whenever we move to a new location, one of the first things i do is scout out national parks and monuments and such. the kids like to do the junior ranger program and i enjoy the history, geology, nature, etc of the different places. so, when we locked in colorado springs, i searched the nearby areas and came up with the florissant fossil beds. it didn’t look like much and no one in the area seemed to have any recommendations for it, but it was only about 40 minutes away, so we took a chance on it.
basically, its an area that used to be a big lake. then a volcano erupted a few times and layers of ash settled over the lake repeatedly and sank to the bottom, covering animals and plants. also, some giant redwoods were covered by the lava(i think?) and became petrified. eventually the lake somehow disappeared (i can’t remember why) and the area is now a valley full of fossils and petrified tree stumps. the fossils are embedded in the layers of shale formed by the volcanic ash. ok. enough history. onto the pictures.
we walked a one-ish mile trail that took us around the various petrified tree stumps. while we walked around, the kiddos worked on their junior ranger workbooks. pikes peak still loomed over us in the background.
so, it was pretty chilly and windy on the trail. we were underdressed for the occasion. i didn’t realize that we were going up into the mountains when i got us ready and it was nice and warm at the campsite. so, we took a lot of pictures so the kids could reference them later, in the warmth of the visitors center, while they finished their workbooks. one such picture was this lone wildflower.
a geologist explained the fossil formations and geology of the area and then the kids could look at various chunks of shale with magnifying glasses and microscopes. even hazel joined in the adventure. she was an expert fossil spotter.
i’m glad we took a chance on this place. it was pretty cool. the kids did great and they have some more junior ranger flair to show for their efforts. it was anna’s 20th badge, to go with her 10 patches. (she counts them everytime).
and. that’s a wrap.