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Yesterday in Idaho, today in Oregon. Sunrise and moonset, viewed from a large open area west of Sparta, where the land feels almost like an ocean to our little vessel, Cristobal I.
East of the historical town of Baker City, Highway 86 runs parallel to the snow-caps of Vinegar Hill and Dixie Butte in Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.
On Highway 7, one of the many ranch entrances found between the ghost town of Whitney and Mount Vernon.
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument assembles three sites. Here at Sheep Rock Unit, the visitor center, which is surrounded by tall sagebrush, hosts a world-class collection of fossils, 15 to 37 million years old. Volcanic ashes and lava flows trapped mammals such as camels, bear-dogs, horses and cats.
A quite spectacular feature of the Sheep Rock Unit in John Day National Monument is Blue Basin, the eroded version of the above-mentioned sagebrush-covered landscape.
Past Mitchell on Highway 26, we turned north in the direction of Shaniko, and came to this lovely introduction to the Painted Hills further ahead.
The Painted Hills Unit of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument was formed by an ancient river flood plain where each color corresponds to a different mineral component: shale, lignite, laterite, bentonite for grey, black, red and green.
What started as a peaceful and sunny afternoon ride in Newberry Volcanic National Monument...
...was turned by rising elevation and an abrupt change of weather into one scary exercise for Cristobal due to its dual rear wheels.
So why not continue the experience around an almost perfectly circular Crater Lake and enjoy its 590 meter deep intensely blue waters sitting at 1890 meters of elevation? This 10 km diameter lake is graced with two volcanic secondary cones.