on saturday, we rolled into our 22nd state, leaving colorado and entering utah. we camped at dinosaur national monument, which spans both states.
after we settled in to our campsite (which wasn’t hard, because we didn’t have any hookups – sewer, electric, or water. which means we basically just parked), we headed over to the visitor center to check things out and pick up our junior ranger workbooks. from there, a shuttle runs every seven minutes to take folks up to the fossil quarry.
the quarry was so cool. basically, they built a building around a giant rock face that is filled with exposed dinosaur fossils. anna is very much into taking pictures right now, so she was on a mission to fully document the adventure.
the building around the fossil wall was two stories. from the top, you could look out over the whole wall. on the bottom, you could walk up and touch a few of the bones, which i thought was really cool.
we survived our first night of boondocking (which we have done before, but only in walmart parking lots where we can run our generator to our hearts content). in the morning, we piled back in the car and headed back to colorado to a different park entrance to do a bit of hiking.
the utah side of the park is more dinosaur fossil oriented. the colorado side is all about some really cool geology. rivers cut through steep gorges and make for a really cool landscape. we opted for the harper’s corner trail, which is an easy one mile out and back, with views of the confluence of the green and yampa rivers on one side and views of the now larger green river winding off into the distance on the other side. i didn’t realize it at the time, but we were basically walking along a really narrow ridge, that dropped of dramatically on both sides.
we hiked back pretty quickly, dragging along the whiny kids. not sure if we would make it back to the utah entrance in time, we stopped at the colorado visitor center for anna and hazel to get their junior ranger badges. (this ranger didn’t even open their books or ask them questions, she just swore them in and handed over some fresh badges.)
we had a delicious and very weird late lunch at a restaurant in dinosaur, colorado. and then some ice cream at a similarly weird place. and then we were on our way back to utah. on the way in, we stopped at the entrance to the park to get our obligatory park sign picture.
back at camp, we fired up the generator for a bit to recharge. the kids played with a few new friends. and then we settled in for another night of boondocking. in the morning, derek had to work (you know, mondays) so we just lounged around a bit. around noon, we packed up and derek headed to the visitor center to park and work until the end of his work day and we headed out. on the way, we stopped to view some petroglyphs, to complete our dinosaur national monument experience.
since derek had to work until three, we had to kill a bit of time before arriving at the next campground. we stopped in vernal, utah, first for some lunch, and then at the utah field house of natural history, which was a pretty cool extension of all that we had done at dinosaur national monument.
anna wanted to do the junior scientist workbook and get a patch, so i didn’t get a lot of pictures because i was helping her. all the while, isaac and hazel were running rampant, not surprisingly. but. i did get this dino replica with accompanying actual fossil bones.
anyhoo… anna got her patch. and we bought a bunch of dino themed junk at the gift shop. and we were on our way. next stop. middle of NOWHERE, utah.