Wednesday, July 19, 2017

7/18 The Prehistory Museum, Price, UT

Price is the home of Utah State University Eastern, but as you can tell from this museum, it was once the College of Eastern Utah.  It is a small college, but fully accredited, and they have a really nice museum. 

The museum is divided into two parts--on one side is paleontology and on the other is archeology.  Both sides have a lot of locally found artifacts.   This guy meets you at the entry to the paleontology side.

There is a large paleontology lab where students can work on the various dinosaur bones they have found.  

You can see a student working on the lower-left side of this photo.  I did not want to intrude and take a direct photo of him, but he was busy grinding plaster and excess stone from some bones. 

The next few photos show some of the exhibits.  

This photo was taken from the second floor balcony.  There is also a young man working on a twisted skeleton in the box on the upper right of this photo.  He also was removing plaster and excess stone from around the body. 

Some casts of dinosaur tracks.

The upper floor also had an exhibit of armored dinosaurs.  This one has a shell on its rear, but just spikes on the main part of the body.  The larger one in the back had spikes all over its body.   

This sign describes the larger dinosaur in the back of the above photo. 

This one had a turtle-like shell, but a lot of spines on its head and tail, as well. 

 Here is an armored fish!  It's described in the next picture.

This depicts a saber-toothed cat attacking an ice-age Glyptodont, described in the following photo. 


No wonder it reminds me of a giant armadillo.  Glad modern ones are smaller. 

Giant turtle.

Having left the dinosaurs and the ice age, I walked across to the archeology section.  

It's a little hard to read, but these arrows all have signs showing what tribes made them. 

Most of these artifacts come from the Fremont people, who lived in this area. 

I have never seen an ancient shovel before.  This one had a handle, which is now missing. 

And baskets do not always survive, so these are rare. 

I thought this was interesting.  It shows a net used to capture rabbits.  They made nets that were a couple of hundred feet long and set them up, and then beaters would chase all the rabbits into the nets.  They would dry the meat and tan the skins to use for clothing and blankets.  

This is a model of Kennewick man.  He certainly does not look like most Native Americans. 

 Nicely done Fremont pithouse exhibit. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

7/17 Colorado National Monument near Fruita, CO

 I left my campsite at Elk Creek early this morning because I had an appointment with the Ford dealer in Montrose to have my transmission flushed and a bunch of other things checked.  I was done by just after noon, so headed north to the town of Fruita.  The scenery starts to change north of Montrose.  Instead of the slightly wooded valley that follows the reservoir, it is a lot dryer here, although there are still huge mesas on either side.  It is more open and the road is less curvy and hilly.

Another interesting thing about this whole area of Colorado is the weather.  Apparently, the monsoons that affect Arizona and New Mexico come this far north.  Every morning starts out without a cloud in the sky, but soon after noon, the clouds start building and by 3:00 pm it is raining.  In fact, in this high desert, it has rained every single day for the last week! 

Thanks to my friend, Jill, for reminding me about the Colorado National Monument.  I had stayed in Fruita a couple of weeks ago, but did not have time to see this place.  Since I had gotten to Fruita early today, I got set up with a campsite and then headed for this really gorgeous place.  You enter at one end and drive about 30 miles to the other end, along the bluff.   The "rim" is the edge of this high mesa. 

I stopped right after going through the entrance booth to take some photos and look at the brochures I had been given.  

Started to climb to the top of the mesa. 

There had been a big sign just before the entrance warning about 10'8" tunnels, but the ranger lady said to ignore them.  Apparently, the tunnels are 16; high in the middle.  The lower number is the edge of the pavement.  All I had to do was drive over the yellow lines and watch for traffic coming towards me.  Easy.

Halfway up and terrific view of the town below!   I got out my "super-chock" and put it behind one tire as I did not trust Park or my emergency brake.  I could imagine all my belongings rolling off the edge!  No guard rails along this drive. 

The road follows the rim trail, which follows the contour of the many side canyons.  This is the road I had driven up.

And the roads, tunnels, and everything else up here was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps young men in the 30s.  You can look in any national park or monument from that time and see all the incredible work they did for $30 a month!  And they only got to keep $5 of that as the rest was sent to their parents back home to support their families during the Depression.  

There is also a visitor center up here and a couple of campgrounds.  No electric, so I would like to come back here in much cooler weather.  (It was 99 degrees today in Fruita.) 

Another canyon and a rock spire you can climb, should you be in the mood and a lot younger than I am!   It's bigger than it looks, as you can tell if you look at the bottom and the scrub bushes and pinion pine at its base.

I don't think this low rock wall would keep any vehicles from going over the edge.

Finally heading down. 

I was so busy taking a photo of the warning sign that I missed taking a photo of the entrance to the tunnel. 

You can see the mesa tops where I had just come from.
I spent 2.5 hours driving this and then headed back to my campground.  I will come back here some day in the fall or spring and try out the campground.