Monday, February 13, 2012


After Big Rock Park, Mom took Ivy and I to Subway for some lunch, then we kept driving. We headed out of town and wandered along a back road, and finally ended up at a state park.
Which was cool, but we were a little disappointed. The big rocks seemed like a much cooler spot to play... Until we turned a corner and saw:

Dinosaurs!? At a state park? What was going on here?
Turns out Mom had taken us to Dinosaur Valley State Park. It's called that because, according to wikipedia which can't be wrong, a loooong time ago this part of Texas was a big beach on the edge of a pretty shallow ocean, and dinosaurs lived here! We know that (the dinosaurs part, anyway) because they left tracks behind, and some of those tracks got preserved.

Unfortunately, Mom hadn't ever been here before, and didn't realize that the reason they're so well preserved is because they're in the river bed, under water a lot of the time, and that the river is high enough that they're under water right now. When we paid to get in, the park ranger said they weren't visible at all, and we were pretty disappointed, but Mom said we should find where they were anyway, so when we came back we'd be prepared.

We had to do a ton of climbing and hiking. At first there were nice, stone steps and it was pretty easy going, but the terrain kept changing.

After the steps came some deep sand. If it weren't so horribly cold, I'd want to stop and play in it and pretend I was at the beach! But it was freezing, so we didn't.

After the sand came more sand mixed with big rocks. It was tough going; we had to climb over a lot of them. We were glad we wore our hiking boots, but we kept having to stop and shake sand out of them!

After a ton of climbing, we finally found the river. Now to see if we could see some tracks!
Fortunately, the water was a lot clearer than we thought it'd be, but it was really deep near here. We were by a place in the park called the Blue Hole, and it wasn't very blue, but we could tell it was deeeeeep. We avoided the edge of the water near there. We really didn't want to fall in, and the banks were dirt and looked kind of fragile and crumbly.

We kept on going, and reached the edge of the river where it looked reasonably safe to walk.
Finally, we spotted something in the water next to us. Could it be...?

It was!! A dinosaur footprint! This was as close as Mom would let us get... The print was under water about a foot; way over our heads! We hope you can see it... Ivy is pointing at it. We were all so excited to have found one! It was almost like finding buried treasure or something. We took a ton of pictures, and Mom suggested moving on to see if we could spot any others.

We hiked a little farther up the river, and found some more:

This is sort of a bad photo, but you can kind of see two or three tracks in the shallow rock behind us. We really felt like adventurers now. It was so much fun to sit here and think about what this place would have looked like back then, and what these creatures would have acted like.
They'd probably be pretty smelly.

All too soon, we had to hike back to the car. It was so cold that water was dripping out of the rocks around us and freezing into icicles!

We were so exhausted and cold by this point, we didn't think we'd make it to the top. It was pretty slow going, but we made it back, and promptly did this:

But our nap didn't last too long. Mom left us alone to sleep while she went exploring another place along the river with tracks, then woke us up to ask us if we wanted to stop by the gift shop on the way out for a souvenir.
We did, and we each got to pick out something cool. I got a pressed penny and a badge with the name of the park to put on my hoodie, and Ivy picked out a dinosaur statue and a dinosaur hunting license. For fifty cents, she's officially able to hunt dinosaurs and remove their carcasses from the State Park!

We gathered up our purchases and headed outside for one more photo with the dinosaur statues while Mom stayed behind and chatted with the employees about the history of the park.

Before we could do anything though, this little guy popped out from under one of the feet of the dinosaurs:

I'm from the country, and was so afraid we were going to get sprayed and jumped back, but he ran right over to Ivy and acted like he wanted to cuddle, who of course scooped him up and gave him some cuddles like she didn't know what he was or what he was capable of.

"Ivy! What do you think you're doing!!" I yelped at her. "That's a skunk!!"

"I know! And he's so cute and friendly! Quick, your mom's still inside, let's take him home with us. I really want a pet so bad, and my moms haven't had time to help me get one. He's perfect!"

My mom is totally going to kill me when she finds out about this...

Oh, PS: If you want more info on Dinosaur Valley and see some photos of the tracks above ground, we liked this page:
If you're in the area, it's definitely worth the trip. Just don't let your bestie talk you into bringing home a wild animal.


The Crazy Doll Lady!! said...

Oh how kewl to see dinosaurs at the park .. kewl ..

That is awesome you got to see one there .. how totally kewl .. it is amazing they were there and left their prints where we could see them in today's world. Wonder how the rocks were so soft to save their foot prints?? Maybe they walked on drying lava??

Oh no not a skunk .. better get its scent pack off or phew .. LOL


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