2 On The Road Blog

After 12 years of full-time rving, we've sold our truck and trailer but we're still traveling. Email us at wowpegasus@hotmail.com if you would like to contact us.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dinosaur National Monument - Quarry Visitor Center area

There's at least six different ways to get to Dinosaur National Monument.  For our first day, we went to the Quarry Visitor Center.  This dinosaur statue was out front.  I know paleontologists really don't know what dinosaurs really looked like but I've never seen one with this coloring. 

From the visitor center we were led up to the Quarry Exhibit Hall which encloses a bank of dinosaur bones.

I never expected to see this many dinosaur bones in one place.

Paleontologist Earl Douglass discovered and began excavating these fossils in 1909 for the Carnegie Museum.  In 1915 the Carnegie Quarry's world-class bones of late-Jurassic dinosaurs were protected in 80-acre Dinosaur National Monument. 

The dinosaur quarry is in a rock layer, the Morrison Formation, whose fossils were deposited in so many environments that scientists can reconstruct how the area looked 150 million years ago.
The white portion is what the hillside looked like before Douglass' excavation started.  The brown area is what is currently enclosed in the exhibit hall.   The debris left over from Douglass' digging is the foundation for the parking area.

The former riverbed that makes up the rock that the bones are encased in is tilted up to a 70° angle to create this wall.

I heard there were two skulls in the wall but we only found this one.

Once again this display shows the markings on the dinosaur are much different that we've seen before.

We took the Tilted Rocks Auto Tour.  The rocks are definitely tilted around here.

We climbed a hill to see some lizard petroglyphs. 

View from the petroglyphs to the car.

Josephine Bassett is a local legend.  Independent in both action and thought, she lived life on her own terms.  It is here that she chose to settle in 1914. 

Josie built several cabins on her homestead, the last being the one you see today, constructed in 1935.   Josie provided for herself.  She raised and butchered cattle, pigs, chickens and geese.  She canned the harvest from her large vegetable garden.  Josie's source of heat came from wood burning in the fireplace.  Her water came from the spring.  There was no electricity; her light came from an oil lamp.  Josie lived a 19th century lifestyle well into the 20th century.
There are two box canyons right by her cabin.  Josie used these as corrals.  She simply fenced the narrow open ends and let the canyon walls confine her livestock.   Josie also needed water for her livestock.  The porous Weber sandstone absorbs the rain and snowmelt  The water eventually emerges a springs in the canyons. 

Looking back toward the cabin.  While a blessing, the springs from Box and Hog Canyons also gave Josie some headaches because of water use law.  The law stated that any spring that fed a larger stream, like Cub Creek, which another person had rights to, allowed that user to take all the water.  Another local rancher owned the rights to Cub Creek.  This prevented Josie from using the spring water on her own land.   Josie knew about a loophole in water rights law: water rights only applied to above-ground perennial tributary springs and streams.  She just needed to keep the spring water from reaching Cub Creek on the surface  She made several ponds an channeled the water to them to make sure the surface flow never reached Cub Creek, thus the water was hers.

The rock layers are tilted because forces deep underground warped them upward into an irregular dome shape.  I don't think the campground down below had hookups.

There are several different formations here.   At the end of the campground another road lead off.

The old road was gated off but it led to more camp sites that looks like they haven't been used in a while.

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