Getting in/out of vans; driving about 46 miles, approximately 1 hour. Walking/hiking during field trip about 1.5 miles, approximately 1.5 hours each way; moderately steep, some stairs, uneven sections and rocky areas. Desert climate conditions, very hot in summer. Loaner day packs provided; walking poles available. Bring water, snacks, sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hat; good walking shoes essential. Participants may elect to walk/hike all or part of the way.
We will board the vans and travel to Dinosaur National Monument just outside the tiny town of Jensen, Utah. As the National Park Service says, “Dinosaurs once roamed here. Their fantastic remains are still visible embedded in the rocks. Today, the mountains, desert and untamed rivers flowing in deep canyons, support an array of life. Petroglyphs hint at earlier cultures. Later, homesteaders and outlaws found refuge here.” From the Visitor Center, we’ll take their shuttle up to the Quarry Exhibit Hall. There, we’ll meet a Park Ranger and hike along the Fossil Discovery Trail that cuts through several layers of rock. We’ll go through areas where we will be able to see small fossils and even pieces of dinosaur bones. The fossils look like rock, so the Park Ranger will help us understand what we’re seeing.
At Dinosaur National Monument Visitor Center, we’ll have boxed lunches.
After lunch, we’ll explore the Quarry Exhibit Hall located over the world-famous Carnegie Dinosaur Quarry where a Park Ranger will give us a detailed presentation. This “wall of bones” includes some 1,500 preserved fossils. Why are there so many in one place? More than 150 million years ago, there was a terrible drought here. Many dinosaurs gathered along the last remaining rivers and died when the water dried up. Each grandchild will receive a “Dino Pack” to keep that includes a real dino bone, real dino dung (called Coprolite), real dino egg shell, and a magnifying glass to examine these cool items! Grandkids will be also given Ranger Workbooks as a Park Ranger leads this fun and educational presentation. At the conclusion, grandkids will be sworn in as a Dinosaur National Monument Junior Ranger and presented their Park Ranger Badge! After, we’ll take the Park Shuttle back down to the Visitor’s Center and travel to Cub Creek on the Utah side of the Monument to see petroglyphs. From 2,500 to 1,000 years ago, there were Native Americans living here. They have been labeled the Fremont people for the Fremont River, but there were different groups who had different ways of life. They left petroglyphs (images chipped or carved into rock) and pictographs (images painted on rock) that tell us something about their culture. Next, we’ll ride to the Josie Bassett Cabin to learn about Josephine (Josie) Bassett Morris. She led a complicated life to the age of 90, homesteading at this location most of her life, until her death on May 1, 1964. At this location, she built her own cabin and lived mostly off the land — although she may have been a bootlegger and cattle rustler, too!
At the Josie Bassett Morris Cabin, we’ll have a picnic dinner in this old log cabin where Butch Cassidy once hung out.
At the cabin, we’ll hear fascinating presentations, complete with many photos passed around from the Group Leaders about both Josie’s history, her homestead, and other outlaws such as Butch Cassidy and his “Wild Bunch” gang. As we sit back in camp chairs at the cabin, imagine being a cowboy, a settler, or an outlaw and living out West in a box canyon. We’ll then return to the hotel.