Doing it All in Dinosaur National Monument: Petroglyphs, Homestead, Biking, Hiking, and Dinosaur Bones (Part 2)
In Part 1 of this busy day, we saw petroglyphs left by the Freemont people, the fascinating homestead of Josie Morris, and did some biking and hiking as well. After all that, we still weren't finished; it was time for the highlight of our time in Dinosaur National Monument, and, in fact, its reason for being: dinosaur bones!
Starting in 1909, Earl Douglass discovered and excavated fossils here in the park, and in 1915 President Woodrow Wilson established Dinosaur National Monument to preserve these ancient dinosaur fossil beds,
We pedaled our mountain bikes over to the Visitor's Center, locked them up, and took off on another hike up to the Quarry Exhibit Hall. There's a free shuttle that runs up the hill to the quarry every fifteen minutes or so, but we chose the hiking option. But of course!
This short but steep spur off the trail is the Morrison Formation, where many dinosaur bones were found. They were kind of hard to see, but we did see a couple up at the top of the stairs.
At last we arrived at the famous dinosaur quarry for the main event. In this building you can see over 1500 dinosaur bones still encased in the rock. These fossils are 149 million year old; mind-boggling!
The Quarry Exhibit Hall is an attractive example of modernist architecture. Here's how it looks from the road, nestled against the rock.
And up close:
It really is built right on top of the rocky face where the majority of fossils were discovered! I had no idea until we went inside and saw the interior.
This plaque explains how so many bones ended up in one place, A dinosaur "logjam", if you will.
Here are some of the more impressive bones. Most of the long ones are leg bones.
The two larger leg bones in the photo below are from a Diplodocus (left) and an Apatosaurus (right).
Below is a Camarasaurus femur. Some of these dinosaurs I have not even heard of.
And this is a Camarasaurus scull. Amazing.
So many bones!
We were fascinated by this exhibit of fossils from so long ago. If you have any interest in dinosaurs, you owe it to yourself to visit the Utah section of Dinosaur National Monument and see them for yourself. You can even touch a lot of them.
This was a really fun-, fitness-, and history-packed day. As we pedaled back to the Green River campground after all our activities, we dubbed it our first-ever "BHBHB" day (bike-hike-bike-hike-bike) as that's what it took to see all the sights of interest without a car in this section of DNM -- a very special spot indeed!
Next up: We head east into northern Colorado, where fall foliage greeted us.
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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