Jenson, Utah and Dinosaurs

We toured Flaming Gorge Dam the first day of our visit with Kaylynn and her family. The dam was massive. I kept making dam jokes. Appartenly, too dam many! I was absolutly goofy this day. I was dancing all over and clucking like a chicken quite often. Baaaaak! We had a fun time scrambling down the mountain at the state park. We turned over a lot of rocks looking for insects. We did find several scorpions. After we got to the bottom, Dad hiked the stairs up to get the Jeep to shuttle us all back up. We decided to walk the path up a little and see if we could see more scorpions. Mom stayed up top and no one ever came up. Dad started the hike down looking for us kids. I managed to get cell signal to call Mom to tell her we were back at the lower parking area. She came to get us and picked up Dad too who hiked down a second time! Oops! I loved the view of the river below. Red Canyon was amazing. You had to watch where you stepped our you may end up falling into a chasm.  We drove the Sheep Creek Geological loop but wished there was a brocheur on what we were seeing. The next day we visited Dinosaur National Monument. We have been here before but were happy to go back. We loved seeing all the Morrison Formation fossils preserved in the rocks. We opted to hike down from the center to the car instead of taking the tram. I  wore myself out running and climbing and Dad happily carried me down the last part of the hike. 
We visited the Utah Field House as well. I loved seeing the skeletons and using the hands on activities. They had fake dinosaurs all over, I kept pointing out everything that was wrong with the dinosaurs! Back at the campground for the afternoon, we rented peddle bikes and tore around the campground. I was so bruised by the end of the time of our rental! I flipped my bike a few times but just kept going. The pool was heated so we went swimming. We made some new friends too so had lots of kids to play with in the pool. It was hard to say goodbye to K and M. I will miss hanging out with them!

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

We arrived at Black Canyon of the Gunnison without any major weather issues. We set up camp and took Dad out to see the park since he had to work the next day. We arrived and it was chilly and overcast. We watched the movie about the park and then came outside to snow everywhere! I promise when we parked there was zero snow on the ground! The roads wuickly blankets with snow but we didn’t let that stop us. The roads were empty so we took a tour of the park. I started singing Christmas songs so everyone joined in! It was neat to see the snow on the wildflowers. Mom said the snow was getting stuck under the windshield wipers and we had to stop to check it out. The entire front of the Jepp was one big ice shield! The next day we awoke to no snow and clear skies. It has been very interesting seeing all these parks this trip in summer and winter conditions. We took a very long ranger hike and learned a lot about the rocks in the area. MY favorite was the pegmatite that crapt into the cracks and crevices. The canyon is very deep. Yet it is very narrow in some places. We hiked out to all of the view points in the park. I took a billion photos! I am looking for the perfect one to submit for 4-H this year. Mom took this one of the skeletonized leaf. The “potholes” were realy neat. I loved all the reflections you could get in them. Even Breighton was reflective! Suck a striking landscape! Family selfie. We haven’t done many of these this trip!
Earned another Jr. Ranger badge to add to our growing collection. Somewhere around 130 now! Our last hike of the day was along the river. The trail was washed out so we had to turn around but not before we found this little guy in our path.  

Heading into Utah tomorrow!

Great Sand Dunes

After a rough drive through a horrid hail storm we made it safely to the high desert to dryer air and land. We were looking forward to dessert time with warmer temps and no snow. Mother nature had a different outlook on our trip. We awoke to 4  inches of snow. Really? The ground was so warm not much stuck but the cards it just piled on! Luna had icicles! The Great Sand Dunes were the Great Snow Dunes. We made the best of it and explored anyway. We checked out the local fauna and flora. We sniffed the ponderosa pines that smelled like butterscotch. The jeep road was open and we drove for a while before having to turn around due to too high of water. We probably could have made the river crossing but were worried with the snowmelt and rising rivers. We got as close as possible without freezing out feet off. I loved finding the cacti under the snow. You had to be careful where you grabbed snowballs from! We saw humming birds and a grouse. We earned our badges and headed out to town to find some food. The next morning things looked better! there were sand dunes again! We hiked out and rolled down, raced up, ran down and explored the dunes until we could move no more.  Heading back to the car was brutal. We were cold as it was but had to pass the river again. The water level had gone up. You had to race between the pulses. We headed for another hike and suddenly I was in a lot of pain. Sand in my eye? Probably. Mom washed it out and no luck. Off to the eye doctor to have a few grains of sand removed. I have a scratch on my cornea and have to use this annoying antibiotic gel 3 times a day for 5 days. My favortie part was them dying my eye yellow!

Devil’s Tower

We left Custer and headed for Devil’s Tower in Wyoming.

The weather was against us again. We arrived in the rain. It was foggy and low cloud coverage. Chilly to boot! We headed up to the rocks. We scrambled on the ricks for a long time as Mom watched from below. We had a great time and were glad we got to do this today because the weather started getting icky.  By morning it was snowing. We played in the snow, did some laundry and packed up to leave a day early. The storms were going to get worse.

Rapid City

Our last day in the area we drove over to Rapid City to do to the Geology Museum. I loved exploring all the exhibits on minerals and paleontology. I think I took 500 photos of the rocks and gems. The fossils were really cool as most came from the White River Formation nearby.

They we went to Dinosaur Park, it was a waste of time as far as dinosaurs so. They had three periods of Dinos mixed together and all pained with the same two colors of paint. We didn’t stay long.  Went back and picked up Dad for pizza and one last loop of the roads at Custer State Park.We finally were able to get up to the highest point in the park on the mountain. The jeep started to get really warm so we need to have that checked out too!