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Oregon, it is big and diverse. We will be getting out and finding our favorite spots, follow along, find your own adventures!

Shaniko

Shaniko

Set high on the Columbia Plateau, Shaniko appears like a mirage. As it emerges out of the wheat fields and shimmering heat, it’s hard to believe your eyes. Out here? Why? So you pull over to stretch your legs and explore.

 The old Shaniko hotel.

The old Shaniko hotel.

Shaniko inhabits the liminal space between reality and fantasy, town and ghost town. It is technically a “living ghost town,” as it has a population of about 30 people. The town is about six gridded blocks, defined by highway 97 on the western edge. Truck traffic running down this highway to Bend, Madras, and points south provides the only sound. Shaniko itself is silent.

 Looking south from main street. Things get empty pretty quickly out here.

Looking south from main street. Things get empty pretty quickly out here.

It’s a mysterious place with a ton of history, both old and recent. As you wander the town clicking photos and poking your head into the jail, museum, and auto barn, you wonder if it’s all real or part of a movie set. Shaniko is simultaneously charming and disconcerting. The emptiness feels both liberating and constricting. There are a few businesses: an ice cream shop, a jewelry store, some antiques, a penny candy shop, and a post office in case you need to mail anything. The historic Shaniko hotel has been closed for a few years but is still cuts an imposing figure in the center of town, which adds to the air of emptiness. The atmosphere is difficult to describe; you have to experience it for yourself. Shaniko is well worth a stop, and if you spend any time in Eastern Oregon you will inevitably stumble upon it. Spend a bit of time wandering and taking in the sights. Let Shaniko reveal itself to you and fill in the rest of this narrative.

 The wooden sidewalks and the post office.

The wooden sidewalks and the post office.

Astoria

Astoria

The Painted Hills

The Painted Hills