Exploring Eastern Oregon

After discovering that skiing simply isn’t going to work at this point in my recovery period, I was struck Monday with an obvious question I haven’t faced in quite some time- I was at Starbucks in downtown Bend at noon, and had nothing to do.  Holy shit.  After a moment of shear panic, the smile crept across my face, and I sorted through some options.  I went back to Smith and bouldered until I figured it out.  I needed to clean out my car and re-organize, I needed some solo time to clear my head, and my hands weren’t going to survive another consecutive day of climbing.  Rolling out of Smith, the bivy site was full fo screaming kids (on a Monday night, WTF?), and was no place to re-organize my car.  I’ve always told myself I wanted to see the Painted Hills unit of John Day National Monument so I rolled east towards Prineville.  It rained.  It snowed. I started to begrudge my decision.  I didn’t want to camp in the snow.  I didn’t intend to drive all the way to the Painted Hills on Monday night, but didn’t find any obvious camping before then.  Found a horsecamp on the approach road to the park and crashed hard.

Stuff doesn't fit so pretty after a few days on the road.

So often I’ve headed to Smith to climb, and never loked any further east.  Why, when there was so much climbing to be done on the familiar cliffs?  Why not, when I had no clue how beautiful the road would get just by taking a day to head out past Prineville?  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves (I decided that posting the photos and entry soon enough to be relevant was more important than getting the photos in the right order):

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I had a funny argument with myself on this little side trip- should I be burning more gas, when I’m not going climbing?  Should I be spending more money when what I’m doing isn’t directly related to my plans at large?  Posting these questions here, the answer seems laughably obvious.  This trip is about being spontaneous.  It is about seeing the places that I’ve never taken time to see.  It is about allowing myself to wander, to find what is there for the finding, but that we never allow ourselves to see.  It is about pushing my boundaries, and challenge the notion of what I believe the extents of my universe should be.  I wanted to highlight a few photos that illustrate the sentiment:

I love open country.

When you aren't sure where to go next, further is usually the right answer.

It’s actually been difficult to let myself just go… yes that’s it, just let myself go, where-ever it is that the road seems to take me.  But I think I’m starting to figure that out, and it sure feels fun.

” Follow your heart, you’ll never go wrong.”  – Dustin.

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