Posts Tagged ‘dinosaur national monument’

Turtle Rock at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah.

Turtle Rock at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah.

            “The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” – John Muir


A Turtle and a Lizard

One Saturday morning back in January of 1999, I woke up at o-dark-hundred feeling lazy and bored after a heavy-duty work week. My first inclination, as I noted in my journal that morning and reread for the first time this morning, was to turn over and go back to sleep. That, however, was quickly followed by the words “road trip” jumbling around in my brain.

Lizard petroglyph at ; Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

Lizard petroglyph at ; Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

Knowing which of those two thoughts would reinvigorate me more, my then canine companion Peaches and I set out on a day trip to Dinosaur National Monument, a mere 250 miles away from my Ogden, Utah, home. .

We left in time to see what I think is the most magical moment of the day, those seconds between night and dawn when the world is all gray and silvery and the world recatches its breath – and so do I. But we missed it because of the bright street lights on Harrison Boulevard as we exited the city. I was disappointed, but I consoled myself by knowing the day was young and there were still magical moments ahead that I wouldn’t miss. It’s the same feeling I have at the start of any road trip – and I’ve never been disappointed.

Among the sights I recorded on the drive to the dinosaur quarry were a farmer feeding his cows, snow in Echo Canyon and ice fishermen out on Strawberry Reservoir. I stopped in Heber for breakfast, where I was waited on by a grandmotherly woman who sweetly called me honey. Her words took me back to my Southern-raised origins.

There was more snow after Heber, but the road was mostly a sandy slush as the snowplows had already been out. I passed a guy rubbing snow on his car’s windshield to clear it, and was thankful my wipers and windshield fluid were keeping mine clean. The windshied fluid, however, ran out just as I was coming into Duchesne, where thankfully I stopped at a gas station and replaced it so I could see clearly again.

Just a few of the 1,500 or so dinosaur bones on display at the monument's enclosed quarry exhibit.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

Just a few of the 1,500 or so dinosaur bones on display at the monument’s enclosed quarry exhibit. — Photo by Pat Bean

After Duchesne, it was sunny and bright all the way to the Dinosaur Monument, which was located east of Roosevelt. On arriving, I didn’t spend too much time looking at the actual bones of dinosaurs exposed by diggers in the quarry. I was more in the mood to explore the 10-mile Tilted Rocks Road, which is rife with petroglyphs and pictographs, and scenic views of Split Mountain, which a few years earlier I had rafted past on the Green River.

It was memories of a quick drive on this stretch many years earlier that had been in my mind as destination for this morning’s spur-of-the-moment road trip. And this time, as I had not earlier because someone else was in charge, I was able to leisurely enjoy the drive at my own pace. I stopped often to get closer up views of the wall paintings and landscape. I saw mule deer, rabbits and visited a shelter site that may have first been used over 9,000 years ago.

The views of Turtle Rock and the Lizard on the Rock were two of my favorite sightings. They held the magic for me that made up for missing the gray still seconds between day and night.

I didn’t pull back into my driveway until well after dark, and after encountering more snow in the mountains. It had been an invigorating road trip, and I didn’t feel lazy or bored anymore; nor did Peaches, who enjoyed a good romp in the snow on our return drive.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Glenrosa Journeys http://tinyurl.com/htmsjfj Do a bit of bird watching with Candace.

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            “In rivers the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time.” Leonardo da Vinci

Adventures with Pepper: Day Six continued

View of the Green River from the Dinosaur National Monument quarry overlook. — Photo by Pat Bean

            My detour off Highway 40 to Dinosaur National Monument on a rural back road followed the Green River as it flowed down to join the Mighty Colorado River.

Not a slouch in itself the Green, which begins in the Wind River Mountains of  Wyoming, is 730 miles long and a major tributary of the Colorado.

I had rafted this section of the river, through Split Mountain Gorge into Dinosaur National Monument, back in the late 1980s, and I had canoed a section of the river from Ouray to Sand Wash in the 1970s.

So while I have a fondness for all rivers, I have a special fondness for the Green. It was an expected pleasure to watch its passage from behind the wheel of Gypsy Lee this morning.

What wasn’t expected was the flock of sandhill cranes in a meadow near the river. I had to stop for these.

A flock of great blue herons in an irrigated agriculture field just outside the entrance to Dinosaur National Monument near Vernal, Utah.

The herons were an unexpected sight, the kind that continues to make travel so alluring to this wondering wanderer.

Book Report: Travels with Maggie now at 50,402 words. Over half-way there. Yea!

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Running with Scissortails http://tinyurl.com/8q45ucg One of these things is not like the other. Personally, I hang out with scissortails at every opportunity, but I’ve never seen scissor-tailed flycatchers anywhere but Texas.

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            Any landscape is a condition of the spirit.” –Henri Frederic Amiel

Where dinosaurs once roamed — and died. — Photo by Pat Bean

Adventures with Pepper: Day Six

            My last stop before exiting from Utah was a quick visit to Dinosaur National Park.

The monument had gained a new visitor center since my last visit, and a shuttle took one up the hill to the indoor quarry where dinosaur bones were on display, still half buried in rock. The quarry had also undergone renovations, including the addition of this exhibit since my last visit. — Photo by Pat Bean

I should have lingered longer but I was in one of those moods where the day’s destination seemed more important than the journey. I hate it when I get like that.

Evidence of a world we can only imagine in our minds, or scientifically try to explain. — Photo by Pat Bean

Part of my day’s rush was that it was Friday and I didn’t have reservations for the weekend, and I was remembering how crowded Lake Walcott State Park always was on weekends. .            Fortunately, it was not my first visit to Dinosaur Monument. It was one of those places I visited a couple of time when wanderlust hit me on a weekend. Like past visits, the landscape interested me as much as the bone fossils. I always tried to imagine living dinosaurs waddling across my view.

My mind’s eye let me see them. Can You?

Book Report: Travels with Maggie, 49,606 words. Did almost as much cutting as rewriting. I kept remembering the writing advice to always eliminate the boring.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Texas Tweeties: http://tinyurl.com/9y59htv I never get tired of seeing vermillion flycatchers.

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