My first stop, as usual, is the Visitors Center. I got my Jr. Ranger book. I hopped on the shuttle to the Quarry and started to fill it out.
After the quick shuttle I was at the quarry, a deep pit where materials are extracted. This was the actual quarry where they found these bones. They actually stopped the excavations and made it into this facility to show what it looks like when archaeologists find the fossils.
It is a little hard to tell in those pictures but you can see some of the fossilized dinosaur bones.
After learning all about the bones in this quarry and the monument, I wanted to stop at a few different places; one was Jose Morris’ cabin and the second stop was to see some of the petroglyphs.
After seeing this petroglyph, I saw a live lizard on my hike.
On my way back down it started to get very cloudy and I could see rain off in the distance, so I headed back to my campsite.
An ancient river flowed through here. Many dinosaurs were killed, originally a long drought followed by a flood which drowned some and shifted carcasses around.
There is evidence here of many different peoples and cultures living here for thousands of years.
- 9,000 years ago – Paleo Indian culture hunted large animals
- 6,000 years ago – Paleo Indians hunted for smaller animals & gathered seeds roods and nuts (as climated dried)
- 1,000 years ago – Fremont arrived, farmed corn, beans and squash, created petroglyphs (rock carvings) sometimes pictographs (rock paintings)
- 1776 – Ute and Shoshone lived here
- 1880’s – Utes forced onto reservations, traditional dances, songs and stories (still active today)
Earl Douglass, paleontologist from Carnegie Museum, found eight tail bones of an immense sauropod dinosaur in 1909. Other the years they have collected almost 400 different dinosaurs, with 1,500 bones remaining from 100 individuals.
- Dinosaurs dominated the land during the Mesozoic era, between 225 and 65 million years ago
- Most fossils at the National Monument are from Jurassic period, 150 million years ago
- Dinosaurs found: Apatosaurus, Barosaurus, Camarasauraus, Diplodocus, Altosaurus, Ceratosaurus, Torvosaurus, Camptosaurus, Dryosaurus, Stegosaurus
- Animals found: Crocodiles, Sphenodonts, Turtles, Clams, Insects & Plants
PEOPLE I MET:
There were two guides, two families of four, a father/son and myself. We had two rafts. I was in raft with the Cockerham family (on the far right) from Texas.
When I first planned my Dinosaur experience, I was just going to visit the land parts of the park, the sites, and hike a little. A good friend of mine recommended going rafting. So I booked one for the day after my visited to Dinosaur, and before I headed to Rocky Mountain National Park. The rafting trip would go down the Green River through the National Monument ending near the visitor’s center.
The following morning was the day of my first river rafting experience. We met at the office (I might have been very nervous and early). They explained how everything worked on the rafts.
We then drove up river. Along the way we stopped at a more rural area that the guides knew about with some great petroglyphs.
They told us many different possible variations on what these could have represented. For example, some believe that the filled-in bodies are men, while the open bodies are women. The larger the body, the more important that person was. The lines on the women’s body’s could be the number of children they had. And other stories like Aliens. Obviously there are many different interpretations, let me know if you come up with any good ones!!
Thank you to Jared Cockerham for the GoPro pictures from while we were on the water!!
After we finished rafting we got picked up and shuttled back to the office. Since everyone on the trip had heard of what I was doing; I handed out some of my cards (with my blog info). I had also mentioned that I would be staying in Craig, Colorado that night.
The rafting guides informed me that it probably isn’t the safest and offered for me to stay and play some games as opposed to heading out right away. While we were playing games, I got to also play with the rafting kitten, Georgie White 🙂
And of course, my picture of my Jr. Ranger badge and souvenirs!
NEXT TIME at Dinosaur: I think I experienced most of what there is to do here, but I think you can also ALWAYS find new things to do at every park.