I used Vernal, Utah as a base for my time walking. After all, Vernal is close to the Dinosaur National Monument and Red Fleet State Park, both of which are extremely important and essential to understanding extinct ecosystems and preserving past and present diversity.
Here, it is possible to reconstruct an ecosystem from about 150 million years ago – and take a historical walk through time.
DINOSAUR MINE OF UTAH
Paleontologist Earl Douglass discovered a dinosaur quarry in this area and began excavating fossils in 1909. In 1915, Jurassic dinosaur bones were preserved in the 80-acre Dinosaur National Monument—now the 00210-acre National Monument. .
The dinosaur quarry was in a layer of rock called the Morrison Formation, and the sediments covered and preserved fossils that can now be used to show what life was like on Earth long ago.
In fact, Carnegie’s quarry at Dinosaur National Monument has found fossils of all four Jurassic dinosaur groups (stegosaurs, ornithopods, herbivorous sauropods, and carnivorous theropods), and more than 250 plant species have been identified from fossil pollen and spores.
Erosion eventually exposed them, with Douglass saying that this particular site was “the coolest dinosaur site I’ve ever found.” Fossilized bones of crocodiles, turtles and 10 species of dinosaurs have been found here by digging up river sediment.
FOR THE NATIONAL DINOSAUR MOMENT
Dinosaurs are thought to have died out around 65 million years ago, but you can still learn more here.
For example, at Harpers Corner Overlook in today’s Dinosaur National Monument, visitors can actually stand on fossils of ocean life that now tower high above the Green River.
Times – and landscapes – really do change!
LOUVOS EXHIBITION HALL
My favorite find on my trip was the Wall of Bones, located in the quarry exhibit hall, inside Dinosaur National Monument.
I arrived at this site by taking a shuttle bus from the Quarry Visitor Center, and here I found a majestic display of over 1,500 dinosaur bones, including the neck and skull of Camarasaurus, and the leg bones of both Diplodocus and Apatosaurus. , a tooth of Hornosaurus and a well-preserved skull of Allosaurus. This is a truly unique walk through time!
Visitors can even touch some of these ancient bones. Imagine touching a bone that is millions of years old!
AT THE FOSSIL DISCOVERY POLICE AND CONTINUE TO UTAH PARK
Dinosaur National Monument also extends into the state of Colorado, but I only visited Utah during my visit. After thoroughly inspecting the Wall of Bones, I returned to the Quarry Visitor Center and hiked the Fossil Discovery Trail.
Then I drove further to Dinosaur National Monument where I found some ancient petroglyphs believed to be around 1000 years old (yes, humans have been in the area for a while too).
USE RED FLEET STATE PARK
After visiting Dinosaur National Monument, I timed my way to another main destination: Red Fleet State Park.
This is named for the beautiful red sandstone formations that look like a fleet drifting through the reservoir, but the main focus for me was the dinosaur tracks.
These tracks were formed when dinosaurs roamed the area about 150 million years ago, and a hiking trail now leads to these ancient footprints.
However, instead of walking the rather strenuous 3 mile round trip, I took a very short boat ride across the reservoir to these trails. In fact, I saw several three-finger prints on the site and was asked to put water on them to make the pictures sharper.
Some traces are found on the rock edge next to the reservoir itself, so some remain hidden when the water level is high.
IN VERNAL, UTAH
I used Vernal as a base for this time travel and it was pretty obvious that I was in “Dinosaurland”. Dinosaurs ruled the spring area!
A statue of a pink dinosaur greets the visitor, and a number of life-sized dinosaur replicas are displayed in the Dinosaur Garden, located outside the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum.
Inside are more dinosaur models and an observation window that overlooks the lab that prepares the fossils. This facility reveals geological history through exhibits and hands-on activities, even a fossil dig.
During my stay in the spring, I got a permit to hunt dinosaurs, but I liked to hunt only with a camera. Be that as it may, this permit entitled me to hunt certain species of dinosaurs and keep such game after it had been “duly inspected by the Utah Game Warden.”
I don’t think this will bother the guard very much.
Author Bio: John is a freelance travel writer and photographer who enjoys traveling the world and writing about his adventures. He wrote weekly travel articles for numerous local newspapers, presented several travel reports and is the author of two major cycling books: “Cycling Canada” and “Cycling the USA”.