My brother and I went with Anders and Molly and Lucy and their families out to Smith Rock in eastern Oregon for the weekend. I'll tell you, that is like the coolest place I've ever been. We camped near the edge of a cliff. I will say, thanks to my slightly BORING PARENTS, I have never been camping before. This was a great place to do it for the first time.
Smith Rock state park is made up almost entirely of basalt and volcano slag. At "ground level", you're already 2800 feet off the ground. Then, add another 700 feet of solid vertical rock and you're getting there. There are two main peaks, Smith Rock and Misery Ridge. (Damned pioneers, coming up with such depressing names...) They both just shoot up. Smith Rock is five hundred ft. high, and Misery Ridge is up at like seven hundred. Most of this is straight up vertical. It's so FREAKING HUGE! I was having serious perspective problems looking at the view. The hill slopes down into a valley, with a river that looks to be about a mile away and 500 feet down from the campsite. It is. Which is why it hurts your brain to then see, just beyond the river, there's a massive rock wall that you have to strain your neck to see the top of. Here's a picture.
It's a big rock climbing attraction. That was one of the reasons we went there, was to climb. Molly and Lucy's dad is 52 but he's an expert rock climber. Me? Acrophobia. We hiked up to one of the climbing walls and I could already see there was no way I was getting up on that. We were high enough up already(that's where this pic was taken) and there was so much vertical space I was starting to tip sideways. My brain was thinking, Which way is up? Every one else climbed, though. If we do this again, I'm gonna try. Conquer your fear! and all that.
There were all kinds of animals in the area as well. The campsite field was positively infested with rabbits. There were lizards everywhere, too. Vultures populated the crags near the peaks, waiting for some climber to fall off, I guess. There were also lots of deer, and a magpie perched on top of our tent at four in the morning yesterday and WOULDN'T SHUT UP. It kept on with its "AAIP! AAIP! AAIP!" And woke everyone up about six times.
It was an awesome trip. I'd write more, but it's late and all the hiking had worn me out. Enjoy the pics. Ten-four. Over.