Road Trip 2018: Grand Teton National Park

After our Dinosaur Dig adventure we began our return trip west.  We drove out past the end of civilization into the wilderness until we came to The Hatchet which is pretty much entirely by itself along Highway 287.  We watched the sunset behind the mountains wreathed in smoke from the fires raging across the country and went to bed.

The next morning it was up and out to try to get into Grand Teton National Park while there was still parking available.  We made it, but not by much.  We stopped in a shop to pick up some snacks for our hike up to and around Moose Pond.  Sadly, we didn't see any moose.  But it was still quite pretty and calm.

This sign was suspiciously similar to the signs in Jurassic Park....including the arrow which looks like you could peel it off and point it in any direction.

Once we finished our hike we drove to Jackson Hole and rode the gondolas up the mountain.

Hey, when Heather insists I take a picture of her making a silly face, it's going to end up on the internet...

After Grand Teton we headed into Idaho.  I had originally hoped to get all the way to Arco, but it became clear that was not going to happen.  So we found somewhere to stay in Idaho Falls, ate some Culver's for dinner, and called it a night.

Road Trip 2018: Family Picture Recreations

Here are a couple of the recreated pictures:

We didn't have picture from Old Paria Cemetary with us when we tried to recreate it.  So we don't have the right people or in the right places:

I don't have the new pictures of Evan and I wearing homemade pants or of Mollie and Megan's 2nd Birthday.  They must have been taken with someone else's camera or phone.

Road Trip 2018: Wyoming Dinosaur Center

After the family reunion wrapped up, we headed up to Provo for Jess' brother's wedding.  Then we drove up in to Wyoming to the Wyoming Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis.  We thought this would be a fun and unique experience in light of Heather's long and continuing interest in paleontology.

We signed up for a "Dig for a Day" package where we got to go out to one of their active dig sites, work on the site, tour the nearby Sundance formation, work in the lab, and have a personal tour of the museum.

We were a little concerned with how well it would work out given the girls' ages, but it was a blast.  Our guides, Seth and Emily, were fantastic with the girls.  They found age-appropriate tasks for them both and kept them engaged and excited about the trip.  The only downside is just how far out in the middle of nowhere Thermopolis is; but if you've got kids interested in paleontology and you happen to be anywhere in the vicinity, I highly recommend the experience.

We got to work on Foot Site which has been active for ~20 years yielding over 550 fossils so far.  One primarily finds diplodocus bones there.

Here come a lot of pictures:

 

Heather found a fossil!  When found, fossils are marked with white-out and an identifier is written on the white-out.  So the white-splotch she's pointing at is the white-out.  In this formation, the fossils are a dark grey color among the light tan of the surrounding rock.

As the discoverer of the fossil, she got to put her name in the site tracking book on the entry for the fossil.  This information will follow the fossil through its scientific life cycle.

 

I found a fossil too!  One of our guides made an initial determination that it's a chevron from the tail of a diplodocus.  That will validated once fully excavated.  It's fully embedded in stone, so I spent quite a while carefully chiseling away stone.  After being encouraged to be a little more aggressive I managed to break the fossil twice.  But that was no big deal, some super-glue and were back in business.

My approach to finding the fossil was to estimate the depth of the existing fossils on the site and then simply move a few feet over and work my way down to that same level.  And it worked!

 

Kyle's Fossil.  This is about 4 inches of exposed fossil and the guides estimate it's probably about half of the bone.

 

We had lunch at Foot Site and did a little more excavating.  Then we drove out to the Sundance Formation.  Which is the shores of an ancient sea.  Here fossils of clams and other sea creatures are just littered all over.  At Foot Site they catalog all the fossils and return them to the lab for scientific evaluation.  At Sundance, anything you can find you can keep.  We have a 1-gallon bag of fossil-containing rocks from here.

 

It was hot out on Sundance, so we shortly returned to the air-conditioning of the lab and learned a bit about specimen cleaning.  I believe the guides said that for every hour on the dig site you end up spending about 6 hours in the lab.  We used dental picks, toothbrushes, and pneumatic chisels to carefully remove the rock surrounding some vertebra.

 

Once we finished up in the lab, Seth and Emily gave us a personal tour of the museum.

 

A maiasaura nest:

After our great day of paleontology we piled back up in the van to head out toward Grand Teton National Park.

Road Trip 2018: Dickerson Family Reunion – Family Pictures

Here's the group.  (Megan's family was not in attendance.)

 

The children:

 

The grandchildren:

We also did some old photo recreations, but since I don't have the originals we were recreating, it doesn't make much sense to post the new ones.  If someone in the family gets those to me, I'll put them up.

Road Trip 2018: Dickerson Family Reunion – Best Friends Animal Sanctuary & Coral Pink Sand Dunes

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

On August 2 we took Heather and Addie to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary for a day camp.  They got to feed some koi, took a puppy for a walk, fed it treats, and toured their medical facility.  I sat on the patio and took pictures of hummingbirds.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

After lunch we drove out to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.  We parked, got everyone sunscreened, walked out to the dunes, and a storm rolled through.  So we huddled under the observation platform and watched the storm.