Upon leaving the Clarno Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, I headed into the quiet small town of Fossil, Oregon. You know you are in quite the rural areas of a state when a town like this hosts the county seat with a very pretty county courthouse building, and Wheeler County is well represented (courthouses will be covered in a later post!).
The Painted Hills Unit is by far the most famous area of
the monument and it is indeed spectacular with scene
ry. First up I spent over an hour hiking the short Overlook Trail area to enjoy the "famous view" into the main larger region of the painted hills. I then returned here for more photography as the sun set - after a lot of earlier clouds and showers I was fortunate to have the sky clear out nicely these last four hours of the day!
Grand color comes from the ancient volcanic activity of the region, ash fall, mud flows, you name it. Being I was here on a Sunday evening the area was virtually my own national monument as I only saw a very few groups of travelers and I believe I was the only one who appeared to be 'a photographer' and not just stopping to take a fast photo out the car window.
Another attraction in the Painted Hills Unit is the Painted Cove area, and for that I'll save for its own entry as it was fascinating to be able to get up close to the geology of this area there!