On the drive home today from Sisters, I decided to take a side trip and drive over to the Painted Hills of Oregon. The Painted Hills are one of three units of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and I have always wanted to see them, so I decided it was about time to!
According to some of the interpretive signs, the hills are inhospitable to plants. The surface clay particles absorb rain water so well and hold water so tightly most plants cannot draw it out. Interesting, huh?
I was a little worried when I stopped at the Painted Hills Unit because it had been raining most of the morning, but since it dropped off to a light sprinkle I figure that I should take a chance. I had heard that the hills are more pastel than vivid colored, but was I ever surprised! The hills were so amazing! According to one interpretive sign, "The colors of the Painted Hills constantly change. After rain fall, the hills darken greatly from their normal color." So even though the sky was a dull grey, the hills were really vivid and bursting with color.
I managed to make it to all the trails in the Painted Hills unit, but I can't post all of the photos (that would be too many) so here are my favorites. And yes, this is still a lot of photos! Also, thank goodness for self timers on cameras, because I was able to snap some photos of myself and the hills!
(You can click on the photos to make them larger.)