Sunday, April 20, 2008

Dinosaur National Monument

Over the weekend, I took my two youngest children to Dinosaur National Monument, east of Vernal, Utah, spanning both Utah and Colorado. The Colorado portion of the park -- at least the access roads -- were closed due heavy snow pack. The Utah portion was where we spent our time.

We spent one day in the northern portion of the Monument, hiking 4 miles down (and 4 back up) the Jones Hole Creek to the Green River. Perfect temperature, we saw some nice Native American pictographs and petroglyphs, a wide variety of birds, and a small herd of big horn sheep.

We drove to Rainbow Park, Island Park and to the Ruple Ranch remains. There was a small whitetail prairie dog town at Ruple Ranch and a population of mule deer of well over 150.

The next day, we went to Josie Bassetts's cabin/ranch remains and nearby Hog and Box Canyons.

An impressive story of a Colorado gal who decided in her middle years (in 1914), to homestead in the area. With help of some of her family, she built a cabin (still standing), fences/corrals, an irrigation system, raised animals, and planted an orchard and garden. She had no electricity or running water. Her grandchildren would visit during the summers and help grandma on the ranch. In 1964, she died at 90 due to an injury associated with a fall from her horse. She was living the independent and self-sufficient lifestyle of the 18th and 19th centuries during the 20th century. Quite a gal.

We finished our time in the Monument by hiking the 3 mile Sound of Silence trail. This hike has it all: steam bed, sand hill / muddy crevasses, red rock and slick rock.

The monument, one I had not visited prior, is a wonderful example of Utah's and Colorado's environmental and geological diversity.

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