clay hills were formed millions of years ago by different volcanic eruptions, gradual climate change and years of erosion. The different colors correspond to various geological eras.

Considered one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon, the Painted Hills is otherworldly and open year around. The hills just don't look real and feels a bit like you are on another planet. There are short trails located throughout the monument that gives you a different vantage point of the area. It's an interesting place to visit as well as a popular destination for photographers. There is a shaded picnic area with restrooms that is a peaceful spot to enjoy a meal during the warmer months.

below are some more photos from our spontaneous adventure

Best Wishes For A Great Week!


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