|Gorgeous flower fields|
I'd rambled around the upper bluffs of the Dalles Mountain Ranch, and explored the old homestead with it's preserved barns and ancient farming equipment. (If you missed that post read all about it here.) But I'd still yet to find the ancient auto.
|Peek a boo barn|
Many online descriptions of the Dalles Mountain Ranch mentioned a decaying automobile long ago abandoned in a field of flowers. It's rusting hulk in such a beautiful setting made for some scenic photos - a favorite subject of many area photographers. After viewing several people's images online, I knew I had to find that car.
However, easier said than done. The people who posted online reports didn't offer many concrete clues as to the car's location. And the Dalles Mountain ranch covers a huge area. About all I came up with was that it was located "near the buildings," and from glimpsing photographs, I determined it was close to a fence. But there were a lot of fences out here. Would I be searching for a needle in the haystack?
But I had to give it a shot, and crossed the main road opposite the old homestead and plunged into more flower-filled fields. The amount of bloom was staggering. Bright balsamroot flowers colored the rolling hills yellow, stretching for miles in all directions. It was as if someone had taken a huge paintbrush to the fields.
|Another scenic fence|
The fields were lined with an incredible amount of fencing. I know this area used to be a cattle ranch, and I'm sure the fences were left over from those days. However, I didn't mind. The old, wooden posts made fantastic subjects.
|One more scenic fence|
I followed well-worn user paths through the flower fields. Although no car came into sight, I thoroughly enjoyed myself taking photos of the flowers and fences. Along with the balsamroot, bright purple lupine added to the palette. The hills, dressed in their neon spring green, ambled down as far as the eye could see, all the way to the Columbia River.
|Lots of purple lupine here|
After spending quite a bit of time in my photo endeavors, I looked across a draw to another large field. I spotted a small group of people walking along a fenceline. Watching the group for several minutes, they seemed to linger in one particular spot. Could that be the place?
I had to check it out. Returning to my car, I drove closer to this field. After squeezing through a gate, I trekked up a small hill. The concentration of balsamroot and lupine was quite thick, overgrowing a very faint path through the flowers. And then, topping the ridge, I looked down into another fenced field......and there was the car!
|This car has seen better days|
It was as scenic as the internet pictures depicted. The car's orange, rusty hulk lay partially buried in a huge field of balsamroot. The car, which I think was an old Studebaker, looked as though it had been there for some time. All it's windows were broken out, the interior gutted, and the steel body slowly deteriorating.
But, oh the photo ops!
|Vivid purple lupine flowers|
I spent quite awhile photographing the prize I'd sleuthed to find. Not only this abandoned auto, but the flowers were especially thick and vibrant here. Truly a magical place!
|Yellow was everywhere|
My trip to the Dalles Mountain Ranch was a resounding success. Not only did I hit the bloom at prime time, I found a wealth of history in an old homestead, and successfully located the rusty car, a favorite subject of photographers throughout the PNW.
|Lovely final resting place|
There's still a few more photos to share from the day's trip. After leaving the Dalles Mountain Ranch, I checked out some petroglyphs at nearby Horsethief Butte State Park, and then crossed to the Oregon side of the Gorge to take in more amazing sights on the Mosier Plateau. Stay tuned!
Due to the large amount of fence shots in this post, I just have to share with Good Fences.