Day 34 – Dinosaurs And Bryce Canyon

Saturday, September 25, 2010
Miles To Date: 
5 232

We hit quite a big milestone today: 5000 miles! It certainly doesn’t feel like we have driven that far, despite averaging over 1500 miles a week.

The day started with us heading out of Tuba City, towards Page, Arizona. On the way we saw a sign saying pull over to see genuine dinosaur fossil tracks. Intrigued, we pulled in and were approached by one of a few natives standing by the side of a stall. We asked how much and he said he would show us around the tracks for a tip/donation. This seemed fair so we went on a walk around the area. There were hundreds of prints, which apparently date back to around 165 million years ago. However, some of the guide’s claims seemed a bit farfetched – early on he asked if we had seen Jurassic Park, and every print we saw from that point seemed to be from a dinosaur featured in the film (raptor, t-rex, stegosaurus etc). He even told us some were fossilised excrement and some eggs, complete with fossilised yolk on display.

Feeling rather sceptical we later did some research on the internet and found out the tracks are indeed from real dinosaurs but it is impossible to know which ones. Also t-rex outdates the tracks by about 100 million years!…and the ‘egg’s and ‘excrement’ are just lumps of iron. Despite these blatant lies, it was still interesting to see the tracks, and we only gave the guide a small tip anyway!

After the short detour, we headed onwards to Page, and then north to our planned stop of the day at Bryce Canyon. We are starting to feel somewhat immune to the site of canyons and sandstone formations, but Bryce canyon has a unique feature: amphitheatres of hoodoos. A hoodoo is ‘a tall, thin spire of rock which protrudes from the bottom of a badland’ (courtesy of Wikipedia). Amphitheatres merely refers to them being found in large quantities in the park’s canyons. We spent a few hours driving around the park taking photos of the formations, and even drove to our highest elevation yet: 9115 ft.! The views from that high up were great, and they came with a noticeable decrease in temperature. Pronghorn deer roam freely around the park and we even came across some stubborn stags in the road a few times.

For the night we are staying in Hatch, Arizona (population 127). It seems like a nice area and the motel has a restaurant where we had some delicious burgers. Tomorrow we head to the grandest canyon of them all: The Grand Canyon. Specifically, the North Rim.

Photo(s) of the day: Lauren’s hand compared to a dino-footprint, and me above Bryce Point.