When my mom first told me we were going to go white water rafting on our six-week road trip, I have to admit I was a little bit scared. I had seen pictures and videos of class five rapids and secretly decided that I never wanted to do something that crazy. Luckily, the rapids that we were roughing were only class two to class three (and actually now I think those were pretty tiny), but I was still nervous. I also learned that would be visiting and rafting in Dinosaur National Monument, a park that I hadn’t heard of before the trip. Another thing that made the trip especially fun was that we got to see our friends from Colorado, one of my besties Katelyn and her mom Michele.
On the first day we were in the park, we visited the Dinosaur National Monument visitors center, where Lindsey was able to earn her Junior Ranger badge and we learned all about the plants, animals, and other features of the monument. After thoroughly exploring the visitors center, we hopped on a shuttle bus that was headed to the quarry, a building built into the side of a huge hill of rock complete with genuine dinosaur bones that you could examine and learn about. You were even allowed to touch some of the fossilized remains! After a long day of dinosaurs, we all headed back to the campground for bed. Unfortunately, the campsite we had
gotten was one lacking hook-ups, which means no water, outlet electricity, or air conditioning. While this normally wouldn’t be a problem, it happened to be extremely hot and none of us got much sleep. The next day, we switched to a campground with air conditioning at the least, and slept much better.
The morning after the travel trailer sauna incident, all of us (except my dad, sadly) woke up early to go white water rafting. When we got there, we were suited up with PFDs (personal flotation devices) and helmets, and then we got on a bus that would take us upstream to go rafting. I just thought that they would give us a raft, drop us off at the top of the river, and wish us luck. However, I was happy to discover that we were pretty much babied the whole trip. We got a cool tour of the 1500-year-old petroglyphs that were pecked into the stone on the “Outlaw Trail” and an interesting history on these carvings. When we got into the river, our guide, Chris, taught us how to control the raft so that we hopefully wouldn’t fall out. After a few fun rapids (I had gotten over my fear of them), we stopped on a tiny beach for lunch. Chris and our other guide Tyler, who was carrying the food in a raft all by himself behind us, set everything up while we played in the water. After a great meal of turkey sandwiches, fruit, chips, and lemonade, we got back on the river. Towards the end of the tour, we stopped at another island with a really neat cave that the guides called “Cowboy Camp.” The name originated from when outlaw cowboys used to steal ranchers’ cattle and hide out with them in caves just like this one. In fact, we thought it was pretty cool that the famous outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid both camped out in the very same cave! After lots of pictures and goofing around, we headed back. I was so sad the rafting trip had ended, and I begged my mom to take us on another one again soon. As you can tell by the length of this post, I had tons of fun out in Dinosaur National Monument and would love to visit again.
Click on the following to download a Lindsey-Cam rafting video to see some of the action.