Fossil Butte National Monument

I’m not thrilled with the “we did this/we went here” blog format, but I don’t seem to have the energy to document much else when I’m tired from travel and activities. I hoped to also have time to write reflections on what we are seeing and doing, and about the traveling itself. That’s the only disappointment, if it really could be counted. Everyday we’re seeing new places, learning history, and often finally seeing historic places firsthand that we’ve heard about our whole lives.

For example, the day before yesterday it was like time travel to stand on the Oregon Trail and see the wagon tracks followed by so many pioneers. I was surprised that history is still so visible, not too different from when settlers were traveling west. Undoubtedly from observing constant turnover in NYC, I have a perspective that nothing could last unchanged or replaced in time. To see this place, and it feels as if the wagons could have just gone over the horizon, gave me a real image for this period in time.

Side note: We passed the town Little America, Wyoming on our way to Fossil Butte National Monument and I was impressed by their marketing. They had an entire road sign campaign leading up to the small town and then this cute signage just outside of town.

We got to Fossil Butte National Monument with just one hour before the visitor center closing. Turns out, that’s plenty of time. The center is on the smaller side; inside we watched two movies about the formation of fossils and how they are “mined.” There are many fossils on display, but most did not come from the National Monument or are replicas. It’s kind of sad to hear the story from the park ranger, we learned about how the government wanted to preserve so much more of this 50-million year old lake bed that is one of the richest fossil areas in the world, but cattle ranchers fought hard against it and subsequently the National Park Service only preserved a small percentage of the lake bed. However, cattle ranchers saw mining and selling fossils on the open market was very lucrative and turned to doing that after the National Monument was created in the ’70s.
There’s not much to see besides the visitor center but they do have a couple creative information displays. Unfortunately, this National Monument doesn’t make the “must see” list.

Yesterday we drove to Salt Lake City, Utah. We had an idea it was going to be different and we were right. It’s like the opposite of NYC. Well, except the driving. Getting in and out of the city had me on edge.

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2 Responses to Fossil Butte National Monument

  1. Lindsay says:

    any format is loved! Just love knowing all these places are there.

  2. KA says:

    Miss you Lindsay, hope your summer is awesome.

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