Sunday, October 21, 2001

Hello from Diamondville, Wyoming!

Start time: 0845

Start odometer: 20140

Weather: Temperature 24 degrees F., peaking at 68 degrees.

Today was spent mostly in the car, but I did get the chance to take an interesting hike to a old fossil quarry which is now part of the Fossil Butte National Monument.  When finished, it was late in the afternoon, so I drove east 14 miles to Diamondville.  This town was originally settled in the second half of the nineteenth century due to a high grade of coal being discovered.  It was named for the look of the rich fossil fuel that looked like a black diamond.  This area is now being promoted as the fossil capitol of the world due to its proximity to the former location of Fossil Lake, a prehistoric lake where fossil mining is currently occurring.

It was a beautiful morning with clear blue skies above.  It was a little cool, but the sun warmed up the car nicely.  My plans were to head south towards the Fossil Butte National Monument in Fossil, Wyoming, but I first wanted to drive over Teton Pass, just west of Jackson.  It was a beautiful drive, and must take much maintenance to keep clear in the winter.  Just a few miles west of the pass, I entered Idaho, my first visit to this state.

Click on picture for larger image, hit back button to return to this page.

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While driving towards Teton Pass and looking southwest, I noticed this smoke spreading across the mountainside.  I believe it was a prescribed burn.

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This is from the same spot as the previous picture, but looking northwest.

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Looking towards Teton Pass.

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From the top, you can see how the smoke from the fire obscures the view into Jackson!

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This is the sign that greets visitors arriving to the pass from the west.

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My first time in Idaho.  Over the next two hours, I will have returned to Wyoming, go back into Idaho, then find myself in Wyoming again!

Heading southeast on Route 26, I drove across the Palisades Dam to the Calamity Recreation Area.  Not sure I would want a place called Calamity near a dam!

After re-entering Wyoming, I drove through the town of Afton.  I noticed an arch over the road, and soon learned it was the World's Largest Elkhorn Arch!

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Back in Wyoming.

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The Elkhorn arch!

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A close look from the side of the arch!

I drove on to US Route 30, originally part of the Lincoln Highway further east of here!  Interestingly, I grew up two houses away from Route 30 in Ohio!

As I was driving, I noticed several signs displaying information that a Mule Deer migration trail went over the highway.  The sign listed a radio frequency for more information.  It seems that between Kemmerer and Cokeville, approximately 500 Mule Deer are killed by vehicle - deer collisions every year!  In a fifteen mile segment of the highway, I counted 13 dead deer.  It was not a pretty sight!

Finally I arrived at the Fossil Butte National Monument.  This is a preserved area formerly covered by Lake Fossil.  I stopped by the Visitor Center to meet with the ranger and pick up information on the park.  They also had two excellent videos that discussed the history of the area, as well as how these fossils are retrieved and researched.  It seems this area provides some of the best fossils to study.  See the link at the beginning of the paragraph for more information.

After my stop at the center, I drove the seven miles up on of the buttes for a spectacular view of the region.  This was followed by a drive to a trailhead leading to a former commercial fossil quarry.  It was a good hike, and educational too.

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Entrance to the park.

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The Visitor's Center with a butte in the background.

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Looking north, the park road partially visible.

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Another view of the butte behind the Visitor's Center.

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A pronghorn beside the road.

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Another gravel road!

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Looking back along the road from the top off the butte.

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As I was driving to the trailhead, I noticed the interesting colors in the butte.

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From near to top of the quarry trail, the view to the southeast.

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From the same point as before, looking southwest.

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This is part of the quarry, where the following two fossil pictures were taken.

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The dark region is where an animal is fossilized between two layers of rock.

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Another fossil in the rock.

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Near the top, I found this split rock.  You can see fossil remains along the top-outside edges as the rock separated at the fossil level!

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This pictures shows the trail guide in the quarry area.

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Walking back down the trail, I sow this interesting lavender rock.

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Some of the plant life along the trail.

Monday morning I plan to drive through Utah into Idaho.  I have added a new stop suggested by the ranger at the park today.  I will be visiting City of Rocks National Reserve near Almo, Utah.  The ranger said there are great hiking trails, and that the area is good for rock climbing.  May get more information for my nephew Michael!  Afterwards, I will head towards Craters of the Moon National Monument.  Thank you for visiting the page!


Routes traveled today: US 89 - Wyoming 22 - Idaho 33 - ID 31 - Wy 26 - US 89 - ID 61 - Wy 89 - US 30 - Wy 300 - Park Roads - Wy 300 - US 30

Lodging: Fairview Motel -

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Copyright 2001 Igor N. Nikishin

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