Sunday, October 28, 2018

October 6, 2018 Our Foggy Day...and it wasn't because of legalized gummies.

 "I met you in a cave, you were painting buffalo
I said I'd be your slave, follow wherever you go
That night we split a rattlesnake and danced beneath the stars
You fell asleep, I stayed awake and watched the passing cars
And walked the dinosaur, I walked the dinosaur" - Walk The Dinosaur - Was (Not Was)

It's gonna be a good day because it started with walking a pink dinosaur.

The obligatory roadside stop to take a picture of the park's entrance sign.

We decided to try the canyon side of Dinosaur National Monument again today before heading south to Grand Junction.

We drove into the park along Harper's Corner Road. Our first stop was at Canyon Overlook. 

We walked along the ridge above the canyon... the fog moved in and out of our view.

The view changed from this... the fog rising out of the canyon... the canyon filled with fog in under a minute.

So we drove up to a higher elevation...

...and walked around hoping for better views.

The rain let up so the fog began to dissipate.

Then we drove drove further along Harper's Corner Road hoping for better weather.... Echo Park. When I stopped the car, there was a great view of the canyon here. By the time I grabbed my camera and got out of the car. This was the best shot I could get. A few minutes later we couldn't see ten feet in front of us. I drove a little further into the park but it was futile. We turned around and headed back out of the park.

After a mile or so, the road was clear but the higher elevations were fogged in. There were a few places that had some color on the drive out.

We left Dinosaur National Monument and drove down south along the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway to Grand Junction.

In the valleys, the roads were clear but most of the mountain scenery was in the clouds or fog.
We stopped to stretch our legs and take a few photographs a few times during the drive.

After a harrowing drive over Douglas Pass through heavy fog that limited visibility to ten feet, we stopped in Fruita for a tasty lunch at Fiesta Guadalajara. Then we attempted to see if the cloud covered Colorado National Monument would reveal it's beautiful canyons to us.

Some entrance signs are more decorative than others. The NPS has nice signs here.

As we quickly drove up hill on Rim Rock drive, the scenery was was incredible.

Then we got to the Visitor's Center and it began to rain. We hiked out to the cliffs above the canyon here and could not see anything but fog. We had our rain gear, so we hiked along the Canyon Rim Trail to the Bookcliff Overlook.

It was somewhat clear on the edge of the canyon.

But we couldn't see anything in the canyon.

We made a loop of the hike back to the visitor center.

Then we drove drove further into the park to Independence Monument but the fog was so heavy we couldn't drive any further. So we turned around and headed out of the park.

Here's a few photos taken along Rim Rock road on the way out.

We spent most of our day in a fog. But it was still an interesting day traveling through Colorado. Here's hoping we see some sun tomorrow.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

October 5, 2018 My Day Started with Ben Franklin and Ended with a Giant Green Dinosaur

Our day started by running into Ben Franklin on the streets of Steamboat Springs. He offered me this advice,“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” ― Benjamin Franklin  I am guessing he has seen my blog and thinks I have done neither. So here's another useless blog post according to one of our founding fathers.

We had an early breakfast with the locals on their way to work. This goofy kid was not on his way to work.

There were several members of a hot shot firefighter crew in the diner we just left. We saw banners like this almost everywhere we went on this trip.

It's a chilly rainy morning but that just makes the colors even more intense. Just above Steamboat Springs is Fish Creek Falls...

...this is the first time we saw a fire sign with only a moderate rating.

The scenery along the twisting mountain road was incredible. So were the houses along this road.

We hiked first on the trail to the Fish Creek Falls overlook.

We were completely surrounded by Mother Nature's autumn beauty.

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves." - John Muir

The view from the overlook.

Then we hiked down to the base of the falls...

...the view from the foot bridge across Fish Creek.

Hiking back to the car.

We drove west across northern Colorado on Route 40 for the rest of the morning. It rained most of the way. For about three hours, we drove past cattle ranches. Every so often we stopped at a Point of Interest like this one about a fire in this area back in 1988. This was the biggest wildfire in Colorado history at that time. Several have surpassed it in the past 30 years.

We finally made it to the Colorado side of Dinosaur National Monument.
The ranger at the visitor center said the park was "blocked in" with fog and the low clouds. We decided to drive up and see for ourselves.

So far , so good.

Looking west there was blue skies, but low clouds here.

We made it up to Escalante Overlook and couldn't see 15 feet in front of us... we drove back down to Plug Hat Butte and took a few pictures.

Then we drove west...

...into Utah and sunshine.

A quick stop here to stretch our legs with a short hike.

Then we stopped at the Utah side of Dinosaur National Monument. This is where they found all the dinosaur fossils over a hundred years ago. 

This guy greeted us at the visitor center.

This is the museum which now houses the original quarry where the remains of about 500 dinosaurs were discovered. 
This was in a glass case. Though we did get to touch a dinosaur bone still on the quarry wall. It was very cool to touch a 149 million year old dinosaur fossil.

These are the fossils they left behind during the original excavation 100 years ago.

Here's one put back together like a prehistoric Humpty Dumpty.

We spent the rest of the afternoon driving along Cub Creek Road...

...which I am guessing has some incredible scenery since I took this picture in the parking lot at the Quarry Museum.

Even though there is evidence of humans living here 7,000 years ago, these petroglyphs are about 1,000 years old. It's funny to me that these look like aliens from another planet. I think Hollywood is responsible for that.

These trapazoid body images are commonly seen in the desert areas of America.

The view from the alcove where the petroglyphs were found. 

As we drove along Cub Creek Road, this rocky spine rising out of the foothills goes on for miles.

Being at elevations from 5,000 to over 12,000 on this trip, it is easy to forget that we are in a desert. Until you are hiking in scrub brush and your throat is getting very dry, then you remember.

Once again we find ourselves surrounded by incredible natural beauty.

Looking down at the Green River campground.

I cut through the brush looking for the Green River.

When I found it, there were a group of people disembarking from their kayaks...

...with this amazing view.

Our next stop was Placer Point on the Green River.

I walked around the river bend for about 20 minutes...

...just to enjoy the sunshine and the scenery.

I also relaxed on the sandy shoreline of the river because places like this are what I dream about when working myself into an early grave.

Eventually I found Kennedy on my way back to the car.

We continued past the paved road to Elephant Toes Butte. 

Further down the gravel road, we found these petroglyphs.

It ended up being a perfect afternoon for a drive and short hikes.

The Josephine Bassett Morris cabin at the end of the road. This was built by her in 1935.

She homesteaded here by herself in Hog Canyon. She raised cattle, pigs, chickens and geese. She canned vegetables from her garden and her water source was a local spring. She never had electricity. She lived a 19th century lifestyle until her death in 1964 at the age of 89. BTW, she was married 5 times and reportedly was friends with Butch Cassidy. But she lived alone out here because she loved the isolation and the beauty. I can see why she loved this place and wish I could have 1/100th of her strength and determination.

We saw these free range cattle on the way out and stopped to take pictures on our way back.

Very scenic place to graze.

Our last stop on our way out was Turtle Rock. Usually these named rock formations take a bit of imagination to picture the name...not this one.  

We stayed in Vernal, Utah at what I thought was the kitschy Dinosaur Inn. I was wrong. This was a first class motel with a very friendly family staff, incredible rooms with a huge bathroom and a great Italian restaurant (Antica Forma) next door. Their continental breakfast included the staff making fresh omelets and pancakes to order. So if you are ever out this way (and I do recommend you visit this beautiful part of our country) I highly recommend the Dinosaur Inn.