Posts Tagged ‘dinosaurs’

            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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 “For fossils to thrive, certain favorable circumstances are required. First of all, of course, remnants of life have to be there. These then need to be washed over with water as soon as possible, so that the bones are covered with a layer of sediment.” – Richard Leakey

Hard to believe that this creature’s bones are over 200 million years old. — Photo by Pat Bean

The Bones of the Matter

It stands to reason that if conditions are right for ancient trees to be preserved, other things in the landscape will also be preserved.


Flowers weren’t plentiful in the Painted Desert. The landscape wasn’t encouraging for them, which is why this small patch of yellow stood out so dramatically. — Photo by Pat Bean

And of course they were, as evidenced by the dinosaur skeletons on display at the Rainbow Forest Museum, which sadly would be my final stop before exiting Petrified Forest National Park.

As dinosaurs go, well if you compare them to Sue, the Chicago Field Museum’s gigantic T-Rex, the ones that lived in this ancient forest, were on the dinky side.

The dinosaurs found here belong to the Triassic Period, the late dawn of the dinosaurs, according to the park’s fact sheets.

Two more ancient dinosaur skeletons. — Photo by Pat Bean

These human-sized dinosaurs shared the landscape, which back them was dominated by a huge river running through it, with phytosaurs and rauisuchians, words that sent me running for my dictionary. Crocodile-like is the best definition I could come up with.

Triassic, another word that left me wondering, refers to the period on earth that existed 200 to 250 million years ago.

Now, just as the age of dinosaurs had come and gone, it was time for me to leave the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest and continue traveling down the road. Flagstaff was awaiting me.

Bean’s Pat: Wistfully Wandering http://wistfullywandering.wordpress.comTake an armchair hike in Grand Teton National Park. I can’t believe I’ve missed this one.  

*This recognition is merely this wandering/wondering old broad’s way of bringing attention to a blog I enjoyed – and thought perhaps my readers might, too. The Pat on the back is presented with no strings attached. May 25, patbean.wordpress.com


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  “Sometimes if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slow away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.” — Winnie the Pooh


The bridge across the Rio Grande Gorge near Taos, New Mexico. The river 1,500 feet below is near the beginning of a nearly 2,000 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. -- Photo by Pat Bean


Travels With Maggie


Rio Grande Gorge State Park

Just a few miles past Taos, which I drove through without stopping, I came upon Rio Grande Gorge State Park. Here I did call a brief stop to my travels. I mean who can resist at least a peak at a 1,500-foot deep gorge – and a river that one knows is near the start of an almost 2,000 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico.

As I looked down at the river from the park’s high, fenced overlook, I thought about a day at Big Bend State Park in Texas when a grandson and I had waded in its shallow warm waters and stared across it at Mexico. Most of the clear rushing water I was looking at below would never make it that far. Human development sometimes reduces the flow reaching the gulf to merely a trickle. Gypsy Lee settled in for the night in Clayton, New Mexico. Photo by Pat Bean

Soon, I was back on the road. I still had 150 more miles to drive before I could stop for the night. I seldom have such a long driving day, but on this trip I was facing a deadline to be in Arkansas to babysit three grandsons for a week – and I only had three more days to get there. 

I spent the night in Clayton, New Mexico, a small town where one has to drive 89 miles to the nearest Walmart, or so the desk clerk told me when she checked me in at the only RV park for miles around.

The town, a former livestock shipping center, sits along the old Cimarron Cutoff of the Santa Fe Trail. I had passed through Cimarron earlier in the day and had been seeing historic roadsigns since then telling me I was following the old cattle trail.

The Clayton KOA was a quiet, clean place with a run-down miniature golf course and dinosaur creations that had seen better days. I watched a croaking murder of crows fly past in search of a roosting spot as we took our evening stroll. Maggie sniffed around at the feet of the dilapidated dinosaurs, which advertised nearby Clayton Lake State Park where tracks of these prehistoric beasts attract passing tourists.


Statues showing their age advertise to visitors that dinosaurs once roamed the area. -- Photo by Pat Bean


Perhaps next time I pass through the area I wouldn’t be on a deadline and could do my own investigation of them. Dr. Seuss’ words: “Oh the places you’ll go, and the things you’ll see,” then flowed through my brain for the umpteenth time. I sighed – and added: “Too many places, too little time.”

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