The towns surrounding Dinosaur National Monument in Utah have really capitalised on their prehistoric roots by erecting giant pastel cartoon dinos all over the place. Which is awesome, seeing as the real things aren’t available (and would no doubt be less friendly).
We drove through Vernal on the way to the Monument and took some happy snaps.
A very patriotic T-Rex stands strong near the Texaco.
And a friendly looking sauropod smiles hello just outside the park.
We set up camp at one of our most picturesque spots yet, right near the river.
After dinner and a swim we took in yet another fantastic sunset.
Which was almost eclipsed (pardon the pun) by the shockingly bright moonrise behind it.
The next day we headed to the visitors centre to take a shuttle up to Dinosaur Quarry.
The fossil beds at Dinosaur were discovered in 1909 by palaeontologist Earl Douglass and the famous quarry is a graveyard wall embedded with nearly 1,500 dinosaur bones.
These are 150 million year old fossils. Crazy.
We took a tour around the outside area with a park ranger and Andrew, a geologist, was loving life.
We later ventured further into the park to check out the canyons, rock formations and petroglyphs (cave drawings).
The petroglyphs are a measly 1000 years old, which is apparently nothing compared with the fossils. Forgive me but I find evidence of humans from 1000 years ago somewhat more interesting than a fossilised clam from a period of time I can’t quite wrap my brain around.
Another night, another spectacular sunset.
That night we took in another ranger talk, this time on stars and constellations. The ranger was adorably enthusiastic and you could just tell she had practiced the delivery of her ancient Greek and Roman mythological star stories in front of a mirror. Bless.
The next day we drove out of Utah, stopping to capture this epic state sign along the way:
Next stop: Colorado.