The temperatures were heating up and wild fires burning in the west as we arrived in Vernal, Utah. Since we were driving by Dinosaur National Monument, we thought we should stop and check it out.
Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument includes one of Earth's richest known dinosaur fossil beds. These remains from the Jurassic period150 million years ago. During a drought, many dinosaurs died near a river's edge. When the rain returned, floodwaters carried the jumbled bones of over 500 dinosaurs, representing ten species, here. Ancient river sediments, now called Morrison sandstone,
entombed the dinosaur bones and cast them in stone. After faults pushed up the earth, erosion eventually exposed the fossils.
We took the short ride on the shuttle to the Quarry from the visitor's center. The bones looked unreal with a couple for us to touch.
The campground host told us that most people just visit the quarry and leave. She suggested that we take the drive to the end of the road. We picked up and auto guide as we entered the Monument and made several interesting stops.
There were hikes to petroglyphs.
Elephant Toes Butte from eroded Nugget Sandstone.
Fremont people carved petroglyphs into the cliffs. The six foot long lizard is considered to be 1000 years old.
Then there was Josephine Morris's cabin.
Josephine Morris is a legend that lived her life on her own terms. She chose to too settle here in 1914 and built several cabins on her homestead after marrying five times and finally chose the single life. She was accused of cattle rustling twice (never convicted) and an alleged associate of Butch Cassidy. In 1964, while feeding her horse, it nudged her and she slipped on some ice. She suffered a broken
hip. Alone, she dragged herself into her house where a friend found her several days later. She had no phone to call for help. On her trip to the hospital she knew she would never again see the home she built. She died that spring at 89 years old.
We hiked into the two box canyons Josie used for corrals and could imagine her life. There were small and medium sized bobcat prints in the sand. The canyon was protected from the sun making a much cooler walk.
Turtle rock is the same type of sandstone which forms the arches in Arches National Park.
The Green River runs through the valley beneath the sandstone cliff with two very nice primitive campgrounds long the banks of the river.
One evening while we were walking, a bug stung me in the eye. Boy, did it sting, giving me blurry vision in that eye for a few days. No driving for Debbie for those days. Darn....
Colorado National Monument
Back in Colorado again.
The drive to Tom Robb State Park in Fruita, Colorado was short and near the entrance to the Colorado Monument. That gave us time to take a peaceful evening walk in the Monument. We hadn't seen it from this perspective before.
Now, we head to Ridgway State Park.