Friday, July 26, 2013

Vernal, UT (Dinosaur Land)–Part 1

I was in Vernal, UT June 17 - 23.  My original plans were to go before heading west to Salt Lake, but because I had a tire blow out on the RV, I decided to change plans and get tires before doing too much more driving. I wasn’t sure there would be enough to do for my one week stay, but as it turns out I could have stayed 2 weeks.

My first full day, I headed to Dinosaur National Monument.  I started my visit in an area that not too many people visit, Rainbow Park. The more than 12 miles of dirt roads probably stops many people from visiting this area. The main reason that I wanted to go to this area was to see the McKee Spring Petroglyphs.  Below is the short trail headed up to the cliffs where the petroglyphs are.

The cliff had several interesting panels of petroglyphs --


From this area, I headed back to the main and started my visit at the Quarry Visitor Center.   From there, you had to take a shuttle to the Quarry Exhibit hall.  You enter the exhibit area on the second floor where you see one side of the building is a huge slab of rock filled with dinosaur bones.  The theory behind this area is that this was an ancient river and a long drought killed many dinosaurs.  Then heavy rains came and floods drowned more dinosaurs and swept the dead dinosaurs into the river bottom.  As the water receded the bones were covered by sand and mud. 

Normally people don’t climb on the wall, but while I was there some workers or researchers were doing some work so you can get an idea as to the size of some of the bones.

On the bottom floor, there were a few bones that you were allowed to touch. 

A view of the exhibit hall and how it was built around the main layer of bones--

Instead of taking the shuttle back to the visitor center, I decided to hike the Fossil Discovery Trail back down.

While there were a few dinosaur fossils and some sea life fossils on the trail, I enjoyed the rocks and scenery more.  From here, I took the Auto Tour of the Tilted Rocks.

View from the road--

There were several stops that had petroglyphs--

This is Split Mountain, which is named because the Green River split it in half.  It was quite interesting.

The pictographs below include several lizards.  The lizards on the bottom look like they were made the same time as the other petroglyphs that I have been looking at, but the ones on top (just above the center of the photo) looked newer to me.  I did some research and there is a bit of controversy over these.  But most of what I read said they were still many hundreds of years old.  The others are about 1000 years old. 

At the end of the road is the Josie Morris Cabin area, which was interesting but I found the bird above more interesting than the log cabin and old sheds. 

All of the above was done in my first day and a half.  I will probably have 1 or 2 more blogs about my stay in Vernal.

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