Today we head into Price where we stock up on some food items we forgot to buy yesterday and meet Mike, a geologist working for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Mike agreed to take us to the famous Cleveland Lloyd dinosaur quarry.
Our first stop is in Price canyon, were we admire some thin coal seams and read up on the local mining history (including famous coal mine disasters).
The dinosaur quarry is a few miles south of Price and on our way out to the bones Mike explains the local geology to us. We are looking at old stream terraces and plenty of pumpjacks. These pumps don’t pump oil but remove water from the top of a coal bed so methane has an easier time to escape and can be collected as natural gas. The dirty water … gets injected back into the ground elsewhere.
At Cleveland-Lloyd Mike tells us that most fossil bones come from predatory dinosaurs, they are all single bones – no complete skeletons, and thanks to decades of relatively poor excavating techniques it is really hard what got all these bones into such a tight space.
We look at one of the excavation sheds before we go on a nice hike through the Morrison formation. Mike points out fossilized clam beds, plenty of dinosaur footprints, hoodoos, fossil remnants, the relics of uranium prospecting and plenty of other stuff. We planned on having lunch at the quarry, but some dark thunderclouds and a return trip over dirt roads makes us leave early. We end up having our sandwiches in a gas station parking lot in nearby Wellington.
Soon we are on our way to Arches National Park, where we set up tents and head out for a little pre-dinner hike along the broken arch trail.The group quickly splits up into a slowpoke photographer group and a fast-paced explorer’s group. The slowpokes take amazing pictures and drive hungry Sarah almost to despair as there is yet one more clump of sagebrush to photograph. The explorers return to camp early and cook us a delicious dinner.