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The Painted Hills

Yesterday I was feeling antsy so I decided to drive to the Painted Hills, a small park in the deserts of central Oregon that features some beautiful geology. It’s about a 4-5 hour drive from Portland, depending on traffic, but well worth the trip, especially if you’re a fan of deserts and history. My GPS showed me two routes: the main route down 26, and the back way up the Gorge and down through the desert.

I, of course, took the back way. I’ve never been one to do things the easy way, and when you stick to the road more traveled you miss all manner of wonders and adventures. Admittedly, during the last half of the journey I was beginning to wonder if my GPS had finally had enough and decided to just do away with me, send me plummeting down some mountain in a whirling ball of fire and ennui, never to be seen again, slowly mummifying in the middle of sun-baked nowhere. In other words, there’s a good couple of miles of very windy, very narrow gravel roads that can make one wonder if you’ll ever see home again. I made it, though, and it was definitely worth it.

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On the way through the desert I found a small local cemetery dating back to the early 1800’s. I’d love to know the story behind this man’s gravestone. It appears that he was not a local favorite.

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Just a local ranch. I couldn’t resist 🙂

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I been past this house on several road trips and every time I have to stop and take more pictures. There’s something about it that captivates. I’d love to know who used to live here.

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Ooooooh how I love rusty old trucks!!!

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After hours of driving, at last I reach the Painted Hills.

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The view from the Overlook is stunning, but stay on the trail. Once you walk across those hills the marks stay for years.

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Drive a little ways past the main parking lot and you reach Painted Cove, where you can explore a short walkway and get a close look at the sediments that make up the hills.

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And across from Painted Cove is another little trail where you can get a good look at this lovely glowing-rusty hill.

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If you have the time I definitely recommend making the trip. Be prepared for heat, however. It was around 97 when I was there, and it will only get hotter as we move into August.