Some of America's most famous paleontologists have explored and collected fossils in these eastern Oregon hills and valleys that are now included in The John Day Fossil Bed National Monument. The scientific work continues even today as new fossils erode and are discovered in the basin walls and the feeling of discovery is palpable.
If you want to meander and try and unravel some history the colorful banded layers deposited here 29 million years ago, there are trail markers along both trails that provide plenty to think about.
Here is one of my favorite passages from a trail marker:
Follow the trail into Blue Basin and you will walk by remnants of deep time. There are memories in Blue Basin of the wonderful history of life; sabertoothed nimravids pouncing at three-toed horses; rhinos and mouse-deer browsing amidst a lush forest of dawn redwoods, maple and alder; lemur-like primates dangling from oaks and elms. The memories come to us in the form of fossils.