Saturday, July 2, 2016

Utah: Dinosaur National Monument and the Utah Field House of Natural History

We had a busy day today, and after brunch at the King Tut & Dinosaur Cafė, we began by visiting Dinosaur National Monument, where we visited the Quarry Exhibit Hall, which was designed to allow visits to view approximately 1,500 bones.

The Exhibit Hall itself was about two stories high; one came in on the second floor, and could look down on a massive wall of bones that was probably more than 80 feet long. Some of the bones were a massive jumble, while others were separated.

From Vernal, Utah

Some of which one can touch, such as this femur, which belonged to an 85-foot long herbivore. (I like this picture of my husband, who looks like he's showing off after having discovered the bone himself.)

From Vernal, Utah

We had heard that there were petroglyphs in the Cub Creek area of the park, so we hopped back in the car and went exploring. After several miles, the road became unpaved and narrowed several times, and we came across the petroglyphs and pictographs, which, like those we saw yesterday, were also drawn by the Fremont. They were quite striking, and more easily accessible than those we saw yesterday. These particular petroglyph panels featured a variety of typical Fremont designs, including several large lizard figures, which aren't common at other sites. In the Dinosaur National Monument area, archaeological evidence of the Fremont dates from about 200 - 1300 A.D.
From Vernal, Utah

We kept driving, and before we knew it, we inadvertently discovered the Josie Morris Cabin, which belonged to a homesteader - the aforementioned Josie Morris, who homesteaded alone in her cabin for more than 50 years. She married five times, divorced four times, was tried and acquitted twice for cattle rustling when she was in her 60s, and finally died at age 90 in 1964, apparently from complications from a broken hip.

From Vernal, Utah

We left Dinosaur National Monument and made our way to the Utah Field House of Natural History. It's a somewhat small museum, one that's well suited for younger children. We watched a short film (Uinta Fossil Journey – Stories in Stone) in which we learned about fossilization and the local geological wonders, and wandered through the Eocene Gallery, which featured an entire wall of leaf fossils. I rather liked the luminescent minerals room, which was light by UV lighting so that one could see the minerals' phosphoresce.

We had dunner at The Quarry Steakhouse & Brew Pub before calling it a night, but throughout the day we had been struck by the beautiful rocks and scenery. The rock formations were just stunning, and we both found the geology interesting especially because it was so varied.

From Vernal, Utah

From Vernal, Utah

We were seeing rocks of different colors, surfaces, and sizes, with trees, grasses, and shrubs that were different shades of green, with different leaves and different textures. On the lookout to educate ourselves about the local geography geology, we found some especially interesting looking books to bring home with us: Roadside Geology of UtahLegacy on Stone: Rock Art of the Colorado Plateau and the Four Corners Region,  Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Western North AmericaThe Adventures of the Woman Homesteader: The Life and Letters of Elsinore Pruitt Stewart, and Log Cabin Cooking: Pioneer Recipes & Food Loreand two guides, one an in-depth guides to the Utah Field House of National History Exhibits, another on the Dinosaur National Monument Quarry.

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