Back in the 70s, I fought fires for the Bureau of Land Management during my collegiate summers. We were stationed at a small guard station just out of the village of Paulina in the center of Oregon. I journeyed back to the region a couple of weeks ago to go camping up the in the Ochocos and drove 60 miles over gravel roads to visit Paulina once again. Paulina has one business, a combination store and saloon. It also had some typical homey touches that you find in out of the way places.
Folks there are quite creative in decorating their lawns. Nothing goes to waste.
If you head down the Paulina Valley Road, at the junction with Camp Creek Road, you’ll see an old pioneer ranch house.
Further back towards Prineville, you’ll see Eagle Rock, a birder’s paradise and stunning landmark.
I may sound flip about my time in Paulina, but I had some of the best experiences of my life there. It was when I realized that I was a capable person, able to work hard in extreme situations. Great sights, life long friends, I wouldn’t trade that time for anything.
You’ll hear more about the Paulina Valley in my upcoming novel, Thunderhead: A High Desert Novel, due out in mid 2014. Stay tuned.
For a parting shot, here’s a photo of an infamous wigwam burner. Outlawed decades ago, a few survive, rusting in the sunshine. They should be declared historic structures. Seriously.