Thursday, May 9, 2019

May 9 – Dinosaur Fossils and Petroglyphs

Today we wimped out and moved to a full hookup campground. The last few nights have been very cold and the forecast for tonight is –1C. It is just easier to keep warm with an electric hookup.

Here is a map of the western section of the monument.

Screenshot (5)

The Green River Campground where we stayed the last two nights is middle bottom. The Desert Voices Trail that we did yesterday is near the middle of the map.

Today, after moving, we hiked the Fossils Discovery Trail up to the Quarry Exhibit Hall. Then we drove to the end of Cub Creek Road to look at some petroglyphs and do a very short walk into a box canyon.

It was another nice day, contrary to the forecast. Cloudy in the morning but bright sunshine when we got to the box canyon with a high in the mid teens C.

The Quarry Exhibit Hall is a building up the hillside above the visitor’s center. It protects the cliff face where hundreds of fossil bones have been exposed but left embedded in the cliff. To get to the hall you can do the short drive or hike up on the 1.5 km Fossil Discovery Trail. We only saw one fossil on the trail.

You first walk along a vertical wall of rock.


There were lots of strange shapes in the rock along the way. We thought this one looked like a snarling mouth.


At the end of the wall was this unusual rock with some petroglyphs on it.



Of course someone has defaced it.

Looping back towards the exhibit hall.




A photosphere. For some reason it has a blurry spot in it.

There was a side trail that climbed a short distance up a cliff face that had some exposed fossils. I never did get a picture of this trail from below but this is the view from the top it of looking up towards the exhibit hall.


And then looking back down the way we came.


On the side trail the fossils we supposed to be marked with some nearby white paint. I saw three spots but on two I could not tell what was a fossil and what was just rock. The third was obvious.


Something’s backbone.


Moving upward there were some nicely shaded hills in the distance.




We have have at least one flower picture.


And up a bit of the road with more colour in the distance.


I forgot to get a picture of the outside of the hall but did do a photosphere from the parking lot.

The hall protects the cliff face with an incredible number of partially exposed fossils.


Some are obvious.



Other spots are just a jumble.


You can get more of the overall effect in the photosphere and then zoom in on individual spots.

A interesting bench. I am not sure if it was real.


An Allosaurus skull.


And a cast of the complete skeleton that was found here. The original is on display somewhere else.


There is an upper level so you can more easily the specimens higher up on the cliff.


Another photosphere from here.

So many bones is such a small area.


Instead of taking the trail back to the car we just took the shorter way down the road.


We moved on and drove towards the end of Cub Creek Road. On the way we stopped to see some more petroglyphs.

This spot had a huge collection,


The first panel was on the rock face at the center of the picture above.


The second panel was above us on the cliff face. The trail was closed to get near then, due to falling rocks.

The panel is just over Jennie’s head.



Farther down the road was another panel covered in lizards. I see 5.


At the end of the road is an old homestead. Next to it is a box canyon that the lady used to keep her livestock because she just need to fence in the one open end.

It was only a short walk but it was the highlight of the day. It had also gotten very sunny.

Neither the pictures or even the photospheres can capture the feeling of being in the narrow canyon with the huge cliffs towering over you.


A photosphere.


Lots of looking way up.


There was some interesting stuff down low as well.



Looking back out.


And looking up at the end. A pale imitation.


A photosphere. An amazing place.

Then home for the regulation ice cream and nap.

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