Road Trip > John Day River > Bliss

by Rainbow Bobbins

Formations along the south section of the John Day River

Secluded sanctuary. The elements came together for another amazing trip to the John Day River over 4th of July weekend. It was hot, the river was flowing and we were practically alone on the water. We camped at Bear Hollow near Fossil, OR on Saturday and woke early to pack up the raft and float north from the Twickenham launch.

Sunset in the valley

Paddle Master

It was a peaceful float with small, manageable rapids. Buck Owens, Tecates, blue skies, a swimming snake.  The John Day cuts past some amazing formations. Some of the rocks around here are more than 225 million years old. According to the Oregon Paleo Lands Institute, the area was once dotted with tropical volcanoes. Evidence of saber tooth cats, ancient marine reptiles and small 3 toed horses have been uncovered.

Neat-o. What is that formation called?

After 5 hours and 18 river miles we pulled over to a secluded beach with hiking trails that climbed up basalt structures and overlooked the river and valley. We set up camp under a couple of juniper trees next to an active colony of swallows with nests tucked into basalt columns. I was attacked by a cactus. At night we saw the milky way.

Two of these got me. They jump.

Camp at Dusk

Sun glare above camp

Cowboy SunSilo

In the morning we woke with the sun rise and heard a droning noise. Out from the western valley something approached from the sky. It was red, white and blue…It had wheels, a parachute, and a fan. The pilot flew by, did a couple tricks and disappeared to the east. We shot some video – I post when its edited. After coffee and oatmeal cookies we packed up the raft and relaxed along the slower 12 river miles that took us to Clarno.

Good morning river

Lewis and Clark revisited