Around 3 AM this morning, Bob heard the howling of a pack of wolves nearby and woke me up. I listened for awhile and then Auggie woke up and whimpered a few times. After awhile, it stopped and we all went back to sleep. I had to look up why coyotes howl at night. It said that they howl to keep in touch with other coyotes in the area and their howls can be heard from 3-5 miles away. The ones we heard sounded closer than that. I guess we shouldn’t leave our little “dog bait” outside by himself. I cut up my pineapple and we had some for breakfast. It was SWEET!
Around 9:30, we left to get an early start for our visit to Dinosaur National Monument, but before we left the campground, we had to check out this cool teepee and yurt that can be rented.
Dinosaur National Monument was about a 20 minute drive from our campground. As we neared the entrance, we got our first look at a dinosaur.
The landscape as you enter the monument grounds is indescribable.
The road follows the Green River, which helped to carve out this landscape so many millions of years ago.
We pulled up to the entrance station and used our Lifetime Senior Pass to get in for free. Otherwise, it costs $25 a vehicle.
We parked and entered the Visitor’s Center.
From there, we waited 5 minutes for the shuttle to be sanitized and take us to the Quarry Visitor Center where the Wall of Bones is located.
The Quarry or Wall of Bones was amazing with informational kiosks located around the area on the second level to help you understand the history of the discovery of the dinosaur bones and what you’re looking at.
The Quarry yielded the remains of over 500 dinosaurs and other animals.
Here you’ll see the remains of only the large dinosaurs, because the Green River swept away the smaller animals.
We took our time on the upper level learning all we could. The lower level had more exhibits and gave people a chance to actually touch the fossils.
The ride back to the Visitor’s Center had some beautiful views of the area.
We stopped in the gift shop to pick up an Auto Guidebook for Driving the Cub Creek Road and taking a self-guided tour of the Tilted Rocks. Bob needed to try on a Junior Ranger vest.
Then we hopped in the Jeep and started our self-guided tour. Each stop along the way had a number sign and an explanation in the guidebook.
Our first stop was at the petroglyphs, carved on the rock walls by the Fremont Culture 1000 years ago.
One of our next stops was Split Mountain which is named because the Green River split it in half.
Next, we stopped at the Split Mountain campground and boat launch seen below.
There were lots of trailers waiting to pick up rafters from their river trips, but we never saw any.
Down the road, we got a panoramic view of the Cub Creek Valley.
The hills were banded with shades of grey, red, purple, and brown, and some of the outcroppings contained more fossils.
One of the next stops was Turtle Rock. I bet you can see the turtle there.
The paved road ended but our tour did not. We continued on the dirt road to our final stop at another spot where the same group of people made these petroglyphs. You might be able to recognize some of the shapes.
That was the end of our self-guided drive. There is more to Dinosaur National Monument than you might imagine–more hiking, camping, rafting, and rock formations. We drove back to the Visitor’s Center to eat our lunch at one of the shaded picnic sites. After lunch, we headed back to Vernal to get some gas and beer.
In the parking lot of the store, we saw this. Two months ago, there would have been a scuffle in the parking lot to get it. People would have been fighting over it, squished or not.
Bob wanted to check out the drive we would have to take out of here tomorrow on our way to Flaming Gorge. He checked it out on Google Earth like he always does so he knows what to expect, but he heard some conflicting stories from people that he asked, so he wanted to see for himself. So we started our drive on Highway 191, the Flaming Gorge Uintas Scenic Byway. We came to the Steinaker Dam and Reservoir.
This state park has a nice campground too. The landscape was so varied and colorful.
Along the way, there were signs that explained what dinosaurs inhabited that particular area and what fossils might be found there. This one said the Stegosaurus wandered here.
Looking ahead, we thought for sure that the road was going to take us right through the center of this mountain, but it didn’t.
It was still a cool road wherever it went.
We climbed up and up until we reached the scenic overlook. What we could see from there was amazing.
In one direction, there was a HUGE phosphate mine.
In the other direction, there was a huge reservoir.
The rock formations were amazing.
We found it so interesting to learn how this area was formed.
Bob gave the road his stamp of approval for our drive tomorrow, even with the switchbacks. We headed back to the campground to enjoy some outside time with Auggie. It was a perfect day with plenty of sunshine, a temp of 80 degrees, and a cool breeze. We had dinner and took our walk to check out the inside of that teepee. We bought some firewood for a campfire tonight under the stars. This would be one of the few places we’ve been allowed to have fires since we left on this trip.
We enjoyed the fire until it burned out, watching some TV on our outside screen.
Auggie hates fires, so he sat with us for awhile and then enjoyed a nap on the inside of the bus. Tomorrow we leave for Flaming Gorge. (If you are ever out this way, Dinosaur National Monument is well-worth the visit!)