Welcome to Colorado True, a blog featuring all things Colorado, but mostly the western slope. The gray paragraph below is what
I wrote last month - I decided to keep it this month.
First of all let me apologize for not posting the first of the month, but the world
has been out of kilter. I don't philosophize a lot; it's not in my nature. Maybe I should. It might make my blog a little more interesting.
But with the COVID-19 pandemic inundating the world I decided to ink a few thoughts. First of all, I think we
might be seeing a new normal - a new disease emerging every few years (think ebola, HIV, bird flu, SARS, etc).
This may be nature's way of culling a human species that has overpopulated the Earth, putting tremendous
pressure on resources, environment, and other species. Coronavirus is certainly the most dramatic to date because of its rapid spread across the
entire planet. With the advent of globalization, countries and continents are no longer isolated from each other. This apparently comes with
some unanticipated consequences such as pandemics. Our collective efforts may mitigate the current epidemic,
but not stop it. I think we will only see the end of this coronavirus episode when it has run its course,
infecting however many people it's going to infect. However, I see some positives emerging from this crisis, temporary though they
may be. We have had to slow the pace of our lives, bonding a little more with family, friends, and strangers, maybe showing a little more
courtesy and patience than we normally would. At least I think this is true in my neck of the woods. The environment has also benefited
from mankind's misery. The air quality in some of China's largest cities has significantly improved, water in the canals of Venice has cleared,
and I suspect there has been a miniscule overall inprovement in the global environment resulting from curtailed industrial activity and reduction in automobile
emissions. And finally, my advice for avoiding the virus. Take the words of Edward Abbey below to heart. Get "far from the madding crowd".
Go camping or RVing for a couple of weeks. Find a secluded lake to fish. Exercise by hiking or biking in the mountains. Find your place
of solitude and isolation in the wilderness. God bless and keep safe.
First, a little about coronavirus, but not too much as I'm sure most folks are probably
inured to the media blitz by now. Here we are in month 5 of the epidemdic which shows little sign of abating. So be proactive and cautious
- wear your mask while out and about, stay away from other folks as much as possible, and seek the solitude of nature. Just to keep things in perspective,
I pulled some statistics off the Worldometer (which may or may not be accurate) yesterday about 1PM.
World population: 7,781,335,850
Coronavirus cases YTD (year-to date): 3,276,139 - The virus has infected about 0.04% (4 out of every 10,000 people) of the world's population so far.
Number of births yesterday (~1PM): 208,648
Number of coronavirus deaths YTD: 321,814 - The number of people killed by the virus so far is about 1.5 times greater the number of
people added to the world in a single day.
Cancer deaths YTD: 2,711,158
Smoking deaths YTD: 1,650,231
Alcohol related deaths YTD: 825,638
Traffic deaths YTD: 445,618
Suicides YTD: 353,995
Coronavirus deaths YTD: 231,814
The only cause of death that has derailed the global economy, elicited myriad apocolyptic articles from the news media, and
produced seemingly endless amounts of drivel from the talking heads: coronavirus
Make what you will of these stats.
Now on to other things. The blog this month has a decidedly paleontological theme. That said, I'm pretty sure coronavirus was not the cause
of dinosaur extinction.
This month's Colorado Place is Dinosaur National Monument, located in Moffat County
in the northwestern corner of the state. The Monument straddles the state line,
so part of it is also in Utah.
You say you missed some of the past Colorado Places? No problem! All of the Colorado Places that I
haved presented here are archived at Highways-Byways.com.
"....get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble
out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers,
breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate
the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space..."
Most events have been cancelled or postponed for the foreseeable future.
This section contains favorite photos from around Colorado. If you have any awesome Colorado photos
you're just dying to share, e-mail them to me and I will put them in the queue (personal snapshots are discouraged - although
background figures are OK.) Send a brief description of the photo and also indicate if I can use your first name and town.
This month is decidedly dino.
Pretty Old Street
Wear your mask
Mountain Biker Rex
Almost Extinct Stegosaurus
This section is devoted to hikes, camping trips, and off-roading. I will be post a new article periodically.
In keeping with our dino theme, the adventure this month is Trail Through Time.
Trail Through Time
The Trail Through Time is a short hike located in Rabbit Valley and is part of the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area.
It's located 26 miles west of Grand Junction and 2 miles from the Colorado-Utah border on I-70. The exit is well marked (exit #2).
The Trail Through Time is a 1.5 mile loop trail that gains about 170 feet in elevation up the side of a hill. This has been
rated a moderate hike by others, but I found it pretty easy. There are rest stops with covered benches along the way. The best time
to take this hike is spring and fall, but be sure to bring plenty of water any time you go because it is a desert hike after all.
The Trail Through Time is all about dinosaurs. In addition to the loop trail featuring several fossil bones, there is a dinosaur quarry
(Mygatt-Moore quarry) that is still periodically worked.
The Mygatt-Moore dinosaur quarry has been worked since the early 1980's and has produced over 4000 dinosaur bones, mostly from the Jurassic Period.
The two most common dinosaurs represented are Allosaurus (meat eater) and Apatosaurus (plant eater). The quarry is also known for the discovery of
Mymoorapelta, an ankylosaur (armoured dinosaur). The quarry has also yielded fossil bones from prehistoric stars such as Camarasaurus and Diplodocus.
The quarry is administered by the Museum of Western Colorado in conjuction with the BLM. The Museum offers dinosaur digs during the summer where
you can try your hand at unearthing a fossil or two.
open for business
This stop along the trail has some exposed Camarasaurus bones from
the front half of the dinosaur. The vertebrae are labeled A and B and
the forelimb labeled C.
Camarasaurus Fossil Bones
The near right photo shows two well defined cervical vertebrae while the
far right photo is a not so well defined front limb bone of Camarasaurus.
The lower part of the trail is well maintained. The first picture to the right
shows part of the trail along with a covered bench. The upper part of the trail is
narrower and less well maintained. Total elevation gain is about 170 feet. The
lower right photo is the view from the Rabbit Valley overlook with I-70 in the distance.
There are great views of the La Sal mountains in Utah and Grand Mesa as you walk along
the upper portion of the trail.
Part of the Trail with a covered bench
View from Rabbit Valley Overlook
I-70 in Distance
Diplodocus Skeleton in situ.
Uranium is commonly found in the Morrison Formation and there was a lot of uranium mining
throughout this area in the 1960's and 70's. On August 23, 1968 two prospectors
filed a mining claim on this spot and marked it with a wooden post and two rock cairns.
The paperwork was placed in a Prince Albert tobacco can and put in one of the cairns.
Was this a potential uranium mine? No one knows because the claim and location were never
filed with with the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder. The photo to the right shows
the wooden post mining claim marker.
Old Mining Claim Marker
I found it hard to tell this fossil from the rock. Maybe it will
be easier for you to recognize.
There is also fossilized vegetation in addition to the dinosaur fossils as
can be gleaned from the sign on the left. The photo on the right is a fossilized stem.
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