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John Day Fossil Bed (Clarno Unit)

It’s hard to believe in an area that is just grass, rocks, sagebrush and juniper was once a subtropical rainforest. The area 18 miles west of Fossil, Oregon, was that. Then, about 44 million years ago, volcanic eruption claimed to even make the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption “puny” forever changed the landscape. The record was etched in stone.

The “recorded” history is found at the John Day Fossil Beds Clarno Unit. The Clarno Unit is one of the three John Day Fossil Beds National Monument locations (also Painted Hills and Sheep Rock units).

Three trail systems travel within the Clarno Unit. The Geological Time Trail starts with the earliest event at the west and works its way to more recent events at the east, ending at the picnic area. Trails of Fossils is west of the picnic area, making a loop to each fossil feature. Clarno Arch Trail leads up along the slope to a fossil tree and a naturally formed arch.

John Day Fossil Bed (Clarno)

Can you find the leaf in the boulder in the image above?

It’s amazing that nature has a way of “recording” past events, such as fossilizing plants and animals. To see what it is today, a desert environment with cows grazing in pastures, imagine this area some incredible carnivorous animals inhabiting the subtropical rainforest at the time.

John Day Fossil Bed (Clarno)

Plan on spending about an hour or two at the Clarno Unit. The picnic ground has sheltered tables, vault toilet, and drinking water. There is no fee to visit.

West Cascades Scenic Byway

West Cascades Scenic Byway

The backroads are great for going out exploring remote areas. One of my favorite backroads is the West Cascades Scenic Byway. The 220-mile remote backroad meanders through the northern half of the Oregon Cascades between Estacada and Westfir through Mt. Hood and Willamette National Forest.

For the sake of this post, I broke it down into three segments. The first segement is one I frequent: Estacada to Detroit. This route follows the Clackamas River on Clackamas River Highway (Ore. Hwy. 224 and Forest Road 46) in Mt. Hood and Willamette National Forest. I’ve been on this segment many time for heading to Bend, McKenzie Pass, and Detroit.

Sahalie Falls.
Sahalie Falls.

The second segment is Detroit to Rainbow. I should consider that second segment from Detroit to McKenzie Pass Highway (Ore. 242), which is an another highway that I frequent. This segment follows the upper Santiam River along Ore. 242 then the upper McKenzie River along Ore. 126, including Sahalie Falls.

The third segment between Rainbow and Westfir (Ore. Hwy. 58) follows mostly South Fork of McKenzie River, which passes Cougar Dam and Cougar Reservoir, Box Canyon, and Landis Cabin along Aufderheide Drive (Forest Road 19).

Not much has changed since my last trip back in September 2011. Detroit Lake looked fuller. Cougar Reservoir looked lower. I still had lunch at Marion Forks Restaurant.

The real disappointment that stood out the most was the huge interpretive sign erected next to Landis Cabin that significantly ruins the photographic scene. Apparently, some improvements have been done to Office Covered Bridge in Westfir.

West Cascade Scenic Byway is open during late spring to early winter. Forest Service roads are not maintained for winter conditions. Check with the local Forest Service office on the conditions or closures from slides or fires. Estacada, Detroit, Rainbow, and Oakridge have a gas station, with the greatest distance without service is 70 miles.

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Karin Power for House 41

Power Campaign Kickoff Party

There is no better way to spend a Sunday morning at a political campaign than enjoying some morning mimosa and exotic cheese at the wine bar.

Karin Power. (Photo: Bryan J. Dorr/BJDorr.com)
Karin Power. (Photo: Bryan J. Dorr/BJDorr.com)

This morning at Wine:30, Karin Power, a Milwaukie city councilor, kicked off her election campaign for her run at Oregon House District 41.

Kathleen Taylor, who is currently representing Oregon House District 41, opened the campaign celebration with an introduction. Taylor is stepping down from House District 41 to run for Oregon Senate District 21 to replace retiring Diane Rosenbaum.

Power already has my endorsement from the May primaries and continues to do so through the general elections in November.

If Power is elected to House, she will vacate her Milwaukie city council seat at the end of December. Milwaukie City Council will appoint a counselor until a special election is held to elect a person to serve the remainder of Power’s term to the end of 2018.

I’ve been asked many times to run for Milwaukie City Council and I have declined in the past and will decline again for 2016 general elections and council appointments.

Why do I want Karin Power for Oregon House District 41?

Karin has been an excellent leader in Milwaukie. We have seen some major improvements in walkability, bicycling, and livability within the city, and new projects underway.

Now, moving onto some of the much larger issues in Oregon that still need more work: education, government accountability, housing, environment, and equality.

Then there are the -safety issues, too. Oil trains for one, like the one that derailed and caught fire in Mosier, Oregon, on Friday, is a great concern. Karin know this concern for being in Milwaukie where trains transport crude oil past residential homes, businesses, and along light rail line. Oil trains are worse than coal trains.

I am supporting Karin for Oregon House District 41.

For more information or to make a contribution to Karin Power’s campaign, visit www.KarinPower.com.