Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Journey Through Time

When ever the words National Recreation Monument are attached to a name you know something spectacular awaits you.  Sometimes, you have to wade through a throng of tourists, in other remote locations you feels as if you are seeing something magical as if it were being seen for the first time.

If you are ever in the north-central part of Oregon.  the John Day Recreational Area is definitely a must see.

There are Three main areas and we were able to visit two of the areas the Sheep Rock Fossil Beds and the Painted Hills.  We will have to see the Clarno Fossil Beds (shown on the map above the Painted Hills) on another trip although we heard great things about that area.

We started out day well rested having stayed the night in another historic town of Prairie City.  We stayed in the Prairie City Hotel (built in 1910) snuggled in richly comfy beds.

Prairie city Hotel - our room, was upstairs on  the right hand corner 
 The local coffee barista  was closed when we arrived at 9:00 AM, so we started out on our journey without coffee!!  A real stretch for me, but what choice did I have!!
We traveled through some mountains and ranch land so I was able to get some pictures of the local ranches and homesteads which I dearly love.

What a beautiful scene with the cattle feeding along the stream....... This is the life.

This old ranch house roof  had collapsed inside of the building making nosing around impossible.
Notice the window panes still in some of the windows.

This log barn looks like it might still be in use.

Dayville is the last little town before Sheep Rock

Leaving the hills, trees and ranches behind we pick up the Oregon Scenic Byway.... Journey Through Time and wind through this canyon on our way to the Sheep Rock Interpretive Center of the John Day Fossil Beds.
Tree Fossil at the Sheep Rock Fossil Center 40-45 million years old

The Thomas Condon  Paleontology Center allows you to view a working paleontology laboratory with both fossils of the area and Paleontologists as they uncover fossils in rocks brought to the center. 

Paleontologists Seek fossil at a time.

On from the center are a number of vistas that allow the hiker or non-hiker to view the Blue Rock area.  I was puzzled as the rocks looked very green to me.  But it is possible that the colors varies by the time of day and light intensity.  Here are some of the areas that I hiked that day....  
Now I ask you.... Do these cliffs look Blue to you?
This region is called the Blue Basin

Blue Basin Trail,  1mile trail, 600 ft climb - whew!

Island in time Trail 1 mile round trip

Replica of sea turtle fossil shown in place where it was found

Cathedral Rock  is viewable from the road - a nice reprieve
                                                                In the  Foree Area

Flood of Fire Trail 1/4 mile trail
The Flood of fire is found in a series of nondescript hills (seen in the distance) shown only when erosion expose the layer upon layer of flooding molten rock.

The Story in Stone Trail is an easy 1/4 mile trail showing differing erosion patterns and touch exhibits with replica fossils

I must remember to take time to eat..... a tailgate dinner by the river at the town of Spray

A day of Exploration.....A day of Exhilaration.....A day of Exhaustion......


  1. Love that area. We enjoyed exploring John Day Fossil Beds quite a few years ago. Glad you took the time to check it out.

  2. I'm sorry I missed that area the last time I was in Oregon. :(

  3. What a great day you had! No wonder you are exhausted. I'm book marking this post for my Oregon file. Looks like a do not miss to me!