It seems the right time of year to post pictures of bones, lots of bones. Dinosaur National Monument is the best place we know to see real dinosaur bones. The park spans the border of Colorado and Utah. The dinosaur quarry is on the Utah side. Early in the 1900s, paleontologists discovered dinosaur fossils in a large hill. As they excavated the specimens, they were amazed at the number of different specimens that were preserved in this particular hill. They figure that there are bones of more than 500 different dinosaurs here, all from the Jurassic period. They were also delighted to discover a complete stegosaurus specimen (minus the skull - skulls are generally too fragile to survive). The hill, which is a pretty big hill, is now enclosed with walls and a roof. It is the actual excavation site, although no further excavation occurs here. It is preserved for people like us to come and see, to be amazed. The bones are wonderfully preserved, clearly bones and generally much bigger than any other bones we've ever seen.
We camped at the park along the river. It was a wonderful surprise that we were in good company as we discovered the hundreds of sand hill cranes spent the night along the river. As the sun began to set, the cranes with their distinct calling began arriving from all directions. As the sun rose the next morning, we watched them all rise as one large and cacophonous cloud. It was reminiscent of a bat emergence. The cloud rose and spread across the sky as more and more arose from their resting area.
Knowing that we were going to Dinosaur National Monument, we stopped at the Build A Dino in Kansas City (Legends shopping area), a tradition with our grandchildren. This is an amazing place with giant dinosaurs outside that roar, a funtastic restaurant, and lots of animated dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. Our grandson got to make his very own dinosaur that he had with him at Dinosaur National Monument. And of course he completed his Junior Ranger packet at the park too.
The park has miles of hiking trails through a variety of landscape. We hunted petroglyphs and found some good ones at the park, like this great lizard (it is really BIG too). Parts of the park are separate, like Jones Hole. We drove to Jones Hole for even more petroglyphs and found a fish hatchery and a popular river for fly fishing. The hike at Jones Hole is 4 miles one way, but that is where the glyph I really wanted to see is. The ranger had assured me that there was a panel near the parking lot, though, so we began hiking. We never did find the panel of petroglyphs near the parking lot, and we did not venture to make the 8 mile round trip hike either. The hike was beautiful without finding any glyphs. Be prepared to carry water and bear spray. There were signs at the start of the trail warning of bear and panther in the area. We saw neither.
We will post more petroglyphs and pictographs soon -- keep posted by subscribing. As glyph hunters, we've visited many sites across the southwest and throughout Utah. If you have suggestions where to view other petroglyphs, please let us know.