This is Part 3 of the dinosaur experience:    OUT ON MY OWN


We were given a choice:  Go back on the shuttle to the Visitor Center and the parking lot;  or walk back through the paleontologists’ fields and  experience the natural surroundings where the dinosaur bones were found.   Everyone else went back on the shuttle.   I had the entire dinosaur land to myself!

The trailhead began with a fifty-foot rocky descent, somewhat outlined by the pretty golden sandy rocks.

D silent pathway

The pathway led between tall rocky hills that were full of fossils.  Many were just small marine skeletons like clams and little frogs,  but some rock formations aroused the imagination:


I was at least a half hour’s walk away from anything.   There was no one around.   No sign of human life.   No sound,  because I was down in a valley between high rock hills.  It was not just solitude — it was me, a human mind — solitary.   I thought of the black bear warning.  I thought of mountain lions.  Scorpions.   Broken ankles.   Panic attacks and heart attacks.

D pathway between cliffs

But what I thought about most deeply were the rock formations that spoke of great geological upheavals, the very substance of the earth under immense hydrogeologic forces and deep pressures.   Here is an area of rock that shows  sediment frozen in place by such pressure.

D swirled rocks

What happened there?

Here are some rocks that started out as foamy masses that hardened with the air bubbles still evident:

D foamy rocks

Various sediment layers got smashed down together into hard strata and then more upheavals lifted them up and tossed them around.  And again they landed, this time with their stripes slanted upwards and broken apart again:

D slanted rocks

Harder rock remained after the softer rock eroded from around them, leaving precariously placed rocks way up high,  seemingly ready to slide down upon hikers on this pathway.

D rocks falling

I am a very, very small point in this vast landscape.

More sideways strata


I began to think more and more about the  forces of hydraulics on a planetary scale cracking apart whole continents, breaking them up, slamming them into each other,  until all land is pulverized,  whirled around as in a giant earth blender — then allowed to settle out into new distributions, forming new strata, only to be broken up again as heavier areas settled onto less stable areas, cracking apart the newly formed mini continents, again and again until at last. . . . we have the seven known continents of this era.

“Giant sandbar”  indeed.   These millions of dinosaur carcasses were picked up by flood waters,  swirled around like so much biological debris, and eventually settled down into great deposits all around the planet.    Untold years of erosion eventually exposed a few of these deposits.

New human civilizations had to begin anew . . . made of people who had long forgotten how to turn evil impulses into technological nightmares, enabling tyrants to control and kill large numbers of innocent people, building power upon power, defying the very God who had created them.

Now there were people who lived with good and evil impulses on a smaller, local scale.  They left messages for each other in these ancient rocks.


Anthropologists have a pretty good guess about what these pictures mean,  but I can’t say I believe that they’re one hundred percent correct.

SAMSUNG I could walk right up to these petroglyphs and touch them,  but they were not for me.  I had nothing to say to these people.   We are all their descendants, but we have not done well.

A moment of intense sadness came over me.   Eras and aeons of time, one after the other, each one ending in massive destruction across the planet.  What happens to this beautiful earth?    What awesome catastrophes have mangled these rocks and tortured this world?


What do I know of the Fall of Angels?   the corruption of mankind?   the necessary destruction of worlds that had become incorrigibly evil?   how soon the next necessary destruction?

I began to grow very tired.   I’m an old lady sometimes.   I’m driving out West to see my grandson, but when I recite the category of very real modern evils I do not want him to experience the world as it is right now, and I see no signs of increasing goodness, only increasing badness.  Do you think mankind will eventually do better?   Do you think there is reason for optimism?   The goodness we might see is only a drop of rain falling on the tongue of a man clinging to a wet log floating in the salt sea, far from land.

And yet we live on.  Hope is the virtue that teaches us that the Creator of this, our home planet, has declared that He will make a New Heaven and a New Earth;    and meanwhile, with His help,  we can go on, and we can Hope to become worthy of living there forever.

Without fear of extinction or planetary upheaval.

Explore posts in the same categories: Apocalypse, Cooper, Nature, Travel

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