Sunday, August 27, 2017

Fossil Butte National Monument

Last night we had a GREAT sleep at Sierra Trading Post's parking lot without any generator and the temperatures at 57 with a lovely breeze.  You could barely hear the freeway and what you did hear just lulled you to sleep.  There wasn't another person around and it was peaceful and quiet.  The weather is now getting cooler and not humid any more at all. YEAH!  Once we left Nebraska, the weather started to change and we're so glad to leave the humidity of the Midwest, South and East coasts behind us!  We left Cheyenne, Wyoming this morning with the girls raring to get on the road and we set our sights on home.  It has been a long trip and it will be nice to settle back for a few days before we head to Salt Lake City in a couple weeks.
As we traveled along I-80, we came to Medicine Bow National Forest.  It was a beautiful forest with trees and pretty boulders.  I told Scott we should come back some time and camp around there.  It is just about at the Continental Divide (which we crossed over twice). Scott did his best taking photos from a bumpy, moving truck.  I'd bet there are a bunch of State Recreational camping areas there.
We also stopped for fuel at Little America, Wyoming, one of my favorite places.  I'd never been to the truck side to fuel up before and they also had their own store.  They had a much better selection of food for the truckers, but not all the goodies such as rocks, games, treats and things that are normally at the other larger store where the car folks get their fuel.

Then, just before we turned off to head toward Bear Lake, we drove through Kemmerer, Wyoming where Fossil Butte National Monument is located.  I wanted to take Cierra and Hunter there before we went on our trip but there was not enough time.  So, Scott and I finished up the trip with a visit to this national monument.  The nice thing about it is that it's only 3.5 miles off 1-80.
Fossil Butte is a place that at one time consisted of three great lakes that existed in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado 52 million years ago - Lake Gosiute, Lake Uintah and Fossil Lake.  Fossil Lake was the smallest at 60 miles long and 40 miles wide.  None remain but there are fossils from the lakes that turned into sediment that turned into the rocks known as the Green River Formation.  These rocks were limestone, mudstone and volcanic ash that preserved these fossil remains.  Fossils in the Fossil Lake region had an abundance of species such a plants, snails, crustaceans, spider, millipedes, insects, reptiles, birds, mamals and over 20 kinds of fish!  In the mid 1800's, paleontologists started to unearth these fossils.  And, evening hours are the best time for finding fossils rather than during bright sunlight.  Details of the fossils are amazing!  Some species even show teeth, scales and skin!

I'd highly recommend coming to this national monument and touring the trails and quarry. It's an lovely visitors center with great exhibits and short 13-minute video presentation.  The cool thing was that two  ladies were getting their Junior Ranger badges when I stopped in the visitor's center to stamp my book.  I thought Hunter and Cierra would find that amusing!
Outside by the visitor's center is another small exhibit showcasing the paleontologists past and present.
After Fossil Butte, we crossed over into Utah, passing Bear Lake.  The lake was her typical Caribbean blue water (although the photos aren't the best).  We made note of a couple good RV spots on the south shoreline we may try out later on.
And then we climbed the mountains into Cache Valley and drove through our Logan Canyon, crossed over at First Dam and up the mountain to home.  I'm exhausted.  After living in our RV for a month, our house seemed humongous! It's already large, but seemed even larger when we came home.  Not to get settled in and rest up for the next journey.
It's been a FABULOUS trip and we had a great time.  I would highly recommend a trip like this but take a few month to pace yourself.  Our month and all the things we accomplished would have been better served on a slower, easier pace.  Having the grandkids with us made us travel much faster than intended, but at least we got to see a nice variety of what our country has to offer us by way of history and land.  Soon, we'll start a new adventure. Stay tuned for another ride...

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