Wednesday, April 30

Fossil Point

Among the many trails surrounding us here in Castle Country, one is called Fossil Point, but basically it didn't matter what the road led to, for us it's just an excuse to go for a drive. We love going for drives. It's what we do. Whether it's a drive in the country, thru the mountains, along the oceans, amongst canyon walls, or as is the case lately, transporting back to the Jurassic Era, a good drive is our drug....and Utah's giving us our fix.

The drive to Fossil Point started out heading south from Green River, into the San Rafael desert past miles and miles of gray shale until the more colorful and older geological layers were gradually being exposed.
road to Fossil Point

We have now officially entered the badlands of the Jurassic (and I know this because my handy dandy brochure from the KOA office told me so). But also because we could actually envision the dinosaurs roaming this land.

I could see a brontosaurus drinking from this reservoir.
it's mud, not water

DinoExpert Jake, however, says it was a velociraptor I saw, and he had the tracks to prove it.
road to Fossil Point 050

Right after the reservoir is a smaller, primitive dirt road that leads to Fossil Point and the resting ground of many dinosaur bones and fossils. My instructions were to drive 1.2 miles and "park on the large flat area" and "Fossil Point is the rocky outcropping 116 feet above and to the East".
Fossil Point

One: I do not know how to set the tripometer in my car, with all it's fancy gadgets.
Two: There are at least half a dozen separate rocky outcroppings.
Three: I need more instructions.

One large flat area: check.
Fossil Point parking lot

Next my instructions say, "just start exploring the boulders for bones" and "there are some large vertebrae and other bones embedded in some rocks right at ground level." Go ahead, Jake...just start exploring!
boulders at Fossil Point
No, really, it's nothing like finding a needle in a me.

I doubt this is anything, but it's the closest we came to even trying to force an imaginary fossil. boulders It looks like it could be vertebrae. no?

Oh well, we pretty much gave up before we even started because Joey and the kids kept finding cool rocks, and I was fixating on these itty bitty little flowers that popped up sporadically. This little pink plant was about one inch big, and looked like it was coated in sugar crystals.
teeny tiny plant in San Rafael desert

This little two inch tall one was another one of my favorites.
pretty tiny flower in desert
They were so incredibly tiny!

After a bit I wandered over to a different rocky outcropping, the tallest one near where we parked, and decided it was Fossil Point and if I climbed all the way to the top I would be rewarded with "enormous casts and fossil bones once belonging to a Brontosaurus, among others."
view from top
All I saw from up top was a mini hotwheel car and some toothpicks rock hunting. It was a good workout hiking up that sandy mountain, though!

When we were ready to go we decided to keep going a little further South, and just see what we find.
road to Fossil Point
We found the land got redder, and that we could go on for days...but with no GPS on us, or cell phone reception anymore, topped with the fact that no one knew where we were, we didn't.

Horse Bench Reservoir
We went back to Horse Bench reservoir to climb around it's many boulders and take in different views of the reservoir. I love this body of water, not because it's red, but because it's not even water!
Muddy Reservoir
It's solid mud! Trippy, huh? All those ripples in it...drying mud.

A little rock collecting, boulder hiking, lizard chasing, sight seeing, and fly practicing.
Strong wind
It's what Jake does.

Appreciating her life and all the pretty things in it...
Jewel with flowers
That's what Jewel does.

What do you do?

Monday, April 28

A Whole Lot of Nothing

I've learned something about myself....I learned that the amount I blog is directly related to how happy I am with my latest photos. It's not enough to just tell you about our trip to Lake Powell last week, or about what an amazing place Goblin Valley State Park is. If I don't have a good enough picture to post, I don't even want to talk about it.


I didn't get a picture of Jonas' ear split open after his earring tore it into fish lips, so I won't even bother to write about how one of my biggest fears for the kids in getting earrings, actually came true, and everyone was totally freaked out...except the person who lost his favorite Pirates of the Caribbean earring....and didn't even feel it rip his ear open.

A picture couldn't even convey the feelings I have for my boy that saw me sitting outside, relaxing in the outdoor recliner....shivering, when his little hand reached out the bus window to hand me a warm sweatshirt.


My kids don't text or IM anyone, yet when they're playing video games they keep screaming out "OMG".

Jonas is still a vegetarian and has been for almost nine full months. He had his little sister converted for a bit, but she couldn't give up hamburgers. Now she's part vegetarian and part meat eater, according to her.


One of my photos has been requested for use in a a graphic design firm that worked for Al Gore on An Inconvenient Truth, and now I need to figure out what accreditation I want. Why am I having a hard time with this?


As much as I try, I can't not include at least one photo.
Valley of the goblins
Unlike the hoodoo's in other national parks, Goblin Valley allows visitors to explore every inch of theirs. Talk about the greatest playground on Earth!
goblin valley

Dream it, and it will come.
surfing a goblin

Friday, April 18

Swasey Beach and Nefertiti Rapids

Book Cliffs
That view from our campsite, it's not The Maze like I read, but then questioned, and still wrote actually Bookcliff, and the destination of our latest adventures.

Heading North into Bookcliffs is a trail known as Hastings Road to Nefertiti Rapids. It's a seventeen mile road through prehistoric land that follows the green river, passing several popular rapids.
Green River

At about mile seven the pavement ends, and the real adventure begins.
4x4 trails

We're right up next to the Bookcliff rims now.
4x4 road to Nefertiti rapids

We saw an extinct Teridactyl!
flying dinosaur
Yes, it was a blue Teridactyl and we won't believe anything otherwise.

We didn't get out too much on the way in, but did take some time playing at the end of the road, climbing trees and checking out the river's edge.
natures playset
I looked all over for the petroglyphs I read were out here, but I couldn't find them anywhere so we reluctantly made our back out.

Barely back in the car and heading south, Joey spotted the petroglyphs! They were on my side, and on a rock only the size of a small jet, so it's no wonder I missed them on the way up.
Ancient petroglyphs along Green River

I took this picture from the petroglyphs.
view from petroglyhs
So if you're reading this and plan on checking them out, they're this close to the road.

The way back we stopped alot, well...whenever there was enough room to park and get out, that is.
sandy beach along Green River
The kids had a blast running around this bend in the river and the hot sand felt fahh-bulous under our barefeet.
Green River


But you know kids, they just can't seem to stay away from the water.
getting dirty

sandy beach along Nefertiti rapids road

Or the mud.

Cleaning mud off
At least he tried to clean up.

This stretch of the green river is most popular for it's rapids, and this old stone house marks the point of one of these rapids, the Stone House Rapids. It must have been hard thinking up that name.
Stone House

It's also where Jewel and I chased a lizard, but then were both too chicken to catch it.
Jewel found something

He sensed our fear and posed for us instead.

We could have used a pit stop at this point, and while it did look inviting....

I'm just not that adventurous.
Talk about being one with nature

This tree is for you, Chris.

There's a point of the trail that killed any ideas we may have had about bringing the bus back in here.
4x4 trails
So on the way out I decide to get out to see just how tight of a squeeze it is.
4x4 trails
I determine it's not as tight as it appears from inside the vehicle and make my way back to the car.
4x4 trails
And in typical Joey fashion....he keeps on going, but I don't really care because 'Hey, I'm taking pictures, and don't have a care in the world....
4x4 trails
And come witin millimeters of completely losing it. I've suffered some minor injuries for my sport, but tumbling down this hill was one I'm glad I didn't have to suffer!

Swasey Beach is where the dirt meets back up with the pavement, and where we came back to the next day to play in the water.
Swasey Beach

Here you can see some rapids, and river guides just coming in watching the kayakers go through the rapids. They didn't look like much until we saw the little kayaks, and then saw one flip over.
kayakers on Green River
Maybe we can't float our little blow up four person boat down it after all.

Playing in this spot of the river isn't as safe as we thought it was, either. After we got there the following day and just starting to play around a woman came up to us to talk to us. She said she was a river guide and told us about the dangerous under currents and that we were in a very unsafe spot and to not let the kids go past a foot out.
Swasey Beach
See the top of the sand? The water level is that high in the summer. And notice how quickly it drops off? That's what it does a couple feet past the current edge of the river.
Swasey Beach
It looks so tame, but without warning one could be swept away by the strong under currents, and get carried downstream. I'm so glad that woman happened to be there.

While Joey built cliff dwellings in the sand, and Jake directed the building of The Failed Inventions Museum to his people, a.k.a Jewel and Jonas, I layed out on the warm sand and absorbed me some sun rays.

Life is good.

Monday, April 14

Crystal Geyser

So to continue on with the other day......we left the state park and after playing at the city park's playground for a while we decided to take one of the dirt roads off I-70 and see where it takes us. The very first exit we come to has a small sign saying Crystal Geyser, so we follow the dirt road out.
view towards Crystal Geyser
About seven miles later we meet up with the Green River, see something, so we stop to check it out.

What is it?
checking out mud pots @ Crystal Geyser
I don't know....let me touch it and find out.
mud pots at Crystal Geyser

There were no warning signs so we just hoped it was safe. It was.

Then we saw the geyser.
Crystal Geyser
There's a steel pipe installed right at the mouth of the geyser, but I don't know exactly why. We think it's so it helps it shoot straight up in the air when it erupts? We didn't get to see an eruption, but we found out after we got home, and researched it, that it erupts sporadically every 12-16 hrs., lasting up to an hour and shooting up to sixty feet high. We definitely have to try to see one before we leave the area.

I thought that was all there was to see, but then I noticed that it was flowing down to the river.
Crystal Geyser
Crystal Geyser
I had to go get a closer look.
Crystal Geyser
I also learned later that this is a rare geyser, it's cold water powered by carbon dioxide gas, as opposed to hot water from deep below the surface. Basically, the gas builds erupts. So not only does it fart, it's safe to touch, and doesn't stink.
Crytsal Geyser

By the time I climbed back in the car, I was surprised to see we had a new driver!
Jake driving along Green River
Jake was now behind the wheel and we're heading on a narrow road right along the river.
Jake's route while driving

I got a short clip of him driving, Jonas sums it up nicely at the end:

Next Jonas gets behind the wheel. AFTER we found a nice flat area.
dirt road to Crystal Geyser
Jonas caught right on, and was cruising along at a good speed.
How ya like driving, dude?
Jonas driving
Yeah, he liked it. He ended up driving for a long time, until right after this switchback and our hearts couldn't do it anymore.
Jonas driving up switchback

We finished up the day back at the playground with Jonas teaching some nice, sweet, innocent, little Mormon boy how to fart with his armpit.
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