Dinosaur National Monument

Actual skull found in the park

We drove through the Colorado section of Dinosaur National Monument. It beautiful with some different areas to hike, which we did not have time to do (plus it was 98 degrees).

View from the Colorado side

We thought that the visitor center in Utah was closing at 5pm, so we rushed over to it and found it was open until 6. The visitor center has some exhibits, but you want to hop on the tram over to the big Quarry Exhibition Hall (you can drive or walk there if you want). The Quarry is an actual rock wall filled with dinosaur fossils. They built a building around it, actually they had to build TWO buildings when the first one developed a crack in it. There are over 1500 fossils and they are exactly where they were left 149 million years ago in an old stream. It’s unreal. There are some explanations on what bones are which animal and some history on the discovery. You can even touch an actual fossil on the wall. It feels like a rock.

After the Quarry exhibit, we drove the road down toward Josie Bassett Morris´cabin. There were lots of cool things on the way. The views made you feel like you were on another planet.

Views on the Utah side

There are also petroglyphs on many of the rock faces as you drive. The Fremont people put these on the rocks over 1, 000 years ago. Sometimes you can see the petroglyphs clearly from the road, but others you need to hike up next to them to tell what they were trying to portray.

Lots of cool things on this wall

The cabin at the end of the road was impressively reconstructed. It was a very spacious place to live with at least five different rooms and some beautiful windows. We walked through the cabin first and then found out a woman in her 40s built it on her own! She couldn’t afford land, so she decided to homestead in Cub Creek. It was near water and had enough field space for livestock. Josie Bassett Morris had grown children when she created this new place to live. Her son and daughter in law lived with her for a time and her grandchildren visited in the summers. However, she worked the farm herself until she was 90 years old! She was tried and acquitted of cattle rustling twice when she was in her 60s. Josie sounds like an amazingly resilient woman in a time when few women survived on their own. I was moved by her story.

Love the windows
Side room
The view from the cabin
Turtle rock on the way back to the entrance

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