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Rolling through the epochs at Fossil Butte National Monument

Updated: Oct 2, 2021

A - I admit, I thought this Wyoming stop was for Jim but can I just say I was wrong-I loved it too. We only made a day stop but thoroughly enjoyed. We stopped at the visitor center/museum and used our standard operating procedure of alternating turns with the dogs. I go first at art museums and Jim went in first here. The dogs and I enjoyed a walk around the sagebrush and timelines and noticing it was an Arctic Fox day apparently.

RH - I had stopped at Fossil Butte a few months ago but it was late and the visitor center was closed So it was nice to get a second shot to visit. I wasn‘t expecting much but going into the visitor center was fascinating and a much better explainer of the geology than just looking at the hills.

The receptionist was helpful, even answering my question about what was being mined in the hills outside the park. Turns out they are private fossil quarries where you can pay to mine fossils. We didn’t have time for that but it was an intriguing thought. I also spent some time watching the geologist work the machine to etch fossils out of the rock using a sonic tool. I wanted one but they are a bit too expensive!

A - Then it was my turn. I was floored by the amount and variety of fossils displayed…..and

Jackson and Chloe learning some prehistory.

those are just a sampling of the ones found there! There are very informative sections on what the area was like prehistorically. But best of all for an artist I was given permission to photograph. You know some of those shapes and images of life will end up somehow in my art! I also got a replica tile to place somewhere in our future “dream home”. After we drove up the road to a picnic area the ranger told us about. A beautiful oasis in such a dry landscape with a sweeping view of the rock layers in the hills around the valley. I used my paint markers and pens to do a quick sketch in my Strathmore Visual Journal from the overlook before joining Jim and the dogs in the shade.

RH - When I was here before I didn’t want to pull the RV up the road past the visitor center because I wasn’t sure there was a place to turn around. I asked the receptionist if this was the case and she told me there was a picnic area a ways up to turn around but nothing beyond that. We decided to go up to the picnic area for lunch and that turned out to be a great decision.

Eeeeek! Apparently they were here first.

My marker sketch of the picnic oasis from above.

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