On the second day of our exploration of the John Day Fossil Beds, DH (dear husband) and I took in the Painted Hills. What an amazing site! It is recommended to view these hills after a rain. This is because they are made of clay nuggets and as moisture is absorbed, the colors become deeper. The hills also change hues with the position of the sun.
We were fortunate with the timing because it had rained two days before. The sun was out and the hills were spectacular with their reds, yellows and greens.
From a distance, it looked that they were made of velvet. Walking on the hills are forbidden. The soft clay can hold a footprint for decades. DH and I could see where animals had been frolicking on the hills. Unfortunately, they cannot read the “Keep Off” signs. No vegetation grows on these hills, so we wondered why wild animals would be attracted to scaling these hills.
There was a short walkway that we took to get us up close to the hills. The colors were so vibrant!
The hills are made of loose clay pebbles, creating an unusual texture. If it rains enough, the clay absorbs the moisture and the rough surface becomes smooth and shiny.
There was a nearby hiking trail leading up to the top of a ridge overlooking these vibrant colors. As we started up, DH noted there was a mesa and said that we would probably get to finally see what it is like on top of one of them. I was excited, because we had been speculating for two days what the top of a mesa would be like.
Our three-quarter mile ascent brought us to the top, and this is what we found. There was simply dirt on top of the rocks. I don’t know why I thought it would look like a surface we could skate on.
I’m not complaining. We were rewarded with marvelous views. There was bench that DH and I rested on. We would watch an occasional car drive to the overlook below, make the circle and keep going. I remarked to DH that it was beyond my understanding why these people were not stopping to enjoy the amazing views. DH said that other people just don’t know how to have a good time like we do!
Today is a good day!