These adventures are again: in no particular order.
1. McConkie Ranch.
Naomi & Bev (two park volunteers) invited me on this fun & sunny outing. This is the quirkiest place to see petroglyphs just outside of Vernal, Utah (not inside the monument). The McConkie family has done an excellent job at preserving petroglyphs & pictographs on their property. There is little vandalism. For $4 a car (based on an honor system jar) you are welcome to walk the several trails for viewing. The best trail map is posted on the fridge in the “visitor center” or whatever building this might be considered. There are also walking sticks provided.
Trails are mostly obvious and one takes you on a cow pasture detour to avoid private land (not owned by the McConkies).
On the cow pasture/petroglyph tour…go to the end and you will see a sign for “Three Kings Panel.” These petroglyphs are not obvious at first, but look up (like, way up!) and you will see the most ornate and beautiful petroglyphs (with pictographs–note the pink paint on the pot and center king).
Also: Watch for snakes. We saw this horrible fellow (likely a pigmy rattlesnake) after hearing a distinct “Hiss.”
Don’t forget to write your comments on a sticky note and pay $1 for soda or bottled water in the fridge. (There are more sticky note comments in the freezer).
A worthwhile & weird experience!
2. Red Fleet Dinosaur Trackway
Red Fleet State Park is slightly outside Vernal and well worth the visit. Get a map of Red Fleet to find directions to the dinosaur trackway trail. The trail is usually well-marked but we did veer off a time or two. The tracks themselves are easy to find and HUGE. This placard (below) describes the history far better than I could. The Dilophosaurus was apparently featured in Jurassic Park (obviously there is more to the dinosaur than that, but…) There are other dinosaur species who made tracks in this area as well.
A trackway is apparently two or more tracks from the same animal. This is a rare sight! If you are interested: here is a decent (and not super complicated) source discussing dinosaur tracks and trackways.
Also, the reservoir makes for a charming backdrop to dinosaur track heaven.
3. More Dinosaur tracks!
Holy smokes! I didn’t even know this was a thing, much less a thing I would see in real life. Two super friendly park employees (David & Sonja) took us on a walk to find some nearby dinosaur tracks.
This was incredibly exciting, especially when we were able to note possible tracks on our own.
Also, the area was gorgeous. And Sonja is a geologist. So we got a bit of a geology lesson.
4. Mary Poppins.
This still has nothing to do with dinosaurs but we did see the high school production of Mary Poppins and it did not disappoint. If you happen to be in Vernal, Utah when Vernal high school is putting on a theater production, it may be worth your time. Just don’t go on Monday night unless you like lots of children. Lots of children. And this was not as cool as dinosaur tracks. I have no pictures. They would not allow it.
5. River trip down the Green River.
This was a wild and exceptionally special opportunity. We rafted from Rainbow Park down to the Split Mountain campground. Pretty sure these were mild rapids, but they were more rapid-y than anything I’d experienced before, so I mostly just held on. Permits on this river are super competitive, so we were super damn lucky to be able to do this!
The last treat of the trip was to watch three bighorn rams sparring.
After the river trip I went home and took a nap. I rarely ever take naps, but sitting on a raft and doing absolutely nothing made me want to pass out.
All fabulous days here!
Echo Park and Hikes with Joe coming soon…