<< The John Day Fossil Beds - Painted Hills

06/01/12 - The John Day Fossil Beds - Sheeprock

We were maybe 90 miles from the nearest gas station when we arrived at Sheeprock. Sheeprock does not look like a sheep. It is a pointy formation which was once noted for being covered with grazing sheep. We made our way to the fossil trail in the Blue Basin. That's not a color problem with our camera. The eroded rock formation we explored really was blue and even bluer up close than it appears in these pictures.

The trail followed a small stream which had carved the basin, so we crossed on steel bridges and saw all sorts of erosion patterns. It is this erosion that reveals the fossils. While we saw signs of fresh erosion, we didn't see any new fossils here. The park service people, we were told, gather them. There were, however, a number of replicas of fossils of an ancient turtle and a sabertooth tiger. To be honest, some of them did indeed look like ancient bones or turtle shell, but others we would have mistaken for mud and rock.

There was a longer trail around the Blue Basin, which supposedly has spectacular views, but we didn't have time to explore it. The John Day Fossil Beds were quite amazing, but also amazingly remote.

Sheeprock aka Mount Pointy

One of the fossil replicas

The trail

One of the many eroded formations

Blue mud

Blue canyons

Blue erosion

More blue

This is one of the many reasons they call it the Blue Basin.

It's like the Grand Canyon, only smaller, and blue.

Did we mention blue?

Keywords: oregon