Day 55

Tuesday, July 19, 2005Salt Lake City, UT
Miles: 6516Desert is pretty!
We got up at 5:30 and managed to be on the trail by about 7:30. This was fortunate, since it was very hot. The hike was called the Sounds of Silence, and despite having some very cheesily hippie overtones in the guidebook, it was very nice. We walked through a wash, as we had become accustomed to doing in the Badlands, hiked up across a plateau and then scrambled up a huge sheet of slick rock to overlook the whole park. The guidebook kept asking questions about desert preservation and how humans could learn to adapt to the desert. The answer is to not go hiking after 9:30 in July. We got back to the van around then and were dying. Some folks had just started out on their two to three hour trek and we wished them well. Eep.

Done with our hike, we finally made it to the dinosaury bit of Dinosaur National Park. This is an enclosed, finished dig of dinosaur bones. No quarry has ever turned up more complete skulls or near complete skeletons. Of course, all of these have long since been removed and brought to the museums of the world, but we got to see some bones in situ, which was very neat. It was interesting to see how they all jumbled together and what that meant. The bones had all been washed to the park by the Green River, and the state of the bones indicated how far away the dinosaurs had died, and their disarticulation level showed how violent their deaths were. At least this is what the children’s guide we were reading told us.

After lunch and a ride on a fake dino, we headed up to Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, which is high. Yuck. So it was pretty much a drive through. One interesting thing was that we went through part of Wyoming. There’s nothing there but some crazy construction workers. They had closed the road and set up a light, which made us assume a lane was closed, but then a pilot car came to lead us down the road. None of the lanes were closed, and there were just some guys standing around some big machinery. It was all very surreal.

Then we drove to Salt Lake City. It was pretty.