Dinosaur National Monument

We departed our campground just south of Yellowstone and headed south a short distance to a farm in Afton WY. This working farm is one of many that allow RVs to camp overnight on their property as part of the Harvest Host program. They had a nice farm store and we stocked up on some excellent yogurt, beef steak, and pork sausages. We awoke the next morning to the typical sounds of a farm (moo) and I had a short canine play period with one of the farm dogs that came over to investigate us before we moved on.

Got Beef?

After departing the farm, we continued to the south to Vernal UT, where we ended up staying a few days longer than expected due to the heat wave at our next planned stop. As we made our way to the campground in town, we did notice that many of the businesses had “Dinosaur” somewhere in their name.

Welcome to Vernal! Supposedly this Dino Greeter used to be orange, but it has faded over the years.

Other than changing flights in Salt Lake City airport, neither of us had ever been to Utah before, so we checked off another state in our logbooks. I think I only have Vermont and Nebraska to go.

The next day, we headed over to Dinosaur National Monument, about 40 minutes away. Our normal routine is to hit the Visitor Center first to get the latest news on the park. After that, we headed out along the Fossil Discovery Trail. It was very hot and with zero shade, so we only took the trail as far as the Quarry Exhibit Hall, where the amazing Wall of Bones is shown.

Along the Fossil Discovery Trail
Can you see the backbone emerging from the rock? This was along the Fossil Discovery Trail.

I have to admit that I am terrible at recognizing fossils until somebody points right at the fossil. The backbone above I didn’t recognize until somebody else pointed to it. All sorts of fossilized clams and footprints escaped my noticed until others said “look!”

The good thing about the Wall of Bones, is that anybody can be amazed by all of the bones. It’s like a Dino Mausoleum in there. The reason for this incredible accumulation of fossilized bones was interesting to read about. During a long drought, many of the animals perished along a riverbed, and subsequent rains after the drought washed all the bones into one area and gradually covered. Then, later geologic events tilted the landscape up.

Thousands of bones can be seen. Note that dogs are not permitted in the building!
So many bones
There should be another Night at the Museum sequel that takes place here.

The day wasn’t all bone-related, we also went exploring for Petroglyphs (which are etched) and Pictograms (which are painted) hidden around the area. Some of them had been affected by graffiti unfortunately, and many were very faded by the elements.

Definitely an Alien
Not sure what is going on here
This is a good example of a Pictogram since it was painted

We also visited the homestead of Josie Morris and enjoyed reading about her incredible life. She used a box canyon to keep her herd contained, which saved fencing. All she had to do was fence in the entrance to the canyon.

Josie Morris Cabin

We stayed in town the next day and visited the local Natural History Museum, which had some great exhibits. And wait, there was a great brewery right across the street, too!

We are headed to Western Colorado tomorrow for a few days near Ridgway, before crossing back into Utah to visit Moab and the Arches National Park. See you then!

2 thoughts on “Dinosaur National Monument

  1. Wow to allll the bones! I’ve only seen that particular exhibit on TV. Are paleontologists still actively digging way below that walkway? And congrats to you, having hit 48 of 50 states!! Josie seems to have been QUITE a character, AND I’m grateful for friendly farmers and their cows & dogs. Always looking forward to more installments.

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  2. Oh that ice cream at Shumway Farms. One of the scenes at the Dinasaur wall showed a parachutist, I think, right after the alien!! Fascinating.


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