Wednesday, May 14, 2008


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

Bones everywhere

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

Gnarled tree

Atop the bentonite clay hill

Step sitters


moonshinejunkyard said...

you guys seriously slay me. number one, first and foremost, for your cuteness. secondly, for your adventurousness. getting outside for all these activities is probably the best gift on earth you can give your children, well one of them. anyway it is funny how immediately i could tell who was writing this one. same family, same activities, but slightly different writing styles. you guys are both very good narrators. i am so in love with how oey looks like a little tiny full grown man sitting there having his snack or looking sweetly up at the camera. oh man i need to see more of that little guy and all of you. bella is so adorable and good-natured, just hanging out in the chilly wind walking along with her hands in her pockets. the story you told about jarom kills me. i wish he could've at least snuch ONE home! he is so amazingly curious and investigative and engaged in the world around him. he has a special brilliance that i just respect so much. matt and amy, you guys look great. amy looks so ladylike and classy in these photos. a very glamorous momma, in a natural way. i love how mattie surveys the scene so completely, figuring it all out, like a giant puzzle. the naming thing...your love of language and the need to acknowledge and name and fully grasp, well, you are just a scholar at heart. a mellower version of jarom as his daddy. anyway thanks for cheering up my late-night writing fest. love you guys so much!

spring said...

Chalk up another adventure for the great Beatty clan! What fun. I wish I could have been there. I think even I could have done that walk. I love the dinosaur bones thumbs up picture. Well, just all of them really. What Heather says about little Oey is so so true. I can't wait to hug him and squeeze him. Next Friday night! Yeah! You all are just the cutest. What a bestest example of what a family can be. I also agree so much with Heather about who's writing what. You both are such good writers and I can tell too whos narrating this time. Love your blogs and pictures beyond words and I love you so much my heart overflows, Nana

Josh said...

That looks awesome! We need to get out there!

Papa Dan said...

ggvsdWhat a splendid outing. Looks like it was just the right time to visit(with sweaters, and coats you were wearing), since I bet that it is pretty warm by the time June arrives. What a great learning experience for the kids and you two. Hey, wonder why the bones are the only part of the living that go on forever, never disintegrating--your bones are like rocks--maybe even more durable. Matt probably knows-er I mean Mikie. Oh well

mooncowboy said...


All the organic tissue decomposes--usually the bones do too, but under the right conditions they turn into rock. The fossilized bones are actually made of minerals (rock), not actual bone anymore. That's why they're so much heavier. Just like petrified wood. Under the right conditions (no oxygen, usually buried under water like in mud or a seabed), little bits of mineral seep into the bones and replace the cells one by one, till it's all turned into rock. Pretty cool huh.

Organic tissue can be preserved too, also under the right conditions. Like mummies, or bog bodies. Too bad the dinosaurs didn't mummify each other. The closest we have now are skin imprints.

Glory Watts said...

I don't think I'll ever fully comprehend the fact that we have these million year old dinosaur bones in the crazy is that! I love to see and hear about all of your fun and informative adventures as a family. You guys really are such an adorable family, always on the go. I have to say, you guys are awsome at keeping up to date with your blog. Maybe someday I can be like you! Love you tons!!!