John Day Fossil Beds

I was going through yet another hard disk of photos to find an appropriate “timeline” image for Facebook.   Had a lot of fond memories of a geology-themed vacation through southern Washington and central Oregon.  The first stop was at Mt. St. Helens, home of the ‘sploded volcano from 1981:

Mt. St. Helens
Mt. St. Helens - needs a little TLC

Very close by is Ape Caves, a really long, dark lava tube you can go in.  We walked the south (easier) segment.  I wanted to extend the trip to the north end with my more adventurous, younger daughter.  We went about 500′ into the section before coming to a huge pile of rocks we’d need to climb over (and then back) — great stopping point.

Ape Caves lava tubes
Ape Caves lava tube

After a day there, we took a rest stop near Hood River, OR.  On the Washington side, near Marysville, is a replica of Stonehenge.  It was completed in 1929 to commemorate the military personnel who died in World War I.  I am… completely missing the correlation, too.

Stonehenge - Marysville, WA>
Stonehenge - Marysville, WA.

Though our next destination was Bend, we had received a great suggestion from Deena and Chris to stop at the Richardson Rock Ranch to dig for thunder eggs.  There are multiple beds of different levels of difficulty.  Here, we’re doing the easiest ones.  It gets pretty hot.

Thundereggs at Richardson Rock Ranch
Thundereggs at Richardson Rock Ranch

After digging for a few hours — which, really, is all you’d want to do because it’s hot and dusty — you can bring them to the shop to be cut in half and polished for a fee.

On the way back from bend, we made a spontaneous side trip to John Day Fossil Beds – Painted Hills Unit.  This was awesome.  I want to come back and visit the other two sections.

John Day Fossil Beds - Painted Hills Unit
John Day Fossil Beds - Painted Hills Unit

2 thoughts on “John Day Fossil Beds

  1. Wow, wow, wow! Thanks for posting these great shots. I remember you talking about this trip, and seeing the photos makes me even more jealous. I’ve got to get up there myself some day!

  2. Did you ever get them polished? They’re really fabulous, and you can see DEEP into them, once they’re polished up.

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