Dinosaur National Monument
Yesterday we drove to Dinosaur Nat. Mon. On our way the road went through an area with a number of pictograph sites. Unlike petroglyphs which are carved into stone walls, pictographs are painted on the stone.
A couple of examples.
Dinosaur park has two (actually three) fairly distinct parts. the eastern portion has no connection to dinosaurs but was included in the monument to preserve and showcase some beautiful and dramatic scenery. Unfortunately that scenery is accessed via a 31 mile narrow two lane road with typical National Park turnouts(short, narrow). There is also no campground at the east end. We had to pass on the east end (so no pictures) and drove west into Utah. The west end is where the monument got its’ name but even here the dinosaur area is a very small part. There is a great deal of scenery here also in addition to geology, archeology, paleontology, hiking, history, and a nice, quiet campground.
Yesterday we drove the auto tour, stopping at every informative spot along the way.
There were several extensive petroglyph sites
The road is called ‘Tilted Rocks’. A very small example why.
this is really nothing. In places the uplift is almost vertical.
At the end of the road is a small oasis on which is situated this.
This was the homestead of an interesting woman. Here is a brief biography of her. Josie Bassett This place is over twenty miles from the nearest town and ten miles from the nearest neighbor. No electricity, phone, plumbing. She lived here for over fifty years until she was almost 90 when she fell and broke her hip. She died several months later. The grounds are a very good example of homestead life in general.
The dark spots in the shale are fossilized fish scales.
Here is the layer where we saw the above fossils. The trail going up the center goes by them.
Here is the old visitors center which is now closed.
One wall of the center is built against the gray area to the right. This is the same fossil rich layer as the one in the above picture separated by a small canyon. The fossils have been exposed but left in place. Great concept. Unfortunately the ‘rock’ surrounding the fossils here and on which the center is built is very unstable. When it gets wet (which isn’t often here) it turns into slippery mush. We tried it. We poured a small bit of water on to what looked and felt like rough concrete. It instantly became wet sand. For safety and maintenance reasons the center was closed. It will be taken down and replaced with a smaller and more stable version over the next two years.