Sunday, August 16, 2009

Colorado August 9-11, 2009. Rangely, Petroglyphs & Dinosaur National Monument

The morning after the fair was over in Meeker, we headed to Rangely, a small town of about 2500 people about 60 miles west of Meeker.

We like these short travel days, less than two hours from one camp to the other. While there are 4 RV Parks in Rangely, we chose to stay in the city park in a grove of large beautiful cottonwood trees. Nice shade. We do have electric and we are running the a/c. It is in the upper 80’s to low 90’s in the afternoon. Nice at night, around 50*. The RV Parks, while they have water, elect & sewer, are all gravel parking lots with only about 10 feet between one RV and the next.

Two reasons to come to Rangely: There are about 15 easy to visit pictograph and petroglyph sites within 20 miles of town, and Dinosaur National Monument is about 40 miles away.

We took a quick all day drive to and through Dinosaur NM (DNM). We didn’t take a lot of pictures and I didn’t take the hike to view the dinosaur fossils. It was pretty warm, mid 90’s and the trail wasn’t one Sharon could take on her scooter. There is a visitor center, now closed, built around a hillside full of dinosaur fossils. It was built in the 1950’s on a clay soil. In the 1990’s the soil had moved so much from the clay expanding and contracting with wet periods followed by dry, they closed it for safety reasons. They were afraid parts of it would collapse. They are tearing down the old visitor center and building a new one with the new federal stimulus package funds.

We have a few pictures of the country side around DNM

We are definitely out of high forested mountains and out on the edge of the plains.

The above three scenic views were taken from a ¼ mile handicapped accessible trail. It is nice when Sharon is able to get out and enjoy the trails.

An interesting tree trunk along the trail.

A beautifully eroded mountain in DNM

We drove a short ways down a gravel road near DNM, looking for a place to boondock for a few days. We did find a two places with views like the earlier pictures. But much to our surprise we drove up on a herd of elk bulls.

At first we only saw these two

And then looking over the bluff we saw the rest

Obviously the cows are not in season yet. Once they are the boys will be spread out chasing the girls and fighting each other for superiority.

Touring the Petroglyphs and Pictographs.

We only looked at a few sites close to the roads and easy to access. There must be hundreds of these sites around Rangely.

A “pictograph” is ancient rock art created by painting on the rocks. A “petroglyph” is rock art created by chipping or scraping bits of rock off the wall, creating a figure. I remember the difference by thinking of a modern day picture as in a photograph, i.e. pict-o-graph.

No one knows just what these pictures represent. Some thing it’s just doodling, others think it’s directions or historic events. Since there is no one left to pass down oral history, and they didn’t have a written language, it’s hard to know.



This one is called “white bird”

And waving hands

Along the way to viewing the rock art we saw some beautiful red rock cliffs

And these toad stools

And a desert lizard

That’s about it for Rangely.

By the way there is no need to drive all the way to NW Colorado to see rock art. There is very similar rock art at Seminole State Park, about 35 miles west of Del Rio, Texas.

Until later,

Al & Sharon

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