Saturday, October 25, 2008

Weekend trip - Saturday

On Saturday morning I poured myself out of bed, desperately seeking caffeine. I had slept with the octopus. -When I get more sleep, I call him Dylan. Who knew one small boy could move around so much while seeming to be fast asleep?

Once we topped off our tanks, we headed out for the day's adventures. First up was Stein's Pillar. Millions of years ago this was the molten inside of a volcano. Over the years the outside eroded away, leaving the basalt core sticking up from the surrounding mountain. It's 350 feet tall and 120 feet wide - even bigger than it looks in the picture. I was expecting something like Devil's Tower, which dwarfs this, but this was pretty cool.

Next, we headed for the first rock site of the day. We were better prepared than the night before with our GPS - coordinates already entered. I'm so glad Devin is kind-of techie, because I hate things like that, even though he got the unit for me so we could go geocaching.

On the way there, we stopped at Bandit Springs. Supposedly Oregon's biggest Ponderosa is located here. AND, much more fascinating for the boys, there are the skeletons of six horses left tied to a log by bandits who never returned for them. We found neither of these things although there was a large stump where the tree was supposed to be located. At this point, I'm starting to think this trip is cursed.

The site we were headed to was literally in the middle of nowhere. There wasn't a single building to be seen for miles and neither of our cell phones had any coverage for most of the day. Without a GPS we would have been hopelessly lost. The road was listed as maintained. We began questioning the definition of maintained as we tried to avoid the 2 feet deep ruts while branches scraped the sides of my six-month-old minivan. On the plus side, we were thankful we hadn't even attempted to go to a site where 4x4 vehicles were officially recommended. We finally did find the location and piled out to find the promised thunder eggs and agates. About two hours later, we left with a handful of tiny agates and no thunder eggs. It wasn't a total loss, though. The boys were thrilled to be allowed to get as dirty as they wanted and then get back in the van without being stripped down to underwear first.

By the time we got back to Prineville, it was about 3:00 and we still hadn't had lunch, although we always travel with snacks, so the boys weren't doing any Omen reenactments just yet. We stopped for fast food to eat in the car on our way to the final stop for the day. I have to say that this was the most beautiful drive of the whole trip. It was along a river canyon and there was just enough green to make you really appreciate it where it appeared. The light was soft but sunny and the colors in the rocks were just amazing. I'm sorry I don't have any pictures to share, but Devin was focused on reaching our destination and wouldn't stop. He promised to stop on the way back, but of course it was dark by then. We parked and started the climb to the top of the mesa where we were supposed to find petrified wood, agates, and calcite. I found one small piece of petrified wood on the way up and Devin found a large agate. The boys had better luck, both finding lots of agates and Dylan finding a couple pieces of petrified wood. It was quite a climb. This is from the top of the mesa, looking steeply downward. That tiny dot in the upper right corner of the picture is our van. Although we didn't find anything noteworthy on top of the mesa, it was beautiful. I enjoyed just walking around and looking at these twisted, weathered excuses for trees. The textures were amazing!

For the boys, the high point of the entire day came when we were ready to get back in the van and drive back to town. Dylan found, wonder of wonders, bullet casings! The boys quickly collected all they could find and were disappointed when we told them they could only take 5 each. After all, if we take them all, what would that leave for all the unfortunate children who come after us?

1 comment:

Barb said...

You always do the coolest stuff! And I had to zoom in on the pic of Dylan to see if I was really seeing his Alafia Aligators shirt!