Painted Hills

While Trevor traveled to Ontario for work this past weekend, my (Taylor) dad’s wife Gina also left for Italy, so of course we took the opportunity to spend a little quality time together, which is a bit harder to come by these days and a much welcomed treat! When I was a kid we used to visit the eastern half of the state quite often, so for photographic and nostalgic reasons we headed towards the desert in search of the fabled Painted Hills.

We couldn’t pass up a little canyon/waterfall action and stopped at White River Falls to get a few good morning shots. There’s nothing quite like being able to see the horizon once you pass over Mt.Hood and head toward Maupin. Instead of being mired in a city of clouds (no offense Portland, but seasonal sadness is definitely a thing) we came out below them and to some much needed sunlight.

Being a graphic designer, I spend a lot of time behind screens, under artificial lighting, drinking too much coffee and sitting too often. Don’t get me wrong, design is what I love, and I feel endlessly fortunate to be able to be creative each and every day. However, a little fresh air definitely does the spirit good! Now more than ever, adventuring into nature and exploring new places, even if they’re just in my backyard, has become a major priority and one of the reasons we started this travel and lifestyle journal. These are the memories to hold on to.

We stopped in the little ghost town of Shaniko to grab another coffee (I know, but it’s part of my DNA now) and check out the old car museum – a vintage car lovers dream situated in a ramshackle barn at the far corner of town. Walking through the deserted streets, it was fun to imagine a day when people occupied this tiny town, got ice cream at its oddly ample amount of ice cream parlors, and drove these now glorious, ancient artifacts!

After taking the long way ’round, lunching in Fossil, realizing we were much farther from our destination that we thought, creeping up on wild turkeys, and making a million and one stops to get great shots, we finally made it to the Painted Hills. These pictures don’t do them justice, and you can’t quite tell by looking at them here, but they’ve remained so untouched that their surfaces look soft, almost computer generated. With each passing rain, the darker black minerals seep down into the yellow, creative a watercolor-like pattern. The layers correspond to different geological eras and are the remnants of different soils and plant matter. Truly, it was like walking across another planet. Worth every hour of the 11 hour trip. (You can usually accomplish this trip in 7-8, but we’re overachievers.)


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