North Platte to Craig
August 10, 2016
Miles Driven: 332
Parks Visited: 1
Holy Moly! I do not understand why Dinosaur is not a national park. It’s like a slightly shallower Grand Canyon with piles of dinosaur bones. In fact, I did ask the owners of the Bedrock Depot, while I was sipping my Mochasaurus. They chalked it up to politics. According to them, the park meets all the requirements, it’s just that the states of Colorado and Utah can’t agree on an arrangement to suit the distribution of support. The park is somewhat unusual in that it exists in multiple states. Utah has the original claim because the dinosaur quarry was the first part protected in 1915. Then the canyon came later, during FDR’s presidency. It would seem that the park is never without controversy. Any of you who have watched Ken Burns’ National Parks: America’s Best Idea know that Dinosaur was the line in the sand for conservation. After losing the Hetch-Hetchy valley to a dam, Echo Park was where the movement coalesced.
To see the park takes at least two days, a time frame that I could in no way match. I would say that there are three main sections of the park. First, there’s the famous dinosaur quarry. Literally, the fossils are piled on top of one another. In fact, they are still working in the area today. A plus is that these are the Hollywood dinosaurs from the late Jurrasic period. If I understood them correctly, this is the richest find of complete skeletons anywhere in the world. So, how did they end up this way? Apparently, there was a major flood in the river valley and it drowned a bunch of dinosaurs, washed them all down stream and then piled them up. The fossils from this find are in every museum and university around the world.
The second thing to see is the canyon. It’s stunning. What makes it even more spectacular is the total lack of people. All you can hear is the wind and the occasional bird call, perhaps the water moving. Each view reveals something new. Near the dinosaur quarry, you can also drive down into some of the canyon and wander alongside thousand-year-old petroglyphs. The rock formations are so varied, so colorful, so layered. It’s fascinating.
Finally, the third thing you should do is raft down the canyon. I did not have time to do this, but I’ve seen the movies and pictures. And when you look at the canyon from above, it makes you wish you were down there.
Anyway, the pictures can speak louder than my words. Until tomorrow from Kanab...
Board Location: Colorado
Happiness: Content (5)
Energy: Perky (4)
I don't know why everyone insisted on looking for desert modern architecture. No one even had any fun. We're camping tonight in Dinosaur. I'm beginning to regret not being more firm with Helen. I think we've had to forgo 4 souvenirs because her luggage is in the way. After all those nights in posh lodges, I'm a bit worried about all the camping we've got coming up. Everyone is spoiled. Hopefully we can find a lodge or motel along the road.