|Old wagon and flowers|
Oh yeah - this place was a photographer's paradise! The next items garnering my camera's attention were the ancient, weathered ranch buildings.
|Predawn light hits the barn|
The Dalles Mountain Ranch is located on the site of an 1869 homestead, the first recorded in this area. For the next century, it operated as a working cattle ranch, until 1993, when the current owners deeded it the state of Washington.
Ancient barns, corrals, and farmhouse still stand, slowly deteriorating from the wind and weather.
|Dawn is breaking|
On my way to the auto's flower field, I captured a few images of the old barn in pre-dawn light.
|Low clouds hanging over the valley|
A few wisps of fog rolled over the adjacent hills, making for some interesting scenic shots.
Weathered fences abounded! There were rotting wooden corrals, and rusty, tumble-down barb wire enclosures. Wildflowers popped up everywhere, providing a little of Mother Nature's decor.
Visitors were free to roam around most of the old buildings. But no one was allowed inside. Seeing the poor conditions of these structures, I wasn't about to venture in!
|Gravel road leads to the old house|
Wandering down the main gravel road, I decided to check out the farmhouse.
|The porch has seen better days|
The house was in very poor shape - all it's windows boarded up, the porch sagging, siding peeling off. But I wondered what stories this place could tell - if only walls could talk!
There was an old cemetery uphill from the house, with a few gravestones dating from the 1880s. (You can see photos from last year's post)
I'd heard reports of a marmot family living under one of the old corrals. Not sure the exact structure, I was rounding the corner of one weathered building, when I stumbled upon them.
|Marmots peeking out from under a barn|
They were adorable! I stood motionless, and the marmots peeped their little heads out from under the foundation. I didn't have the most powerful zoom lens on my camera, but made do the best I could.
Trying to move in closer, I scared the marmots back into their dens. I hung out nearby for several minutes, hoping they'd come out, but there were no more signs of the critters. Oh well, at least I got to see them - and was able to get a couple good shots.
|Mt Hood watches over the ranch|
From the parking area, high on the hillside, gave the best ranch views of them all. Not only all the buildings were in view, Mt. Hood rose her glorious snow-capped self over the horizon. I could see why the first settlers decided to homestead here.
But...there were more flower fields to explore farther up the road. I'm not done yet - check my next post for more fabulous scenery!
Sharing with: Good Fences and Wednesday Around the World and Weekly Top Shot