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This is my first day back after a spectacular trip! The local Jr. college
(Sierra College in Rocklin, CA.) offers a 10 day trip as part of it's summer
school program. They do a different area each time, three years ago they did
Montana and found a Ticeratops. This class was billed as "The Geology of
Dinosaurs" . I got to go and this is what I saw:
Day 1: Drive like heck though Nevada. No Dinos.
Day 2: St. George/Washington Utah for trackways.They were hidden
until the local water tank broke and the water scoured out this
ravine. (Also first day of MAJOR heat wave)
Day 3: We have camped in Warner Valley and seen those trackways. We
then head Zion National Park to learn about Navajo Sandstone etc.
Several small stops for geology. Bryce Canyon too, I hiked all
the way down into the spires they call hoo-doos.
Day 4: Learned about Ergs (big sand seas) and went to Clevland-Lloyd
quarry (like going to Mecca for me as an amatuer!) Totally cool, they
have built two shacks over the fossils, one for storage and one where
they are working. Saw Allosaurus, Stego, Camptosaurus and Camarasaurus
fossils. We leave there to camp on Cedar Mountain looking out over the
San Raffel Swell. We are camping on the Buckhorn Conglomerate.
Day 5: We have a permit and spend all day looking for fossils! After a
"scamper" down the embankment(remember that heat wave??) I found two
teeth (croc they think) and seven scraps of bone. I found as a beginner
that everything looked like a fossil at first,chirt, sandstone, you name
it. After the instructor showed me what to look for then I could pick it
out better. This is all Jurrasic Morrison. I learned a lot about
crumbling hillsides and the value of water! Not just because of the heat
but the bone I found had weathered out along a little channel where the
rain must have carried them. Our group also found a long bone which was
excavated and brought back to the school. I guess the preservation was
not good as it crummbled out in little flakes. There was only about 5
inches and then we found no more. All fossils kept were returned to the
school for prep and possible ID.
Day 6: We leave the mountain and travel through the Swell and stop
for one print which they say is a prosaurapod but I dont see how it
could be. It is tridactyl with the toes like this \l/. From
looking at The Dinosauria first of all Prosarapods have four toes
one of which was held up but in this sand should have left a
mark and their metatarsals appear to be more like this \III with \
being held off the ground. I
would like some input on this from someone out there who knows more.
We go through the back of the swell in spectacular fashion and can
see the different layers.
Day 7: Todaywe stop at Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail. This is a BLM
experiment in human nature. They have left these fossils there for the
public with no guards or fences. I don't think it is working as some
stuff is gone but it all is in horrible shape,compressed and fragmented.
No articulated stuff just bits and pieces. We then drive on and see the
infamous Potash Tracks. I guess this slab and its top layer are laying
on their side in manner that no one can tell whether it is for there or
has fallen from further up. Quite a puzzle. Anyone who goes, the park
info is wrong, it is 7 miles from turn not 4.5 miles. Somewhere in here
we are supposed to go to Moab megatracksite but 115 degree forecast
changed those plans (sigh). We then head to Colorado and the
Mygatt-Moore quarry and the Trail through Time where the bones
are also left to see but are articulated.Still a hundred and ? HOT!
Day 8: What else would one do in Colorado, we go through Dinosaur,
CO. Very small and depressing looking. But we are on our way to
Dino National Park! Totally spiffy with lots of info. They
are no longer working the face but the ranger told me that they
have a new site off aways with a Cretaceous saurapod with cranial
material. I didn't get to see it :-(
Day 9 and 10 were dedicated to getting us back to CA. Along the trip we also
stopped at the Buckhorn Wash Pictograph Panel, Dinamation's Dino Discovery
Museum, The College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum and the Utah Field
House of Natural History and Dinosaur Gardens. It was amazing how many
places still had Trachodon and one stop had a thing about Stego having two
brains! There were also a lot of little road side stops on Geology and how
it related to dinos. We also drank more water than camels, it was HOT!!!
Grand total on cost:$75 fee plus $10 to the kitty for camp fees plus your
own food and water. This was the greatest trip ever and I got my toes wet on
field work and am ready for more! This trip will be followed by The Biology
of Dinosaurs next summer, I am hoping for Montana but am not picky. Get this
they even have a Museum Prep class. Is this a great Junior college or what?
Sorry this is so long but it was an chane of a life time for a wanna be like
me and I really do not think those trackways are prosauropods! Any input
would be appreciated. Thanks!
Jennifer R. Kane