Dean M. Chriss
Painted Hills, Clearing Storm
(Click image to enlarge)
After three days of nearly constant heavy rain, it was our last evening at the
Painted Hills. We almost didn't bother going into the national monument that
evening, but I'm glad we did. Just before sunset the sky started clearing,
offering the only glimpse of blue sky we had seen all week.
Three tiny and widely separated units of John Day Fossil Beds National
Monument protect a total of just 14,000 acres of the unique five million
acre John Day Basin. The basin is like nowhere else on the planet but the
vast majority of it is occupied by ranches, farms, and resource extraction
sites that are forever altering the landscape.