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John Day church, fossil beds, and painted hills

We received a tip not to miss the painted hills of John Day, so we headed that direction. We got in on a Saturday night, so we picked a church for Sunday by guessing (small town=no websites). The entire town was smaller than the last church we visited, so we knew it would be small. We chose Cornerstone Community Church, which appeared to be in some sort of little old factory, and indeed it was! We took a crickety elevator to the second floor (as the very helpful signage said - more churches need good signage!) and were greeted by very friendly people and a neat setup. We really enjoyed the service and even met some homeschooling parents, and the parents of someone who runs an RVing site we link to, RVThereYet. Very good Sunday.
After church, we were off to the John Day Fossil Beds. There was a Jr. Ranger program and a Jr. Paleontologist one (that the kids started at the Hagerman fossil bed visitor center) at the Sheep Rock location, so we went there first. Those were very challenging and we all learned a lot! Then Allen spotted pictures of a short hike through a gorgeous canyon nearby, so despite the temperature (97F!) we took off. And despite the temperature, we enjoyed it!
Then we made our way to the John Day Painted Hills location and wow! They were beautiful, and just tucked back so you couldn't see them until you take the short drive through them. The photos just don't do them justice. You have to see it yourself, next time you're in John Day, Oregon.
Now, what you're all wondering (well we were) is who was John Day? There's John Day, Dayville, John Day River, John Day Fossil Beds, etc. Did he discover gold? We did learn that most of the gold in Oregon was indeed discovered here in this county. But no, he was a fur trapper who was robbed near the river. So they named the river after him, then the other things were named after the river. Oddly uninteresting, or at least not as interesting as we'd imagined.

More pics of course...


Man, I imagined a much more exciting story for John Day. I am glad you went to see the Painted Hills. We were both wondering if it would be worth the drive...and then we got there. Yep, worth it. I still can't believe we have something that beautiful! Enjoy the rest of Oregon. Can't wait until you get to Portland!