ok, well, technically, the fossil beds weren’t a volcano, but merely formed as a result of a volcano’s activity, but for my purposes, it counts.

i made my way from the Sheep Rock installation of the fossil beds over to the Painted Hill portion. i hoped it would live up to its name. it did.

once again we had a low-effort, high scenery payoff scenario. i did the most strenuous hike the park had to offer, and at a WHOPPING 3/4 mile, well… you can imagine my state of exhaustion. actually, after so much time in the car, it was nice to get out and sweat a little, i just wish i’d been able to sweat a little more.

here we also see the first instance of a phenomenon which persisted throughout the trip: i only wanted to steal rocks from places that told me not to take any. why is this? i said before; not really a big fan of rocks. haven’t got much use for em. hodie LOVES rocks, but i had other souveniers in mind for her… i guess there’s nothing so tempting as what you ain’t supposed to have. even when you really don’t want it mostly.

i also tried my hand at some art photography. i have always been fascinated by photos, and really wish i was a better photographer myself, but faced with the efforts of my friend Lyza who’s work pretty much leaves me breathless, i always end up taking crap. i mean, snapshots are one thing, photographs are something else entirely. however, i was actually pretty pleased with this one: so, maybe there’s hope for me yet. though, i do think it’s crooked a bit…

after the fossil beds it was back to Prineville for Arctic Circle. where i was DELIGHTED to discover, they were selling fry sauce in a bottle. this = awesome. fed and equipped with as much fry sauce as i could justifiably purchase* i hit the road again.

now, at this point i was sort of adrift. getting so far ahead of schedule meant the place i had intended to camp the second night was really impractical. i had expected the fossil beds to take all day (nowhere close) and that i’d be ready to camp right after. as it was, i needed a new plan. so. i whipped out my trusty new Benchmark® recreation atlas (as reccommended by the Pencils) and looked over my options. turned out just south of Bend i could see the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. more scenery of volcanic origin! how could i pass that up!?!

i could not.  so i didn’t. here is a photo of the crater, just to prove it.

camping that night was the campy-est camping i did. in the sense that i had a fire (yay) and cooked over it. i made fried potatoes with bacons and onions. which i then proceeded to smother in fry sauce. hells yeah. i also sat by the fire and played the guitar. which made me feel campy too. however i was almost immediately put to silence by the people in the camp a few sites over who were also feeling musical and thus WHIPPED OUT A SET OF BAGPIPES. for reals. it was actually pretty wicked. the sound just echoed off the hillside and resonated off the lake.  then i walked down to the lakeside and watched a pinksky sunset. was very lovely. sleep thereafter.

NEXT: The Best Vacation Day EVER!