Dinosaur National Monument Surprise

Dinosaur National Monument Panorama

Panorama in Dinosar NM (you should see it large)

We parked at an overlook near the top of Douglas pass, and after a run-in with a curious cow butting Turtle on the grill, had a peaceful, cool night in aspen country. The next day we spent the morning of June 4, hiking and photographing Freemont rock art of Canyon Pintado for a future story. Then we drove to Dinosaur National Monument Canyon Area visitor center and decided to explore the Harpers Corner road and hike the trail to the Green/Yampa River overlook, a truly spectacular vista of colorful rocks and deep gorges. It was nice to change the sagebrush juniper scents for the pitchy scent of pinon pine and crisp air of 7,000 feet. There were new wildflowers, or perhaps stunted versions of familiar ones; the globe mallow that grows to four feet in Tucson and was maybe four inches here. I would consider this canyon section of Dinosaur NP to be a real hidden gem of the park system. Most people go to the Vernal, Utah entrance where the dino bones are kept, and though nice, it is not as spectacular or remote in feeling as the Canyon District. Having BLM nearby for bush camping is a plus.

At the overlook we conversed with a pleasant couple from Virginia out for a fast-paced three-month trip in their new class-c. When the subject turned to age, the man and I (we expect an email with their id’s any day) turned out to have the same birth date of 6.7.44, or the day after D-day, the beginning of the end of WWII. Neither of us had ever met anyone born on that day, so we posed for our wives. After that long busy day, we found a county road onto BLM land, drove a couple of miles and had yet another million dollar view for a bush camp (boondocks are in parking lots or on main road, bush camps are hidden on public lands). We had some spectacular clouds that had us wondering about getting stuck, but got only a few sprinkles. The cows left Turtle alone.

BLM bush camp among the sagebrush and cows. Clouds provided only a few sprinkles, thankfully.

June 5. Craig. Colorado.
The library has no wi fi, but we found a hot spot at a local hotel, and parked across the street. We tried to find the manager of the Moffat County Fairgrounds, but failed; we stayed anyway but felt we should leave early. Avoiding those RV parks takes a lot of work sometimes. June 6. Craig. High winds and the local Hot Shots are busy chasing down small fires from lightning and winds are gusting to 50mph. Following this is a cold front our weather radio will take night temps down to the mid 20’s; from summer hot to winter cold in two days. It’s springtime in the Rockies! We were going to ride Rabbit Ears Pass east of Steamboat Springs, but snow and cold are forecast for several days. Bummer. We will work here a couple of days and see what comes next.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *