Thursday, July 19, 2012

Travel & Dinosaur National Monument

We started out fairly early and drove the 3 hours to Duchane, UT where we stopped and had lunch with our couch surfing host, Erin.  Erin is a wonderful young woman and we really enjoyed getting to know her a bit.  As it turned out, she is working in Duchane and gave us the key to her apartment in Vernal, UT which is 1 hour closer to the Dinosaur Monument.  We were really honored that she would trust us like this.  It just goes to show that there really are good people left in the world.  After lunch we drove the hour more to Vernal, dropped our luggage off in the apartment, and headed for the park.  The monument / park is hundreds of acres of upside-down mountains and rivers.  We didn't go hiking here, instead we took the shuttle to the actual dinosaur quarry where millions of years ago, dinosaurs died near a riverbed, were buried with sand and silt, only to be found in the 19th century.  This is the largest amount of bones ever found in one location.  According to the park ranger, there are probably many, many, more fossils and dinosaur bones in the area, but unfortunately, there is no funding to search for them.  This view of the quarry was very interesting, but to be honest, it was a disappointment.  We thought there would be so much more here at the park, like a large museum.  It turns out that most of the bones/fossils found here have been sent to other museums around the country.  Good thing we've been to the Smithsonian where most of them are displayed.  After talking to one of the rangers who told me that fossils could be bought by dealers in town, we were on a mission.  How I longed to own something that was millions of years old !  While looking for somewhere to have dinner we stumbled upon a little shop.  In the front were lots of photographs, t-shirts, and other memoribilia, but in the rear of the store there were FOSSILS in locked glass cases.  The man who owned the shop talked to us about palentology, hiking, and geology.  I finally decided on a fossil of an ancient, extinct fish which is about 45 million years old.  Touching it I was touching the mark made by this poor fish as it died on the sea floor millions of years ago.  Wow!  After paying for my prize, we went to dinner at one of the 5 restaurants in Vernal.  It was horrible !  the fries were so greasy they were soggy, not crispy.  Ugh!  We decided that we would not need another day here in Vernal, so I we decided to drive 7 hours tomorrow instead of 12.  Heading to bed....

Pictures can be found here:

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