Thursday, May 21

Central Oregon Camping 2

We had a warmer night for our second night of camping, which made for a much happier Mommy! After breakfast and cleanup, we drove towards the next unit of the John Day Fossil Beds, The Painted Hills.

First we stopped to do a couple of quick geocaches and to let Abby pick up some rocks to keep before we got inside the National Monument and she wasn't able to do that.

I've lived in Oregon for 10 years now, and I never even knew these gorgeous hills existed!

We kept our hikes much short and fewer on our second day, mostly to keep our little boy happy. He had a much better attitude the second day though and seemed to enjoy himself much more. Abby was dragging a little bit, probably due to the heat and wear and tear of the previous day.

We found a nice place to have a picnic lunch, but a church bus unloaded at the same time so we didn't get a chance to get any of the tables before they were all gone. So we made our lunch and ate it in the car on the way to our next hike. It was a fairly hot day and there is no shade to be found on the Painted Hills, but everyone agreed the hot walk was worth every minute!

Again, we took many pictures that it's hard to keep from posting too many, but since it's my blog and I love seeing my kids, I'll just go ahead and post some more anyway.

Abby resting in the only spot of shade to be girlie!
Next we drove to the Painted Cove Trail to look at some hills that were very strange and different from what we had been seeing thus far.

These hills looked like what I imagine the surface of the moon would look like. Absolutely nothing can grow on these hills, and we read that when it rains, they actually appear to be different colors (as with all the painted hills) due to the way they absorb and refract the light.

Happy Campers!

Our last short walk of the day was to see this big hill which is just one big fossil dump. They have pulled thousands of fossils off of this hill, and continue to find more all the time. It was so tempting to hop the fence and go looking for ourselves, but of course that isn't allowed.

This was Ryan's favorite thing of the whole day, Red Hill. It was one of the pretty hills we saw on our drive back to our campsite. We came back earlier than yesterday so the kids could spend some time around the camp playing and exploring.

Abby built her very own log cabin and is doing her Vanna White pose for me.

Abby found this bird's nest and just had to take it home (it was abandoned). It now sits in our ever-growing nature corner at home.

We finished off the day with S' least Abby did. I only ate the chocolate, Daddy only ate the toasted marshmallow, and Ryan ate what we call "Smoes" (from the movie Toy Story), just graham crackers sandwiching a chocolate bar and not toasted. Each to his own, I guess!

I had to get a picture of the sign that greeted us when we arrived warning about bears. This is the first time we've camped in bear country, and it was a little unnerving. We tried to cover the sign before Ryan saw it, but it was too late (man, that kid can read fast!). Thankfully, we were able to allay his fears. We noticed a barbed wire fence completely surrounding the campground as well as several cattle guards (don't know if they keep bears out or not, but it made him feel better). Thankfully, the most dangerous wild life we saw were a couple of pronghorn antelope who took off at the first sight of us.

Our final night was just the perfect temperature for camping, and in the morning we ate breakfast, packed up camp, and made the long journey home. We had a fantastic time! In fact, we've decided to come back next month to the third unit that we didn't get a chance to see this trip.

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