Thursday, 15 October 2015

Cheetahs, Tigers, & Camels once roamed Oregon

Painted Hills, it took me four trips to get sun on the hills
Would you believe it?

The John Day fossil beds have uncovered the bones of many extinct animals that roamed the grasslands and forests up to approximately 55 million years ago. The region was home to camels, elephants, three-toed horses, rhinos, cheetahs and tigers, amazing but true.

the first afternoon that we arrived, the sun was out

The John Day fossil beds encompass three units: the Painted Hills, the Clarno and Sheep Rock. We based ourselves near the Painted Hills and did a day trip to Sheep rock.

There are a number of short trails at the Painted Hills and we walked the Carroll Rim trail (1.6 miles), The Painted Hills Overlook Trail (0.5mi) the Red Hill Trail (0.25mi) and the Painted Cove trail (0.25mi). The whole time we were there it was overcast which made getting a photo very difficult. There are signs everywhere asking people not to walk on the hills as they are very delicate and once there are footprints they don't fade. But of course there are many many people who either can't read or don't care. It's a shame. The surface looks like a popcorn ceiling, maybe this is where they got the idea.

We gave up waiting for a sunny day and drove to Sheep Rock anyway, which is about 45 miles away. This is where the Paleontology Centre is located. Inside is a fossil museum gallery which has been very well done, it explains about all the animal fossils found in the area. This isn't the age of the dinosaurs, this is about mammals.

the Blue Basin

About two miles up the road is the Blue Basin Area. A man must have named this as it is more green than blue. When we play Monopoly Deal, it's the men who get the powder blue and powder green colours of the properties mixed up; they think they are the same, so I think it's a colour blindness. Even the crystals that we walked on were a definite green. And even Lindsay said I wonder what makes it green. So that's settled it's the Green Basin. There are two walks in the area - the 3-mile overlook trail that climbs 780ft and a one mile trail that leads you into the middle of the basin. We did both with a break for lunch in between.

Three miles long, 750ft up
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