Saturday, July 26, 2014

7/24/14 Thursday - Green River rafting + petroglyphs in Dino NM

Early up and out as we had a raft to catch. We went on the Green River - Split Mountain rafting expedition with Adrift Adventures.  We drove to the northwest corner of Dino National Monument and put in at Rainbow Park.  But before that, we had a wonderful treat - classic Fremont Indian petroglyphs at the McKee Springs site (800 - 1200 ybp). It was a bit difficult climbing up the rocky trail in our swim shoes, but it was totally worth the effort.

Our guide's name was Sean, we had class 2 & 3 rapids, and a lunch stop featuring their famous Split Mountain taco salad.  This whole area is a geologic treasure chest, and to see Split Mountain, you have to be in a raft, and again, it is totally worth it. So if you ever get to Dino Natl Monument, be sure to reserve a spot on a rafting trip. They are tightly controlled by NPS regulations, and they do fill up.  In the afternoon, the take out was at Split Rock Campground. While Randy and Reed helped load the rafts on the trailer, Bret posed for a photo. Those are bighorn sheep ewes and lambs on the river shore behind him.

After changing, we headed to the Dino Visitor Center and rode the tram up to the Quarry. The building encloses a Jurassic Period rock face with partially excavated bones in situ, really well done. In the photo below, volunteers are recording some of the bones, which helps give an impression of the immensity of the site. Bret is touching the femur of a Camarasaurus - there are a couple of exposed bones that visitors are welcome to touch. It is a very impressive fossil wall! In 1909 excavation of the area began; today what remains is just a fraction of the excavated portion, with many of the specimens removed living in museums throughout the eastern U.S.

Because it was too hot the night before, and one night without sleep was enough, we wimped out and stayed in town. We had a huge treat - July 24th is a holiday in Utah - Pioneer Day - and we had a huge fireworks show.  We could see fireworks from at least 12 different launch sites, and the show went on for over an hour and a half! 

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