Borrego Springs, CA

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Sunday Blast from the Past

In June, 2008, I finally arrived at Dinosaur National Monument to begin a three month volunteer assignment. Three days a week, I worked in the outside visitor's center, and on Saturdays I lead bird tours.
I was working on the Utah side of the monument which is a high desert environment. The Green River flows through the monument, and the public campground is located amongst those cottonwood trees along the river. There are three full hook-up volunteer sites there. The rest of the sites do not have any hookups.

This was the view out the front windows of the RV from my campsite. Even though it is considered desert, because of the river and spring flooding, the mosquitoes were voracious.

People from around the world come here to see the famous wall of dinosaur bones. The original visitor's center was located here in a building built around the bones to protect them from the elements.
The only problem is that when the structure was built, the footers were not sunk down to bedrock. So over the years, the building started moving away from the wall of bones, and a few years back the building was condemned. So, when visitors come, they can no longer view the wall. That is why the visitor's center was located outside while I was there. This gig was a lesson on how to deal with upset visitors. Many of them didn't know the quarry was closed, and had traveled great distances to get to the monument. We did offer a hike in the mountains led by the rangers to see some dinosaur bones, but some people could not go on it since it involved a trail that is not paved and temperatures were commonly near 115*.

I decided to put out a hummingbird feeder to see if any birds would come. I was astounded at the numbers that came to the feeder. I even bought a second feeder, put that out, and really had to work to keep them filled. I went through about a half gallon of sugar water a day!

Daily, I could count up to forty birds at a time buzzing around the feeders. Hummingbirds move so fast, it was a real challenge to try to count them. :)

I wish I could take credit for this shot of a male rufous hummingbird, but I can't. There was a young man camping along the river that asked if he could spend an afternoon at my site photographing the birds at the feeders. I told him he could if he emailed me a picture, and he did.

There was plenty to see and do at Dinosaur Nat'l Monument and the surrounding area, so I think I'll use this location for the next two Sunday Blasts. I don't want the posts to be too long. :)
Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy


  1. I really enjoyed this post, and I'm glad you are bringing back some of the older ones. I look forward to reading more about your stay at Dinosaur.

    I should be hearing from them in about 3 days, and I'll keep you posted.

  2. Hi Judy,
    I always enjoy your Blast from the Past. You certainly have worked at some great places.
    I'm just curious if you know if the dinosaur wall is open for public viewing yet?

  3. When I was at Dinosaur, the projection for a rebuild of the visitor's center for viewing the bone wall was 2010-2011. With the downturn in the economy, I'd certainly suggest calling first before visiting to see if you can see the wall of bones. My family visited there in 1988 when it was still open, and volunteers got a private view in 2008, but we had to wear hard hats, and our tour was brief. I hope that they will eventually open the quarry as it is spectacular to see and contemplate.