Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Redmond, Oregon

We stayed at the River Rim RV Park and this was one of our views sitting on top of the butte.  The river below is the Crooked Creek.

This is the Crooked Creek Golf Course at Crooked Creek Ranch. Very green and beautiful and it was nestled on the second level of the plateau.  Part of the golf course was next to our RV Park and some of the holes were actually near the rim.  This picture was taken from the highest area of the rim. 
While in this area, we visited several state and federal parks including the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.  We also had fun hiking the trails along the many rivers and seeing the beautiful mountains in the area.  Not far from our park was the Smith Rock State Park.

This is Smith Rock and we hiked to the top of it.

Running through the rocks is the Crooked Creek.

A view from the top.  The area is very popular with rock climbers and they said on the weekends there were hundreds of them climbing.

This is the aptly named Monkey Face.  He gets climbed, too.

Another great view of the area.

Along the path there were stretchers and crutches to be used for any climbers that are injured.

We saw several climbers while we were there.  These guys were climbing on a beginner's rock face with instructors below.

If you look closely you can see the switchback trail used to climb to the top.

And here we are at the top......just to prove we really did it. That's the back side of Monkey Face behind us.

We also spent some time in Steelhead Falls State Park.

The Deschutes River runs through the park.

The walls of the butte were behind us.

A mule deer watching us on the other side of the river.

Steelhead Falls was beautiful and really active.

The highlight of the stay was probably the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument - Painted Hills Unit.  John Day was a member of the Astor Expedition who trekked overland to the mouth of the Columbia River. The colorful layers were deposited 33 million years ago from ash flow and lava. About 5 million years ago the land building slowed and erosion cut down into the previous layers resulting in the landscape we see today.

We think this one looks like the foot of a prehistoric creature.  Look at all those toes.
Over time, natural processes changed the ash fall into benonite, a type of clay which enlarges as it absorbs moisture.  When drying, the clay contracts and breaks up giving the surface a popcorn like appearance.

 Nothing can grow in this area because the clay soil holds the water so tightly.

Beneath the surface, the soil is hardpan which is impenetrable to plant roots. 

Poor nutrient conditions, and hot, dry summers keep the Painted Hills barren.

The colors of the Painted Hills constantly change. After light rain, the hills darken from their normal color.  During wet periods, the clay absorbs so much water they saturate.  The clay then expands and seals the surface of the hills, causing more light to be reflected and changing the red and yellows to pastel pink and gold.

Isn't this unreal.......

There is a river through the area and we did see farming operations but it is still extremely remote.  The closed town to the Painted Hills is Mitchell, the county seat.

We took a drive into Mitchell to check it out, population 175.

Downtown Mitchell.

One of their stores.

The next closest town is Prineville, but it is 47 miles away through the Ochoco Mountains.  A beautiful drive, but then it wasn't in the winter.

We also drove to Sisters, Oregon, which is nestled below the Three Sisters Mountains.  From right to left, Faith, Hope, and Charity. 

Sunset from our campsite with Mt Jefferson in the background.  Wow!

After an enjoyable stay in the Redmond area, we are heading next to Hood River and the Columbia River Gorge.  Can't wait to see it.  Peace!

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