High Desert Getaway: Central Oregon

With August starting out giving my husband and I the Middle Finger of Miscarriage, we were definitely relieved to have plans to get out of the city for a few days. Originally planned for four days at an Airbnb studio cabin on a horse ranch in Central Oregon, we ended up only being  there for three days, spending our final day back at home, but I’ll write more as to why on that later. In the meantime, here are some photos that show the beauty I was able to capture during our time in the high desert…

Our first stop was to the ghost town of Shaniko where I hadn’t been since I was 8 or 9 years old, and, well, not much has changed. There are a couple of businesses (general store type places) but with only around 30 people, most is frozen in time from when the rail lines slowed then ended service in the early 20th century. From the old barn containing amazing classic cars covered in dust to the hotel (which was restored then closed, ugh) to the ramshackle old buildings that were once the blacksmith, jail and schoolhouse and more, it’s way cool to wander around and shoot in black and white. Probably my favorite part of our road trip.

Driving from Shaniko through the gorgeous quiet of Central and Eastern Oregon we appreciated the little things, from the dilapidated old barns to the smaller members of the wildlife to the dust our car accumulated in just one day, and the more tremendous things like the Sheep Rock Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds Monument where the blue-green “turtle” strata is hard to believe until you see it with your own eyes.

While it was way too hot for my personal preferences and being this area of the state, there was not exactly a ton of shade to be found, yet the afternoon light and overall textures of the natural environment in the high desert begged for black and white as we enjoyed the shortest of the hikes in the monument.

And, ahhhh…the Painted Hills of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument had us in awe. It was like being on Mars, as my husband aptly described it. Completely understand why it’s been named one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon.

And yes, Ruby had a lovely time! From meeting her first horse to climbing desert trails to leaping streams to relaxing in the shade of the Painted Hills, she is definitely becoming a well traveled Northwest pup.


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