The last few years we have made it kind of a tradition to go somewhere for our anniversary. Usually not on our anniversary, since it sometimes lands on Memorial Day and crowdsâ€¦yuckâ€¦.lol Since we’ve been living in OR, we done the Red Woods in CA, taken a portion of the OR coast a couple of years until we got it covered and we’ve done Mt St. Helens.
This year we decided on John National Monuments and we didn’t want to take 26 since we’ve already done that a few times. We took 84 to 97 to 206â€¦..wow. It was so different and so beautiful.
Got to one viewing area and got to see all the peaks including Mt Rainier, which we totally didn’t expect. Saw a bunch of wind farmsâ€¦that was cool.
Since we have gotten our Wrangler, when you take it out on a nice day, other Wrangler owners will wave at you. Just like bikers do, they acknowledge each other. So we’ve been getting use to that, it is pretty cool When we turned off of 84 to go south, there were so few people on the winding roads, very in the middle of no where feeling….really neat. Well, people out there wave at you also as you drive by, I felt like I was back in Germany, where everyone said “Guten Tag” when you passed them
Didn’t do it like we originally plannedâ€¦..it never does work that wayâ€¦.lol But it worked out for the best. We decided to change from the campground we thought we were going to head to the 1st night, because it was an hour & half from each of the 3 John Day Units. We really wanted and needed to hit 2 of the units Tues if we were going to all of them in, because at the 3rd unit, we wanted to do the 4mile hike.
We hit the Clarno Unit around noon Tues, did the small .5 mile hike, saw some really cool plant fossils.
We decided to camp at the Wildcat
It was nice and quietâ€¦..didn’t get to enjoy it to the fullest, since when we go there, we set up a portion of the camp and then headed back out to see The Painted Hills Unit. We thought it would be only about 20min awayâ€¦.nope, more like 50â€¦..lol But we found it and hiked the small .25 mile trail around the very colorful and stunning hills.
Didn’t get back to our campsite until about 7 and only had a few hrs of day light to left, we quickly finished setting up camp and get us some dinner.
The next day we headed to The Sheep Rock Unit. They have a really neat museum with all sorts of fossils. Now when most people think of fossils they think of from the dinosaur age, these are from the age of mammals. The John Day Monuments are considered the best in the world for the age of mammals. People have been researching them for over a hundred years and are still making new discoveries.
Now a weather observation, we live outside of Portland and 75 degrees is very nice. So when you see it on the weather that John Day is 75, you think comfortable. Big mistake….lol It is desert and with direct sun, it is hot. Wow…..lol
We did the small hike of the fossils, then headed for the 3mile loop. (Blue Basin Hike) We’ve found that we like getting the switchbacks up out of the way, instead of using them to come down. To us it’s the hardest part of the hike and we like to get it out of the way first. When we finished the hike, we were happy with that decision.
It was also our first hike with our camelbak packs. They were so much easier then our all day hike packs with camelbak water bottles. They held 100ml and the weight was spread out so much better on our backs. Which really helped with the climb up.
Really enjoyed the hike, like all climbs up….feel like I’m going to die and I curse the gym because that is suppose to help with it and it doesn’t seem to…lol Seriously, I use a climbing treadmill at the gym to help with the up and downs like a hike, I do about 4-5miles of that 5 days a week. Go on a hike and 1/4 mile up about kills me by stealing my breath…ggeezz..
Instead of going home the way we came, we wanted to continue on 26 to 7 and jump on 84 in Baker City. On the way there we found out last camp site of the trip….called Middle Fork Campground
This was the most awesome of sites we’ve ever had….there was 10 campsites and we were the ONLY ones there.Â We had the whole campground to ourselves, only one or two vehicles went by on the road, we had a small, very chilly river, that we used to rinse the hike off and the big bonus, a nice pile of chopped firewood.Â It was a great way to end our last night of camping for our anniversary.
The reason for taking that route home was I’ve never seen that part of Oregon and hubby wanted me to really see the high desert plateau…..where you go from 2k-3k feet in elevation down to 200ft. That was really neat. They had a lot of spots for run away trucks to go off the road. I highly recommend checking it out….unfortunately, wasn’t able to find any links to it.
**I’m trying to get the gallery to work.Â They are posted in my Facebook :