I forgot to address the Indian history of the Fort Rock area. Seventy 9,000-year-old sagebrush sandals were found in a cave there in 1938. More recently, human excrement (see photo) was carbon dated to 14,300 years. I don’t know what was done with the, uh, poop, after it was dated. I would like to see and smell it sometime so I will have something to talk about if I’m ever invited to a dinner party.
Big Hole (a three mile wide volcanic pit), Hole in the Ground (a one mile wide volcanic pit), Paulina Peak (the biggest volcano in Oregon at its base), Mt. Mazama (now Crater Lake), and Fort Rock itself (a tuff ring), all blew (by one estimate) during human habitation of the area. This leads me to speculate that the…uh, feces could have been an outcome of one of those explosions.
The earliest known Indians in the area were co-inhabitors with camels, flamingos, wooly mammoths, large bison, and small horses. The climate was warm and wet, and what is now the Great Basin Desert was mostly covered by enormous lakes. Today, rivers flow into the Great Basin only to disappear.
I have seen all three of this country’s deserts, and I like the Great Basin best. It’s as pretty but not as hot. Also, there are few thorny plants, and no testy scorpions or murderous lizards. There are rattlers, but I’ve never seen one. Actually, I haven’t seen a poisonous snake in the eighteen years I’ve been in Oregon.
Posted by Snowbrush