When our trip to Belize this summer was cancelled due to Covid, we quickly rescheduled and headed to Oregon instead, where we travelled 3 hours East of Portland, to an arid and baron region, to stay at a gem of an AirBnb in the small, rural town of Mitchell, home to only 130 people.
The house was a hunting lodge on a 2,200 acre ranch owned by former NBA player Chris Kaman. When booking the Airbnb we were told we'd need a full size SUV to navigate to the house, as it's set 15 miles up dirt roads atop Mt. Keys which sits at 6,000 feet.
Staying at this property was a stunning experience, surrounded by views of the volcanic and forest landscape, complete silence at all times and more stars visible from our bed than I've ever seen thanks to the massive windows throughout the house. The hot tub and fire pit at the third level viewing deck was our favorite part, but the perfect view of the Milky Way every night was a close second.
While we could have just relaxed in the solace of silence and solitude at the Tower House for the duration of our stay, we did venture to take in one of Oregon's seven wonders, and geological marvel, The Painted Hills, which is a short drive from the Airbnb property.
The Hills' colors originate from 35 million years ago, when this area was an ancient river floodplain. The colored bands are due to changes in climate that occurred as they were distributed through time. As the climate changed to a more tropical setting with distinct wet and dry seasons, reddish and yellowish layers formed that are made up of soils rich in iron and aluminum.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable American experience in the rural and rustic mountains and prairies of Eastern Oregon, this spot is for you.