Dinosaur National Park
Did you know that Utah is called the "Beehive" State?
North on Highway 139 took us over Douglas Pass, an incredible
||We left Arches National Park, near Moab, Utah and headed
north on Highway 128 along the Colorado River. (If you find a tennis
ball near Yuma, it is Cocoa's). We watched a lot of rafts out this
day. The River was swift and was about the consistency of chocolate
We spent the night in Grand Junction, Colorado where it
was very windy and dusty. Ed found a solar store that had the final
parts we needed to connect our DC to AC inverter. So by May 12, 2000
we were finally ready for Y2K.
||We arrived at Dinosaur National Park and found a great
campsite at Split Rock campground. (You can probably see in the photo to
the left why it's called it Split Rock). At night I would walk out
of the trailer and see an ominous large cliff. Our trailer is the
one near the river.
The rock here has all been tilted due to enormous buckling
of the earth. The diagonal surface of the rock in this picture used
to be level. There are several features that used to be horizontal
that are now vertical. The tilt of the earth is very obvious here
but its hard to catch it in a picture. You've just have to go see
it for yourself.
We looked up bees in one of our reference books and learned
that in springtime when a hive grows too large it will split up.
The elder queen and a portion of the hive will take off to find a location
for a new home. After selecting a location the bees will gather,
as these are, to protect the queen in the center. When the workers get
enough of a hive constructed, the queen will move into the new home.
||Sunday May 13th. What a great location for a Mother's
Day champagne breakfast.
After breakfast we explored the park. That evening
we spotted a strange looking object in a tree. At first it looked
like a bee hive. As we approached it looked more like a big fungus
that grows in the rain forests of Washington state. Finally, at a
distance of about seven feet it was clear that this was a huge swarm of
bees settling in for the night.
He told us about a family that has operated a large ranch
on the park for several generations. As we were talking, two truck
loads of cattle passed by. They are being taken to the high country
within the park for summer grazing.
We met Ranger Rick, (yes, his name really is Rick).
He must be the friendliest , (and most talkative), Ranger though out the
entire National Park system. He has worked in many parks and enjoyed
talking with us for almost an hour. He showed us all of his radio
and protective equipment. Mitch and Max enjoyed operating the lights
The main attraction here is the dinosaur quarry. Many
bones have been removed and brought to museums across the county for study
and display. Today more fossils are still being uncovered but are
left in place to be seen in their natural form.
||We saw several cattle roundups as we drove around this
part of the county. Five or six cowboys on horses would be
herding cattle into a corral where they would load the cows into trucks
or gather the calves for branding.
One day we were pulling the trailer along a winding road
and as we came around the bend there was a herd of cattle be herded down
the narrow highway.
Well, back to Dinosaur National Park.
|Remember the tilted rock at the campground? This
rock wall used to lay flat. It was a river bed where animals would
come to drink, eat plants and each other. This would be similar to
a drinking hole in Africa where all the animals gather. Today the
flat river bed is tilted about sixty degrees and a protective building
with museum displays and a research lab are built over the site.
Large animals found here may have been killed by a pack of
several smaller ones. Some may have been sick or wounded and had
come for a final drink of water. Larger animals would not be carried
off as easily as the smaller ones, but pieces may have been ripped free
and taken away for a meal. The picture below of Mitch and Max give
a good perspective of the size of some of the large bones and the steep
slope of the tilted river bed.
||Bones might have washed down the river and settled here
in a pool or have been left behind from a carnivorous dino. You can
see this river bed is quite dense with bones. It was interesting
to read about how the environment of millions of years ago was pieced together
by the arrangement of the fossils, the type of plants and the distribution
of mud sand and rock layers.
||Dinosaur National Park offers one of the most comprehensive
and time consuming Junior Ranger worksheets. It's a large park, (it's
in both Utah and Colorado), and lots of driving was involved as well.
As always though, the boys were quite proud and happy to collect another
||These petroglyphs are proof that the ancient ones were
either poor artists or visited by aliens. (This is an "Ed editorial")
|Here's a cabin that was the home of one of the area's
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