My big 2003 trip around the Central US (previous posts AMNH 1, AMNH 2, Salt Lake City, Denver 1, Denver 2, SMA dig 1 and SMA dig 2) also took me to the Dinosaur National Monument. That place has changed a lot since then, and you can read a very nice history of the chances on a blog now renamed Land of the Dead – the URL still gives away the old name Dinosaur National Monument Quarry Visitor Center Project. Dan Chure has broadened the topics covered a lot since the new visitor center at the quarry was opened, but all his great posts on the rebuilding are still there. (Something is wrong with the “older” and “newer” buttons for me on the blog, so try navigating via the Archive links in the right side bar.)
Before I got to DNM I passed a number of places that either were not very dinosaur-ish, will be featured later, or of which I simply do not have any good photos to show and stories to tell. So this posts’s first photo is from the “last stop before DNM”, the Utah Field House of Natural History Museum State Park. Gah! – what a name! Back than, if I remember correctly, it wasn’t that much to look at, unlike now (judging by the website – unless I simply missed the museum). It did have a few concrete dinosaurs outside, though. Brutal ones: check where those thagomizer spikes are.
From there, I drove straight to the Visitor center, to check out the famous quarry wall.
You can find many nice pictures of the quarry wall on Google, so I’ll stop here and rather show you a bit of the very beautiful landscape that makes up 97% of the park area: the canyons of the Green and Yampa rivers (hope I remember that correctly).
Bonus points if you know what genera you can find in these pictures 🙂
This was on the drive there, showing the overall rather sparse vegetation.
The canyons themselves are great, but the day I spent there was quite hazy, so that their majestic size doesn’t really come across in the pictures.
Aside from the grand panoramas (of which I can show you much fewer than I wanted, because of an annoying bug in my panorama stitching program), the Park offers all kinds of nice roadside geology.
(click for full size)
Additionally, the Park is full of rock paintings. Here’s a small selection:
more maybe later.