Fort Rock and Abert Rims

Like a desert mirage, this natural landmark of Fort Rock rises huge out of the barren, immense flatness of Oregon’s high desert. An enormous near-circle of towering jagged rock walls made this a landmark for travelers during the Westward expansion. Hike around the three-sides and you soon realize it’s even bigger than it looks.

Fort Rock

Fort Rock

It’s an old tuff ring in what was a shallow sea in prehistoric times. As we walked around inside,we imagined the early American Indians who used it as a shelter. Sandals found in a nearby cave are the oldest ever discovered, dating back around 9,000-13,000 years.

Glenn climbing up rock

Glenn climbing up rock

Fort Rock is now a state day use park and allows hiking around the base and rock climbing – just no repelling.  Glenn climbed up quite a ways without any ‘proper’ gear.  The other interesting place next to Fork Rock is an old cemetery for the residents of this rural area. As a kid, my dad would drag us into cemeteries to look for ‘family tree’ names.  I hated it then but now I like to go to old cemeteries and look for unusual or quirky head stones.  I included a couple of shots below.

Pretty flat in this part of Eastern Oregon

Pretty flat in this part of Eastern Oregon

Neat honeycomb pattern in rock

Neat honeycomb pattern in rock

 

 

 

On the way to Fort Rock, we passed Abert Rims and Lake Abert .  Lake Abert is Oregon’s only saltwater lake.  It is a large lake –15 miles long and 7 miles wide and mostly just a salt flat unless there has been a lot of snow pack run off or large rainfalls.  The lake is part of the fly way migration pathway.  The rims would be fun to climb up and walk the ridge – all doable because it is on BLM land.

Abert Rims

Abert Rims

Lake Abert - you can see some water

Lake Abert – very shallow and salty

He must have loved his Hamm's beer

He must have loved his Hamm’s beer

sagebrush in cemetery with lichen covered rock

sagebrush in cemetery with lichen covered rock

Quite the epitaph

Quite the epitaph

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