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Published: July 19th 2017
Got up early this morning and headed out to Smith Rock State Park. If you are a rock climber you know all about this park. One of its major attractions is Monkey Face. We got up early because we knew it was going to be a long day and we knew our activities were going to be in warm places, so we wanted to get to them as early as possible. Of course, we had to see Smith Rock Park, one of the 7 wonders of Oregon, since we were the Smith sisters. While we were there, we were able to get both the Smith Rock and the Three Sisters Mountains in one picture. Of course, we did a bit of hiking and rock climbing and got lots of pictures. We had to be careful in this area, because it was a rattlesnake area according to the sign.
As we left the park and joined one of the scenic byways, Pam promptly hit a snake in the road and only had to cross one lane to hit it! We stopped for gas in Prineville, where I finally scored and found some fireballs. They
ok, now we all have our ears and eyes open
had a really nice courthouse with a park and a little climbing wall for kids. Apparently, they get them started early on climbing in this area.
We went through a multitude of national forests. After traveling the scenic byway for a good while, we stopped at the Painted Hills National Monument. It was heating up outside. Good thing we left early. We got a trail map from the visitor’s center and headed out on the dirt road through the park. The small mountains look like sand art, using reds, golds, whites, lavenders, grays and streaks of black. It truly looked like someone had used sand to create these. WE drove to the first trail, which we hiked, and loved the views, especially the ones where we could sit on the benches at several prime viewing spots. My favorite was the second trail we took, called the painted cove trail. Even though the trail was much smaller, a boardwalk through it allowed us to walk right next to the mounds and we were even able to take one of our classic shadow pictures with our shadows on the mound. We were that close! I loved the wild sunflowers
that were spotted around the trails, but I didn’t like the sour stink that was of a native plant there. I kept thinking it was one of us, especially since it was now getting really hot! We hiked two more trails. On the final trail, we saw several fossils. We were glad it was our last trail on our last spot for the day, because it was getting scorching hot! Remember this is desert area! Our final stop was at the visitor’s center to have a picnic lunch in the shade and cooler breeze. No wild animals tried to steal my lunch, but a bird did circle the table hoping that we would drop something.
After lunch, we continued on the Oregon Scenic byway and handed towards Ontario. That’s in Oregon, not Canada! We passed through many more state parks. We passed through some fabulous mountains, canyons, rock formations, etc. The farther that we went, the less vegetation we saw. After about the first hour and a half it got really boring, even for the chipmunks. They were playing chicken with the van and several birds were playing kamikaze with us. There was a covered wagon out
in the middle of nowhere. Of course, we had to stop! I was driving down the road and splat! Water is all over the windshield. Or at least we think it’s water. What? Then we see giant irrigation sprinklers that decided to turn on right as we passed. Scared us to death! But the van was happy to get a dab of its dirt washed off. Actually, it was so little that it just made mud on it. A tiny sliver of Eastern Oregon is in Mountain Time Zone. So, we are in Mountain Time Zone now! I didn’t sleep well last night and just lost an hour. Well, next week, we’ll get that hour back, but I sure do miss it now.
So during our boring portion of the drive we learned all about John Day. EVERYTHING around here is named for him. Rivers, towns (multiple towns), roads, buildings, schools, parks, you name it, and he has a name on it. During one of our brief internet connections, Pam googled him and got a long spill. Boy did that dude have an interesting life. Especially when he was robbed of all possession, including his clothes, food,
The Smith Sisters at Smith Rock
shoes, gun,… and had to hike and live on what earth provided until he could get back. The real “Naked and Afraid”.
Tonight, we are staying at a Best Western. All the hotels I’m a member of were sold out. So Yes, we’re paying for tonight’s hotel. How did we go for an entire month last year without having to pay a night and we’re only 5 nights in and we’re having to pay? I told you, I need to up my game. Oh, by the way, Donny and Alex, Mom Mom says to tell you she misses you.
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