What I did this week

By reeset / On / In Family

So, with the summer winding down, I decided to take the family for a bit of a vacation – and then took a vacation day on my own with my dad.  Here’s a few pictures of the adventures.

Travelling with the family

Because of my injury this summer, my wife and I have been taking the kids all over Oregon to do a little hiking and exploring some of the real treasures in the state.  This week, we decided to go an look at a few things that you cannot find anywhere but in Oregon – the John Day Fossil Beds and the Painted Hills. 

The John Day Fossil Beds are an incredible treasure in the state.  Its is one of the few places in the world (maybe the only place in the world) that contains fossils from 4 continues eras from around 65 MA – 5 MA.  Because of this, the research done at John Day is often used to check and correlate research done elsewhere in the world.  Aside from being unique – it is incredibly beautiful.  The layers in the rocks represent different eras of lava flow or ash flows.  This creates incredible blues, reds, yellows and greens.  What’s more, fossils basically are just laying on the ground.  Scratch the surface of the ground and you’ll find fossils of plants that haven’t existed in Oregon for millions of years. 

Within the Fossil beds are what are called the painted hills.  These represent some of the oldest geographic layers and are simply brilliant.   Here’s a few pictures:

Picture in the Blue Basin

Research office in the Visitors Center where you can watch them studying collected fossils.

Painted Hills

Painted Hills

Clarno Unit Palisades (Petrified Forest)

Boys finding fossils in Fossil, OR

My mini Vacation – Climbing South Sister

After driving all over eastern Oregon, my wife dropped me off in Bend, Oregon, so I could hitch a ride with my dad to South Sister.  The South Sister is the 3rd highest peak in Oregon at 10,300+ ft.  The trail to the top is non-technical, but difficult.  From the trail head, climbers gain nearly 6000 ft climbing up sharp, and loose volcanic rock.  

Leaving at a little after 7 am this morning, my Dad and I managed to grind our way up the hill in about 4-4 1/2 hours.  And our reward for all the work – nearly 60 mph winds at the top of the mountain that literately nearly blew me off the peak.  So, we decided not to spend much time at the top of the mountain, but did manage to get some great pictures before retreating to a safer area. 

The way down the hill was tricky.  While we were climbing, we didn’t think anything of the loose rocks.  But on the way down, they made coming down a bit more difficult.  Even more so for me since my right arm isn’t anywhere close to 100%.  Fortunately, we made it through the loose stuff, then ran down the rest of the hill.  So coming off the mountain only took about 2 hours, jogging at a brisk pace.  Here are a few of the pictures from the top:

Looking south

Devils Lake (I think)

We were actually really fortunate that we got up and down the mountain when we did.  After getting to the bottom of the trail, we looked up and the top of the mountain was completely covered with clouds.  On Sisters, that’s not a good thing.  Even though the freezing level was likely around 14,000 ft today, it was very likely that anyone still on the mountain had to deal with higher winds, freezing rain and some real nasty weather.  So we really lucked out.