It’s interesting to think that some of the deserts out west in the United States were once oceans with abundant sea life. However, the proof can be found in the creatures that are trapped in the sandstone and mud rock of the area.
We chose to explore the sun-bleached plains of Utah and Colorado as we drove along a painted desert of pink, orange, golden, and tan sandstone. Beautiful, spectacular. Rock formations jut out of the desert floor, pinnacles precariously perched on dusty pedestals.
Hats are a necessity when
hiking in the desert.
When hiking under the wilting desert sun, hats are a necessity. Wide-brimmed hats are better, but any hat will work. Long-sleeved, light-colored clothing is best and be sure to wear sturdy shoes, not sandals. Everyone needs to carry water. Slather pounds of sunscreen over any exposed skin. And don’t forget the bug spray just in case. It’s also important to stay on marked paths in protected areas such as national parks. You need to be careful not to disturb the fragile soil crusts, the thin crustal ecosystem of the desert.
While you cannot take anything from a national park, our commercial campground offered fossil hunts because we camped in that desert valley. So one evening after dinner, our family rode in a hay wagon pulled by a tractor, sharing laughter with other campers. Our funny guide told jokes and for the life of me I can’t remember one. They were of the corny type, though.
Everyone was permitted one fossil. These fossils are shells embedded in rock. And we had to dig up our fossils ourselves.
Now this is where “Daddy’s little girl” puts on the charm.
Our youngest, one of the twins, wanted a big fossil, so she proceeded to smile her way into having Daddy dig up the chunk of rock for her. Not only did he dig it up—a foot square of ruddy sandstone—but he lugged it back to the hay wagon for her. My poor husband didn’t get to choose a fossil. He merely carried the pick.
Still, he fared better than the other male in our family.
Our poor son, age 12, was girl watching instead of looking where he was stepping along the path to the fossil grounds.
I was watching the girls at the time and learned about this later.
Our son slid down a cacti-covered mound. His father helped him back to the trail and plucked out the thorns before our son could continue on the journey.
When hiking anywhere, it is always a good idea to watch where you are stepping on the trail. You could suffer a far worse fate than merely a few thorns.
Later when we were getting ready for bed, I asked my son if he was okay.
“I’m fine, Mom,” he answered, rubbing his thighs in the sleeping bag. “Dad helped me.”
“Good,” I said, and gave him a kiss goodnight.
Then a smile tugged at his lips. “She had long red hair,” he shyly confessed, “and smiled at me.”
“Yea. Glad she didn’t see me fall off the trail.” And with that, he turned onto his side and burrowed deep into his sleeping bag.