A few Saturdays ago we took a daytrip down to central Utah, to go see the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry. It's in the middle of BLM land, down gravelly dirt roads south of Price and near the tiny town of Elmo (population 368). It's extremely remote, virtually the middle of nothing. But we've really come to love this kind of desert, here it's tucked in the northern portion of the San Rafael Swell.
We investigated the cute tiny visitors center. It was manned by a well-bearded paleontologist. I asked him if he loved his job. He said he did. I loved him back.
We also looked inside the quarry buildings, where real paleontology is ongoing. It's pretty amazing, considering this place was just happened upon by a sheepherder. Think of the many countless places out there like this, grander than this, that will forever remain undiscovered. Then we took the 1.5 mile Rock Walk tour through the desert, through a relentless wind in the dying afternoon sun. We all loved it.
The pictures speak for themselves. The land is a National Natural Landmark, so you're not supposed to remove anything. Too bad Jarom and I had been gathering some rather beautiful rocks (many that had a baked clay color, a yellowish-orange glaze hardened and smoothed over the millenia). When we finished our walk, we asked the ranger-paleontologist a few questions about the rocks, and Jarom handed him one. He asked Jarom, "Do you have any more like this?" Jarom proceeded to empty his pockets, rock by rock, into a small pile. The ranger told him the rocks had to stay there. I felt bad, because Jarom had been so excited the whole time, saying "Look at this one Dad!" and running over to me to show me the rocks he found. His pockets were packed. But he understood; we explained the reasoning to him and it was fine. But a cute moment anyway.
We stopped in Elmo at a cute dinosaur-themed park (the only park) and ate lunch
After miles in the dirt, we made it!
Thumbs up for the allosaur
The quarry buildings
This is the partial rib of a sauropod, still embedded in the rock
The Rock Walk
Three of a kind
Bella hands-in-pockets, trying to stay warm in the wind
Atop the bentonite clay hill