This post is dedicated to my friend Ben, who advised me to stop in Maryhill, Washington on my way to Bend, Oregon today. He said that there was an American Stonehenge here and he wasn’t kidding.
As I left Walla Walla, I entered in the coordinates for this attraction and within 2 hours, I was driving up a dirt road to a hilltop overlooking the Columbia River, with Mt. Hood in the distance.
At the top of the hill, there it was: Stonehenge. Well, only cement and without fallen down stones, and that sort of nonsense. No, this was the American version, all nice and neat and laid out just the way the Druids wish they had made theirs.
This was the idea of a man named Sam Hill. He was a Quaker and a pacifist who traveled to England during World War I and witnessed the toll of war. While in England, he visited the original Stonehenge where he was told (incorrectly) that the structure was built as a sacrificial alter. He thought that this marvel was an apt metaphor for the sacrifice of young men during wartime, so when he returned to the States, he built his own Stonehenge and dedicated it to the young men from Maryhill who lost their lives during WWI.
I have to admit, it was impressive. In a very ham-handed way, at least. I read the names of the young men, and had to agree with Sam Hill, that war is the sacrifice of youth. Sometimes justly, sometimes, not.
After leaving Sam Hill’s monument, I headed down towards Bend, Oregon. The air was thick with smoke from still smoldering forest fires in the west as I started my journey, but eventually cleared a bit along the rolling, dry, brown wheat fields of central Oregon.
I didn’t linger much along the way because my goal was to get to the fabulous Airbnb I had rented for the night. This room in an adobe house over looking a gorge, had a hot tub, and I was hopeful that the soak would do my sciatic nerve some good.
I arrived at the house, that sits at the end of a trail in the Juniper Forest near Bend and met the owner, Robert. He was nice but a little shy. Maybe he was just sick of Airbnb guests, but he wasn’t at all interested in making small talk, so he excused himself and I made myself at home.
First a walk in the Juniper Forest. Very cool, but I couldn’t wonder if I might run into a cougar, so I kept it short. Then, back at the house, I sat on the deck and watched the sun set while sipping a beer and writing my blog. Pretty sweet.
I then, had a soak in the hot tub, but I quickly realized I may have not followed his instructions properly when I took off the top of the tub, and sure enough, I had failed. When I asked him to help me replace the top after my soak, he seemed annoyed and grudgingly helped me. Oops. I think he might give me a bad review. Oh, well. I wanted to tell him it would have been helpful had he shown me what he wanted me to do in the first place, but I kept my mouth shut.
Unfortunately, the soak, while nice at the time, didn’t have much of a healing affect. I am still stiff and sore. Might be time to head to the doctor. Sigh.