A Spring Trip to Sand Spring: Wonderful and Weird #Oregon #Explore

What’s great about 4-wheel drive? When I see a sign to an offbeat place on a dirt road, I can go see what’s there. That was the case when we saw the sign for Sand Spring.

“Well, let’s go see what’s there,” we said.

Not everything is as it’s advertised, but there was actually a spring there.

An unseen spring trickles water to the fenced pond. Sagebrush shrubland borders the pond, and dry forest surrounds the shrubland. It’s a long way to the next drink, so this site draws wildlife like a magnet.

We saw some wildlife that wasn’t so spry.

There was some interesting landscape around it. The ground was pebbly and white, which is different than the usually sandy dirt in the high desert.

Close up, it was even cooler.

 

 

 

Weird and Wild Oregon: Paulina Peak #Explore #Oregon

Paulina Peak is located in the Newberry  National Volcano Monument. Newberry Volcano is a large active shield volcano, and Paulina Peak is the highest point of the Newberry Volcano.

From the top, I can see forever, or so it seems.

The rest of the caldera can be seen from the top: the two lakes, the center cone, and the gray patch is the obsidian flow.

And sunrise from the peak is transcending.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mascall Overlook: Wonderful and Weird Oregon

Oregon is full of volcanic landscapes from different periods in Earth’s history. The Mascall Overlook near John Day, OR, is stunning.

15 million years ago, this was a receding forest being replaced by grasslands. It was populated by horses, camels, and giraffe-deer. Then, as so often happens in Oregon history, a volcano exploded. The upheaval filled the valley with lava and ash and pushed up the plains, creating this unique landscape and capturing the denizens in fossils who weren’t fortunate enough to escape .

Glad we ran across this gem in our wanderings about the state.

 

 

Terminator Pigs of the Badlands: Wonderful and Weird Oregon

Out in Eastern Oregon is the John Day National Monument, a large parcel of desert land rich with fossils and history predating human existence. It is a beautiful place, and one of the fossils they find in the area are entelodonts, also known as ‘Terminator Pigs.’

I love my dinosaurs, but there were some really interesting and gruesome large mammals that walked the Earth as well. These ‘pigs’ were the size of a buffalo, and look at those teeth! Those do no look friendly.

The extent to which they hunted is widely debated, but those teeth weren’t for eating grass. They lived in the forests and on the plains of North America and Eurasia from the late Eocene to middle Miocene epochs (37.2–15.97 million years ago), existing for about 21.23 million years. Their fossils are quite rare, and I find their existence fascinating to ponder.

Here’s what they probably looked like. I wouldn’t have wanted to meet one.