Dinosaur National Monument in Utah

 

Today we visited Dinosaur National Monument in Utah. It is home to a huge sight of cretaceous era dinosaur bones.The sight was amazing. Many of the bones that were dug out are on display  at the Carnigie Museum in Pittsburg, PA. We have been there a few times on our Ohio journeys.

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They have built a museum around the excavated area so you can see the dinosaur remains form the inside.

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Some areas you are allowed to touch the bones.

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We hiked the Fossil Discovery Trail  and also earned our Junior Ranger badges for the park.

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We drove the Tour of Tilted Rock and learned how the Green River cut through the mountain instead of going around. We saw ancient petroglyphs on the rocks.

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Next we hiked part of Box Canyon and visited a ranch of Josie Morrison.

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A little cottontail rabbit watched us as we hiked.

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After lunch we explored at the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum. Sometimes E and I get along.

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They had really nice inactive displays and hands on area.

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Daddy keep being goofy and getting in front of the camera.

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There were several cast skeletons.

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We tried our hands at fake excavating.

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We enjoyed the Dinosaur Garden. It was similar to Dinosaur World back home  but way better quality.

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We earned special badges at the museum called Junior Scientist badges. The book was a lot of work but it was engaging.

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Back to the campground for dinner, putt putt golf and relaxing.

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Great Basin National Park

After a long day drive we arrived at Great Basin National Park on the eastern park of Nevada. Dad drove down and secured a nice campsite at Lower Lehman in the park. When he was unhitching we stayed at the visitors center and earned our Junior Ranger badges. It was a short book!

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Out back they had a “Bio Blitz” which was a study of the critters living in the waters of Lehman Creek. Our campsite backed up to Lehman Creek. We sorted all sorts of midges, mayflies, catisflies and more into different trays that they will then take to the scientists to check the quality of the river life.

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Dad got a fantastic campsite. This is Lehman Creek. It was only 10 years from the camper! We played down in the river and got cold and muddy.

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Dad took a few panoramic shots of the campsite. It really was wonderful and only $6 a night!

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We had dinner on the bumper grill and played more in the river.

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Mom, who has been promoted to chief fire starter, had a raging fire going after a few tries. It was around 50F out so the fire kept us warm.

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When the fire died down, we roasted marshmallows and weren’t rained out! IMG_0471

 

A few more shots of the wonderful scenic views from the campsite.

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When the sun started to set we drove back to the visitors center for an evening astronomy program. We learned all about the Dark Skies program. After a video and talk we got to look through the big telescopes and saw Jupiter, The high school, The Retirement Home,  The sombrero and finally a fuzzy Saturn. We were cold, wet and tired and ready for the warm camper.

In the morning we drove back for a tour of Lehman Caves. We took the Grand Palace tour.

It was a very pretty cave system with LOTS of features.

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Our favorite were called “shields”. They occur when water pours over the top. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Great Basin was a neat park and we will revisit to hike the trails someday. They website didn’t list all the amazing things to do so we only planned the two days.

Last Day in California with Uncle Matt

We were due for snow again but it never really stuck. We got up in the morning and headed back over to Matt’s house. Our first task was to take apart our fort. We had dragged a bunch of branches down for the fort.

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We took turns with the saw and the huge clippers. We got everything taken apart and loaded into Matt’s truck. I went with Matt to the dump to drop off all the yard waste.

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Next on the list was cleaning some of the rocks we got at the gem mine quarry. Matt has a really cool machine that uses crushed walnut shells and air to blow off the dirt on the rocks.

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We got a lesson on how it works and then he turned us loose to clean some of the rocks we picked.

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I worked very carefully to clean my rock.

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Then we headed to the summit again to see if we could find some snow. We found a little but and immediately started a snowball fight.

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Some iPad time and snuggles with Uncle Matt and then we headed back to the campground to pack up and get ready for Dad’s late night arrival.

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Our voyage goes eastward now…

Santa Cruz, California

We visited Natural Bridges State Park/Beach. It was very chilly and windy. Matt and I explored the beach.

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I kept my shoes dry.

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We walked out to the tidal pools and my eyes nearly popped out of my head. I have learned about tidal pools but never anything this cool.

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Two big thumbs up and one happy boy.

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The waves crash and bring water on top of the rocks. Some water stays and live begins.

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There were all sorts of marine life. Shrimp, anemones, crabs, grasses and more.

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I had to check out every single pool as not to miss anything. Matt kept an eye on me as I was near the edge of the cliff that leads to the icy cold smashing water.

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We saw the natural bridge (not plural) in the water.

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I went ninja on the waves.

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We drove down the road long the water back towards Santa Cruz and saw surfers at Steamer Point near the Surfing Museum.

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There were even sea otters swimming out with the surfers. We we were watching one man screamed WHALE. There was actually a mama and baby grey whale swimming by a few hundred years out. We watched them surface and blow water.

Next we explored the wharf and boardwalk in Santa Cruz. Everything was cold, quiet and empty.

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But we did see lots more sea lions and harbor seals.

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We crashed for a good nights sleep.

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Up early and out to the Cowell Redwoods just north of the city. This was a giant grove of redwoods this time. They are very large in width and height.

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There were “families” of trees where they all grew into one seemingly gigantic tree.

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Some you could walk under and one you could crawl inside of and stand up!

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The last one was the biggest. BIG TREE!

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After the trees I zonked out in the car. Mom said I slept most of the 4 hour drive back with the occasional waking and grumpiness.

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E even napped for a while as well.

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We had such an amazing adventure on the Pacific Coast with Uncle Matt. I am really glad we got to spend the extra time with him and learn, explore and visit.

 

 

 

Monterey Bay Aquarium FINALLY

 

When I was in 1st grade we studied marine biology in my gifted class. I became obsessed about Monterey Bay Aquarium. I would log onto their website and watch the live cams for hours. I always loved marine life but this was a goal to get to Monterey and see the animals. We arrived in the afternoon and the aquarium was closed but we wandered about on Cannery Row enjoying the sights.

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We saw the Pacific Ocean and even went out for lava cake late at night. YUMMY!

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In the morning we walked from he hotel towards the aquarium and got there a bit early. We wandered past and down the walking trail and saw harbor seals running and playing on the beach.

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There were lots of little pups as this is the time when they are not quite weened from mamas milk.

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We got to the aquarium at 10am and started to explore. Mom was over chatting with some of the volunteers about the webcams I so love. Somehow she talked to the right person and we got to go on a free private tour of the jellyfish store closet. It was huge, we only got to go in a bit but it was awesome. We got to see how ig the tanks really are, not just what you see framed out on the other side.

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We saw jellyfish species not on display for the public to see.

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We saw the moon jelly fish tank where they have thousands of baby moon jellies.

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When we finished we walked in the public area and checked out the tanks from the front.

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I loved the recycled plastic creations.

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I enjoyed the overlooks on the Pacific Ocean and looking out into the water.

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We got to see the feeding at the Open Ocean display. The tuna were HUGE!

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More jellies!

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The touch tanks were better than anything I have seen before. I made pals with all the mine women docents. I think most kids touch and run and we stayed and talked and asked questions.

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The aquarium was everything I wanted and more. I did go through that let down of looking forward to something for so long and it finally being done. Tired, exhausted but HAPPY!

 

Yosmite National Park

We had a grand adventure at Yosemite National Park in California. We arrived on a very crowded Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day Mom! The first thing we saw was lots of really big waterfalls.

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Uncle Matt stopped at some near vistas and we got to see what names Yosemite Valley famous. The trees were a welcome break after weeks in the desert.

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The waterfalls seemed to get bigger and bigger as we explored.

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We visited the village area and checked out the museum and learned about Native Americans. I learned a lot about obsidian and tool making. It was cool that they used part of a deer antler to shape the obsidian! We also got to hold a real atl-atl.

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Up next we hiked the Lower Falls Trail to the base of the waterfall. Matt and I braved the rocks a bit to explore closer. I worked on my Jurnion Ranger badge by cleaning up trash as we walked along.

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Some people were nuts and walked right out to the raging waterfall and slippery rocks. We played it safe.

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There were some slack liners over the upper falls but we couldn’t get a good photo of those nutty people. We looked a park relief map and saw how many hiking trails were in the park.

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There were many trees down across a section of a smaller river. I begged to cross the river.

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I made it all the way without falling in or even getting my shoes wet.

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Yeah me!

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We took a trip out of the south entrance to see the Mariposa Groves aka Big Trees.

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This is a giant grove of sequoia trees. They are very fat but not that tall.

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I was tuckered a bit and lagged behind at my own pace for a long time.

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Finally catching up at the Grizzly Giant. It was gigantic!

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There is even a tree that people used to “drive” through with horse drawn carriages.

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More Big Trees.

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We earned ur Junior Ranger badges and patches.

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The badges are made of WOOD! No plastic like the other parks.

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Fun Around Lake Tahoe Area

We had a nice drive around Lake Tahoe stopping at some amazing views and fun places to hike.

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We even found snow in some of the higher elevations.

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There was a beautiful waterfall that I wanted to walk across but Mom wouldn’t let me.

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There were lots of huge rocks to climb.

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We got stuck in an annoying bike race that closed down the roads in both directions for only 84 cyclists.

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We hiked up Eagles Peak for a spectacular view.

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We skipped rocks in Lake Tahoe.

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Uncle Matt was an excellent tour guide.

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I ran across the shore of Lake Tahoe. Not as good as the photo in the banner of my blog but this is the same place that photo was taken.

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We went to a rock and gem show in Reno and I learned how to pan for gold. I am learning how to identify different rocks and gems.

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We did some crafts and I made a long beaded necklace.

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We spent a few hours at a place called Crystal Peak Gem Mine digging and smashing rocks looking for quartz crystals. We found a few small crystals but many larger nice pieces that we thought were pretty.

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I liked the sledgehammer approach.

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It was a fun outing and I would love to go back and spend another day!

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Uncle Matt taught us what to look for to hopefully find the best places.

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We will clean our rocks and gems and then take them home with us.

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SNOW!

We drove to the summit area of the ski resorts and hunted snow. It flaked a little at the campground and at Matt’s but more at the higher elevations. We had fun making snowballs.

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We got to throw a FEW at Uncle Matt then Mom changed the rules to only at the kids!

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The snow throwing continued all around the parking lot.

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Emmerson is quite mean with snow! He can dish it out but has a hard time taking it.

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We drove around Donner Lake. The view was beautiful but the wind was piercing cold.

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Back to Uncle Matt’s for down time. Which means playing on his giant yoga balls.

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I took a “nap” for all of about 45 seconds. I claim it was a POWER nap.

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Truckee Visit with Grandpa John

We visited the Donner Museum today. The exhibit hall was closed due to a remodel but we watched the video and learned all about the Donner Family. Apparently through Mom’s side of the family there are distant relations to the Donners. We also learned that one of the families that survived were the “Reed” Family. I wonder if I have immigrant trail blood on both sides of my family?

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We hiked a short trail around the woods and across Donner Creek. I climbed every rock I could find to get up.

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E and I found little tiny fish in the cold river.

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Which lead to me wanting to cross the river via the giant rocks.

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I made it safely across.

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Check Emmerson’s blog to see how he did!

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I went with Uncle Matt back to his house while Mom and Grandpa John went to visit the camper. I worked more of a structure I started in the morning.I have been hauling all the branches that have fallen in the side yards down to my fort area. I even fashioned a flag out of a branch and some twine!  It is now the Donner’s winter shelter. I am hoping it snows tonight so I can see how well it works!

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We had a nice time with Grandpa. We haven’t seen him in about 6 years.

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The drive back to the camper from Uncle Matt’s was very pretty. The sun was peaking through the rain clouds and the snow on the mountain peaks was glowing white.

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Truckee, California

We have landed in the mountains with green trees, water and peacefulness. We are staying at Truckee River RV park and it is very nice. We have grass outside of the camper and there are LOTS of birds to lay in the grass and watch. We saw Uncle Matt and he helped us celebrate adding California to our state map.

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We dropped Dad off at the Reno airport so he can fly home for work. We got the truck washed and ran a few errands in Reno and then spent part of the day at a place called The Discovery. It is a hands of all ages science museum.

We saw a trout hatchery in the tanks. They will release them into the Truckee River in a few weeks.

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We practiced weaving fake baskets.

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We explored all the history of the area.

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There was a lot of technology and we had a great time playing, building and exploring.

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I made a cool airplane while multitasking watching a 3D printed make a tiny cupcake!

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We have lots of plans for this area and will update in a week or so as the internet at the campground isn’t the best. We are borrowing signal from Uncle Matt to upload everything! :)