Saturday we headed southeast of Bend to Fort Rock. We crossed over to an even drier area of sagebrush past the pine forests.
Fort Rock is known to have a lot of birds nesting and living on the tall cliffs. We saw Prairie Falcons and Ravens. Lots of Rock Doves were hanging out on the cliff walls too.
Fort Rock is shaped like a horseshoe. In this photo I am on one end of the horseshoe looking across.
From the Oregon State Parks website: "Like a desert mirage, this National Natural Landmark rises huge out of the barren, immense flatness of Oregon's high desert. It's an old tuff ring set in what was a shallow sea in prehistoric times. As you walk around inside, imagine the early American Indians who canoed to and from what was then an island. Sandals found in a nearby cave are the oldest ever discovered, dating back around 9,000-13,000 years."
It was still fairly early in the morning and the lizards were coming out to sun themselves on the rocks.
California Quail and a Jackrabbit
California Quail were perched on may of the wooden fence posts on the road into Fort Rock.
A few families were feeding near this irrigated field.
To give you an idea of the terrain, this is what Fort Rock looks like from a distance, as we made our way back north to Cabin Lake.
We had to travel about 15 miles on a gravel road from Fort Rock to Cabin Lake. Along the way I saw a cluster of butterflies on the road. Was it a mirage? Then I saw it again and I screamed "stop!"
Do you see it? (Oh and by the way, how stupid do we look driving around in the desert with a kayak?!)
Would you like a closer look? (ick warning)
You may or may not have wanted to see this close up. A pile of dung (coyote?) with lots of butterflies on it! After looking online for why, it seems that there are either salts or moisture that they get from the dung. I initially thought it would be moisture that they were needing in this moisture deprived area, but salts makes sense too.
After the butterfly fun we continued to Cabin Lake. Cabin Lake (where there is no lake, in fact the Public Lands Info Center says its a dry lake--oxymoron?) hosts two bird blinds with watering holes for birds and more. Laura had just been there and saw some awesome birds and we were hoping to see some too.
It was nice to see there was an official greeter. More on Cabin Lake next time!