July 1, 2009
Today was no different then any other day- filled with activity and no time to rest. First up was a tour of the Wyoming Dinosaur Center a 16,000 square foot museum with more then 30 full skeletal mounts and hundreds of fossils on display. It was amazing to walk through the museum and see the fossils that have been discovered from here and all over the world.
Wyoming has been the hot spot for finding dinosaur remains since the 1993 discovery in the hills overlooking Thermopolis. The Center is world-renowned and houses the only Archaeopteryx in North America. (Don’t know what that is but it is a real find)). There is a skeleton of the second known example of Supersaurus vivianae, a 106-ft long dinosaur that weighed an estimated 40 tons and took over a year to reconstruct. “Jimbo” may be the largest dinosaur ever found in Wyoming. The body parts found so far include a rib that is 9.5 feet in length. This guy was really BIG!!!!! The burial of Jimbo tells a tale of severe drought, fire and high energy mud flows.
We were brought to an active excavation site by bus and were intrigued by the many bones of dinosaurs buried in the hillside. The dig has been going on since 1994 and is expected to take at least 400 years to complete. How fortunate are we to have been able to come here and see history in the making.
Later in the afternoon we decided to head out to Legend Rock Petroglyphs. We had to go to the visitor center in town to get the key to unlock the gate to Legend Rock. A gate has been installed to keep out the vandals that have been defacing the petroglyphs.
The ride to Legend Rock was very long – approximately 30 miles one - way. I’m not sure why but when there is nothing but miles and miles of vast openness as far as the eye can see it seems to take longer to get to your destination. First we drove a two- lane highway, then a two-way dirt road, then a one-lane dirt road then finally our destination. But not before we saw what looked like pyramids in the distance. We thought – WOW- we either drove all the way to Egypt or we can see all the way to Egypt. Actually the Pyramids turned out to be pyramid structures of tar.
We unlocked the gate as instructed then locked it behind us. We were alone- very alone with no other human around for miles. There were warnings about rattlesnakes and keeping on the trail so we complied. The trip was worth it in spades. The Petroglyphs were the clearest, easiest to find and the most spectacular we have ever been lucky enough to see. It was hard to believe how well preserved they were and we didn’t even mind the two mile round trip walk in the blaring heat.
The ride back to the MH didn’t seem as long as the ride out. Ron wanted to partake in a dip in the mineral springs community pool but I was a little reluctant to put a bathing suit on and venture out in public. The town has a public bathhouse that houses both an indoor and outdoor hot springs pool. They allow 20 minute of free time in the pool. Free is always good so instead of going to the private pools we took advantage of the state pool and soaked for the twenty minutes allowed. The water was around 105 degrees and was very relaxing. (Yes, I poured my sausage body into my bathing suit, threw caution to the wind and took the plunge). It was a great end to a hectic day.