Saturday, March 05, 2011

Painted Hills, Oregon

In a word? Stunning. That is one easy way to describe the Painted Hills of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in Eastern Oregon. The summer days are hot and the hiking can be tiring but one look at the gorgeous bands of color running through the hills around you and all your discomfort is forgotten. Part of the John Day Fossil Beds, this outpost shows off the wonders that nature can paint given time, the elements and layer upon layer of different environments becoming buried and then exposed after millenia. The colors in the hills are the result of oxidation of various metals, the different colors show that the surrounding environment went through many changes from plains, to swamp, to rainforest like conditions and each of those introduced a new layer of metals. It is also said that the hills take on a pastel, softer sheen of pinks and golds after a rain - regardless of the weather, the experience is awe-inspiring.

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