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Walton Lake and Painted Hills


After we left Detroit Lake we met up with Tiffani and Deke over at Walton Lake Campground in the Ochoco National Forest in Central Oregon. This is a gorgeous little lake with campsites on both sides. There are no hookups (and only a tiny bit of Verizon service).

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We arrived first and did a couple loops around the campground looking for spots. There were a couple of spots (not together) that looked potentially not occupied or reserved and just as we were trying to decide what to do, the camp host lady drove up in her little car:

Camp Host Lady: Are you looking for a campsite?

Us:  Yes, we're actually looking for two sites, for two nights…our friends are meeting us here. 

Camp Host Lady: Well, I'll tell you what. Why do you go park over in the small group site, and I'll just charge you the $15 per night same as everyone else, instead of the $100 a night that site is normally. There's plenty of room, but just one fire ring, and if I need to put someone else over there I may have to do that. If that's okay with you, you're welcome to have it.

Us: That's fine with us…we're friendly! Thank you so much!

We set up camp and pretty soon Tiffani and Deke arrived and it was a perfect spot. I mean, it wasn't on the lake or anything, but weekend campers without reservations can't be choosers, right?



Pretty sweet! We set up the Traeger(s) and the hammock(s) and the chairs(s) and we were ready to get to some serious lounging and visiting!


Tiffani and Deke (and Lucy) making fire while Kevin swings in a hammock:


Walking the trail around Walton Lake:



On Saturday after a delicious iron skillet breakfast prepared by Deke, we headed out to check out the town of Michell, Oregon, and the Painted Hills. Mitchell is tiny and most of it is in this one photo:


We went in "Judy's Place" and Tiffani found a tiny pair of salt and pepper shakers that said Mitchell, OR on them:


Check out the paint surface of this place:



Arty sidewalk shadow:


And here's the obligatory photo of the "Whole in the Wall" curiosity shop that is never open and is owned by the trust of someone who's long gone. Apparently the city wants to tear it down, but one local told us it's really what Mitchell is known for and they can't tear it down!


Kevin was getting gas while we were looking at junk antiques and had a fabulous story to bring back along with his gas. (Regular was $4.19/gallon)

Kevin (making small talk): Gas prices going up or own these days?

Old guy selling the gas (with grumpy old man tone): Up. Always Up.

After the 4 minutes it took for us to see all of Mitchell, we headed into the Painted Hills


This place is pretty spectacular. We did the short hike out to the overlook:



Next we drove a little further to another trail (this one quite short, partially on boardwalk where you could get up close but not too close to the brightly colored hills):


Here's what that texture looks like close up:


And see this lavendar part in the foreground here? That part is rhyolite flow and it's 40 MILLION YEARS OLD!!! (Shh, we touched it.):


Reds and golds:


Another freaky shot of the path:


Pretty neat! We headed back to camp after oooohing and aaaahing our way through Painted Hills and once back, we decided to get our bikes out and ride around the lake.


It was a short ride, but still it led straight to some hammock time. Here's my view from the hammock:



We read books and magazines and made fire and good conversation and enjoyed our afternoon and evening very much. We cooked a feast for dinner:  tenderloins, seared scallops, pork chops, asparagus, and baked potatoes (we had leftovers, of course).

In the morning, we all headed to Redmond and then waved and honked as Tiffani and Deke headed for Bend and we headed back to Portland. I didn't tear up at all. (Total lie.)


We meet so many people while we're traveling around the country the way we do, but it feels pretty rare to meet people we'll probably be lifelong friends with. We are so grateful our paths crossed with these guys a few years ago when they moved to Seattle. Bon voyage, Tiffani and Deke! We'll see you soon!

Oh yeah, and this thing (!!!!)…a coathook in the ladies room of a mexican restaurant where we had lunch in Sisters, OR:


Kevin says his legs and arm just must have broken off. I checked. I assure you that is not the case. I'll concede this this could have been intentionally modified by an artist/ironworker, but it was not an accident. At all.