April 2, 2023
Life is grand on the ‘ol Grand Staircase. We followed in the tracks of giants this week by visiting the 20 Mile Dinosaur Trackway on Hole in the Rock road. I found this guy’s directions very helpful in getting to the correct spot. I had this spot on my short list for awhile and this past week we had some days in the mid to upper 40’s which felt like glorious spring so I wanted to take advantage of it. Six of my co-worker friends wanted to come so we took two 4×4 vehicles and headed off into the desert. Getting to the correct area was a short walk on a sandy path followed by a short scramble up some slickrock. We had some pictures to reference for landmarks showing where the tracks could be found, but no idea really what dinosaur tracks generally look like. We fanned out and started searching all declaring that even if we didn’t find them, we were happy to be outside enjoying the scenery. Our efforts were not fruitful, but it did feel like a fun treasure hunt. Then we spotted a family ascending and I thought for sure the children in the family would be able to spot these tracks. We called out to them and realized we each hoped the other would be able to help them locate the tracks. However, after about only 10 minutes, the family waved us over. They were from Idaho and had seen tracks like these before so they knew just what to look for.
He showed us one and described that we wanted to look for a smooth indented area. Once we saw one, we could see plenty and follow the tracks along the path they took. This was the first time I had seen a whole trackway. A trackway means that there are several preserved prints all in a row. We saw tracks made by 4 legged sauropod (herbivore) dinosaurs and tracks from two legged predator theropod dinosaurs. There are over 250 tracks out here as well as tail drag marks, which we did not locate. We were so happy that we found our treasure! For any geology fans out there these tracks are within Entrada sandstone.
Interestingly, I had just seen a recent article in the news about Sauropod dinosaurs. Some of them were freaks of the Jurassic world with necks about 45 feet long. That’s 7 giraffe necks put together or 14 guitars in a row or the length of the Hollywood sign. That’s a lot of neck that had scientist trying to figure out why the long neck and how could the dinosaur hold it up or get air from the mouth to the lungs and back again. The theory is that the ones best at holding their head’s up were able to attract mates leading this to be a sexually selected feature.
We walked around the rock for a bit admiring the formation and found some fun places to slide down and holes to climb in.
Grace took some photos as well with her phone so I could be in them too. She’s the blonde with her hand in the air above. Below is our group at the start of the trail. Ana is holding up our reference material. She also captured us fanned out and searching in a very non-technical formation.
After the hike we stopped at Devil’s Garden so we could continue to enjoy the nice weather. We got to Metate Arch and decided to do a group jump.
Here are a couple more I took that afternoon with Grace on a natural bridge and Lauren basking in the sun.
That evening we decided it was perfect hot tub weather. The campground is open so we can only use it on slow evenings so we don’t risk crowding the guests out. Our manager told us to be discreet and not mention that we are employees here. Since my hairstyle is so recognizable, I decided I needed a disguise. On my way out the door Luke suggested I looked just like I was living my best life and snapped a photo.
We had a really fun music jam night at a friend’s house. Luke had some new tunes he to share and sang about having okra, enough to choke ya’. What a brilliant rhyme. While the sunset I watched some cowboys herd cattle from the field next door. There was an incredible pedal steel player there. He plays a nightly show with a band at Ebenezers Barn and Grill which is near Bryce Canyon. I haven’t been there yet for this dinner show, but now I know I want to go see it sometime. Incidentally, you may remember that Ebenezer is the guy who famously looked down at Bryce canyon and said, “it’s a helluva place to lose a cow”.
This week also was the start of April and April Fool’s Day. I loved the prank I came up with…fart jars! It was simple. I just grabbed some small mason jars from the local store and labeled them “my farts”. I had to work the opening shift so I went in a few minutes early to discretely hide them in different staff areas in the campground. They were in the food truck, housekeeping, office, and at my coworkers campsites. I only wish I had cameras in all of these spaces to be able to see everyone’s reaction. We wondered if anyone opened the jar to give it a whiff. I offered to autograph jars for anyone in case I become famous one day because I’m just a nice person.
Luke has the idea to start a new podcast. We would make it about nothing in particular with our only requirement being that it be funny. Luke did a podcast once before that I joined in on at times. It was fun to do and we go back and listen to an episode every so often. We had a friend over one night to brainstorm ideas and put them in a hat. When the hat was full and our minds were empty we quit, but we were careful not to talk too much about what we wrote so it can be spontaneous and improvisational when we meet to record and randomly draw topic cards. I don’t know how this will turn out, but I have no doubt that it will be NSFW as my friend at one point asked if we knew the joke, The Artistocrats. If you don’t know this joke or the comedy of Bob Saget, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Our cover photo this week is a view I enjoyed at our very own Devil’s Garden.
Jennifer MacNeil is currently traveling the US with her husband and two dogs. She loves to have adventures, explore, meet fascinating people, and see amazing places. She strives to learn every day and spread kindness to others. She documents her journey through her photography and blog to share with others.