Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Moab, UT-Gold Bar Campground

On the way to Moab from Capital Reef, we stopped at the Hanksville-Burbee Dinosaur Quarry.  It was an 8 mile 4-wheel drive road into the quarry.  I felt like I was in the beginning scene of Jurassic Park.

This is the quarry location.  Some are staff from the Burbee Museum of Natural History in Rockford, IL.  Others are interns on their first dig.

They use some air tools, but lots of hard work and sweat too.

Some of the interns.

They haven't really started to work on this specimen yet.  Once a specimen is ready to be removed, they cover it with plaster, then remove it.  The plaster helps keep it from crumbling or breaking during removal.

The staff stay in town, driving the long 10 miles each way daily out to the site.  The dinosaur remains are taken out and shipped back to the Burbee Museum for restoration and study.   Brushy Basin in the Morrison Formation is a large site, comparable to the largest site in the Morrison Formation.  It has the fossilized bones of multiple Late Jurrasic dinosaurs.

On our way out we spotted this building.  It looks like some sort of biosphere,complete with air locks.  It is the Mars Desert Research Station.  Click on the link for more info, but in short, this is the second of four  habitats built for simulating Mars surface exploration.
 Moab was hot and we were boondocking with no hookups right on the Colorado River.  Because it was so hot, we didn't do as much hiking as normal.  Some did hike in Arches National Park, but we found other ways to keep cool.
In Moab, we had the opportunity to kayak.  Our first kayak was from our campground  down to Potash, about 10 miles downstream.  The water was very low and it was flat water.

The scenery was great though.  Since it was so hot, we had lots of water fights, too.

Some of us did a 4-wheel drive trip from Moab to Canyonlands National Park.  This is one of my favorite views.

The 4-wheel group.  Actually, no one really needed 4-wheel, but it was definitely high clearance.

It's always fun to drive through a hole left by a fallen boulder.

This is Gemini Bridges, a double arch.

From Canyonlands, we took this winding road 7 miles down to the valley.   The drop was over 2400 feet in less than 3 miles.  Pretty steep, but lots of fun.

We took a 2nd kayak on the upper stretch of the Colorado River which was supposed to have 9 Class I/Class 2+ rapids in about 10 miles.

We were not disappointed.  Everyone had a great time.

Even those who didn't keep the open side up.

We also had time for water gun fights.

But we also spent lots of time bailing the water out of our kayaks after each set of rapids.

Our kayaking group.

This was me going through Rocky Rapids.  Luckily I managed to keep the open side up at all times.

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