Monday, May 26, 2014

Smith Rock

Smith Rock was one of those places that I'd never imagined that I'd see. It is a huge rock formation, located just east of Terrebonne. Millions of years ago, it was an active volcano, but that was during the miocene epoch, when the climate of what is now central Oregon was considered semi-tropical to tropical. It must have been quite a time to observe wildlife and to take glorious pictures but, unfortunately, the camera wasn't invented yet. There were birds weighing as much as 200 pounds flying around in the air. How such a heavy bird was able to stay aloft, I will never know. But they did. There were enormous crocodiles, including a Rhamphosuchus (that could be found in India), that weighed as much as two or three tons. Well, you wouldn't want something like that to sit on your lap, waiting to be petted. In Africa and Eurasia, there were loads of apes and homonids (the forerunners to modern-day humans). Plant life was mostly tall grasses. It was the time when the mountains were forming.
This is a view of Smith Rock and the Crooked River.

As you can see from this picture, the junipers look as if they are growing out of rock.

It's fun to explore the rocks.

The bear wants to get into the act, too.

Two young men who participated in a river exploration challenge.

A couple of Canada geese relax by the river.

A closer view of the Crooked River.
Now, in the 21st century, we can enjoy seeing the mountains. Smith Rock is no longer an active volcano. It is a state park. Rock climbers from all over the world are attracted to Smith Rock.There are several thousand opportunities to climb the rock, and many people take advantage of that opportunity. There are animals and birds to be seen around the rocks and around the Crooked River. The Crooked River is a tributary of the Deschutes River, and the Deschutes River is a tributary of the Columbia River.
Park visitors get ready to experience a climb up the rock face.

Climbing high up the rock.

Learning how to climb.

... one step at a time...

Here we go!

Visitors to the park, with their climbing gear
While Philip and I were hiking at Smith Rock, we saw a variety of birds, including magpies and river swallows. Both birds moved too fast to be photographed, at least by Philip and me.Below are a few more views of Smith Rock, the trees in the area, and other interesting features.



This does bear a resemblance to Tweety Bird!



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