Malheur – A Vacation to Nowhere

My final two years of college I went to Malheur twice.  Once with my Ornithology class and once with my Ecology class.  I completely enjoyed myself and ever since then wanted to take Husband along.  Dwight Kimberly has been leading this trip for too many years to count and knows a ton about the area.  He is retiring next year and we may have child #2 by then so we decided we had to make the this year (we didn’t want to lose that expertise).  So off we went on the vacation to nowhere.  And you know what?  We drove and drove, we ate late, we walked a lot, we learned a lot, and we loved it.  We are such dorks.

Welcome to Eastern Oregon.

The Painted Hills.  They almost glow when the sun is out.

Looking out at the Painted Hills with the students with whom we traveled.

Munchkin enjoyed it, although not for the beauty of the hills – more because she could run amok.

On my first trip here I may have fallen in the John Day river, right at this location.  There are some great hieroglyphics here if you know where to look.  They are tricky to get a picture of though because you have to lean out around some rocks to see them.

Nobody decided to go for a swim this time.

It was cold and gray, the gray being unusual for that area at this time of the year.  We have lots of pictures of the white van we followed more than 1,000 miles in one weekend.  The munchkin was a champ even with so much driving.

Cant Ranch with Sheep Rock in the background.

Our fearless and knowledgeable leader, outstanding in his field.


It was fun to watch people move through the sage.  You could see them so far away.

It was fascinating how the clouds poured over Steens Mountain.

The munchkin felt no fear of going into the “tunnel” (Malheur Cave) whether we came or not.  I really expected her to have more fear.

Looking out.

This cave is still used by the Masons.  It’s a little creepy because of the seating and the dark.  It makes you think of ancient and spooky rituals.  As far as I know the Masons aren’t creepy, but the cave kind of is.

At Diamond Crater, they spotted the hidden bird in this post.

The munchkin needed some help getting over the rocks.

There were Jack Rabbits and Cottontails galore.  We managed to catch one scorpion, saw a paltry few lizards, and no snakes.  Disappointing really.

But I did get cell service…

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