From Salt Lake City, we headed north and east to visit the Dinosaur National Monument. On the way, we went through Heber City. Here we came across a group of people playing bubble ball. See the video. The game loosely follows the rules of soccer but all the players wear this giant inflated bubble around the upper part of their bodies, only legs outside the bubble. It looked like a lot of fun and was very colorful to watch. Some of the players rolled across the field after being bumped off their feet.
Dinosaur National Monument is outside of Vernal, UT near the Utah and Colorado border. The dinosaur fossils are on the Utah side of the park. It is a beautiful area with the Green River running through the park.
Scientists believe that the mountains we see today were once covered by soil, thousands of feet deep. The Green River ran across the land, slowly cutting its way into the soil making its own canyon. The Green River, trapped in its canyon, was forced to cut its way through the mountain rather than going around it. Split Mountain is where the Green River cut a mountain into two parts. It looks different than the other mountains in the area. Today we see the mountains that were covered by the soil that has been removed by erosion.
There is an enclosed air-conditioned quarry that contains a 2-story high wall which is the exposed paleontological diggings of the Morrison Formation, it contain the bones of the dinosaurs that have been excavated there. Many bones have been removed and are on display at museums, but hundreds of bones remain on the wall in-situ. This wall was once a bank of the Green River situated at a bend in the river. The dinosaur bones here were washed down the river by floods and at this place the water slowed down enough that the larger bones settled onto the bank. Smaller bones too light to resist the river current were carried away somewhere downstream.
At the quarry, you can see the partial remains of 1,500 dinosaurs, including Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, Camarasaurus, Diplodicus, and Stegosaurus. These were some big dinosaurs. The skeletons are incomplete since they were carried by the river water to this location and only the heavier bones settled in this location. The bones of the different dinosaurs are also mixed together on the wall for the same reason.
At the park you can camp, fish, and float the Green River. It is in the middle of nowhere USA, you need to be prepared to bring everything you need with you. There is no shopping nearby. Water is available in the campgrounds but not at individual campsites. There is no electricity in the campground.
This is one of the more remote areas of the country, it is a DARK SKY location where the Milky Way will look like a blue white soft blanket in the sky. It is a great place for star gazing.