Saturday, August 30, 2008

Boysen and Thermopolis

We finally left Flaming Gorge on the 27th and headed north and east to Boysen Reservoir, near Shoshone. It was the first time we pulled across South Pass. Going over the pass was ok but going down I switched to manual and overrode towhaul. Dumb mistake as near the bottom the transmission heated up. I pulled over and the hot transmission light came on, but quickly went off as it cooled. Close call!

Arriving at Boysen, we went to Tamarask Campground and got a beautiful spot on the lake. Rocks, and primitive, and boondocking but thats Wyoming so we were fixed for it. We didn't have cell service, or the internet but were able to get seven tv stations, without the dish.

The next day we drove to resupply at Thermopolis and got to enjoy the beauty of the drive through Wind River Canyon. The shear granite walls and the whitewater rapids combined to make the drive a treat. One of the most beautiful canyons we have drove through.

When we got to Thermopolis we fueled up and then saw a bunch of green arrows(?), on the street. Green arrows? Those were dinosaur tracks, so we followed the tracks which led us to the Wyoming Dinosaur Center!

While we had heard of the place, we had never been there and so we paid our fee and got tickets for the museum and the tour of the dig site. Boarding the bus it turned out we were the only ones on the tour and so we headed up the steep nd rocky road for a private tour of the digs!

It turns out there are a lot of dig sites on the ranch, (87), and a lot of dinosaurs being found. The site itself is on a private ranch, and the Foundation is a for profit business. I was amazed to see the dig sites and collections. Looking east from the ridge we could see three tents for sites being excavated, and could see the whole exposure of the Morrision formation, Jurassic Park anyone?

The site and exposed digs were much better than Dinosaur National Park, in my estimation. So much more to be dug and with so much promise. The main tour site is a plethora of jumbled bones and tracks and includes bones with teeth marks from Allosaurs!

The museum itself was better than the Field Museum in Chicago. We were both surprised and pleased at the quality and quantity of the exhibits. They even displayed the Thermopolis archeopteryx! To be so close to an actual archeopteryx was amazing! You could easily se the actual bones, whcih looked liked original remains. The one found in Germany is kept in a vault and is only shown during special occasions.

Both of us would highly recommend this place to anyone visiting the area! Clear skies.

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