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05/30/12 - Smith Rock and the Monkey Head

With all the rain coming in from the coast, we gave up on exploring the hills and concentrated on river valleys to the east. Smith Rock along the Crooked River is a popular rock climbing site and noted for a particularly challenging formation known as the Monkey's Head. Needless to say, we stuck to the hiking trails.

From the parking area overlook, the river valley almost looked like one of those train track models with its dramatic cliffs and the snaking river below. We could even hear a train whistle, but the actual train was miles away and not down by the river. The rock walls were fantastic in the sense of being something from a fantasy. The setting seemed an isolated world within a world, a secret canyon hidden from the flat land above.

The amazing view from the overlook

Canyon walls

More canyons

The sunradish, Oregon's unoffical state plant

Even more tantalyzing canyon walls

Rock climbers probably dream about this kind of thing

You can see the shadow of the Monkey's Head on the canyon wall here.

The Crooked River

Another view, right out of a technicolor western

Keywords: oregon