The Fredas Go to the Painted Hills

This weekend, for the first time ever, some of the Freda family cousins went on a road trip. Joey is visiting from Florida, where he is training in the Navy, so we leapt on the chance to get together for a summer adventure.

Representing three different branches of the Freda family, Wyatt, Karen, Joey and I trekked out from Portland to eastern Oregon on my trusty little Honda Hybrid (not the best off-roading car), with a quick stop at the Reed College ski cabin for a filling lunch.

The Painted Hills are a 4-6 hour drive from Portland, and it is a straight shoot- you just take highway 26 all the way out, and it is a beautiful drive. The John Day Memorial Fossil beds are nearby as well, and you can take the breathtaking scenic byway on your way back.

We hiked, forded a slippery river to set up camp, and cooked up nutritious goop for dinner for three days of family fun.

There is no vegetation growing upon the Painted Hills- the hills soak up moisture and the crumbly soil offers little to no grip for root systems to take hold.
Joe the Jokester reads the park labels aloud in a horrific British accent.
Magnificent- striated fleshy hills roll on by.
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Most pictures by Wyatt Freda-Cowie, with some exceptions.
Darlings, and the funny floppy hat.
Oh Bernie.
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Fascinated by the shadows Karen’s hat cast upon her back.
Doofus 1, Doofus 2, Doofus 3.
The cutest poseurs I know. Joey on the left, Karen in the middle, Wyatt on the right.
Two tents with tarps stretched between to ward off the insanely hot sun. We set up a picnic area beneath to nibble on snacks and lunch. We set up near Priest Hole, and had to ferry our belongings across the river to this particular campsite, getting soaked every trip.
Joey, standing in the stream, sneakers and all.
Resting in the shallows, thinking about nothing.
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Suspiciously warm river water and small rapids offer respite from the intense heat. Kayakers bump on by and Wyatt and I foolishly bump our butts down those very same rapids, while Karen somehow slips down without a scrape, albeit slightly drowned.
Karen: “Really?”
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Karen dozes in the midday heat by the river.
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I nap on Karen, in a sweet new tent (that I bought for my incoming arts adventures in the high desert of New Mexico).
I attack with a bright flashing camera at midnight, and Karen suffers a impromptu giggle attack.
The Milky Way paints a mottled sky. We lay like sardines upon a denim jacket and a tarp, gazing up at the night and counting the shooting stars until 3 am.
Light painting with Wyatt.
Bloody nose and all, at this angle Wyatt looks like a monolithic figure as if he were drawn by Egon Schiele; vulnerable adams apple and curvaceous yet somehow angular contours set against a stark backdrop.
Washing the remnants of a nosebleed in the river. 

Goodbye, farewell, this summertime adventure will become a seasonal family ritual.


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