Friday, September 11, 2015

2015 Humphries Family Vacation: Huntington State Park

This year the Humphries gang traveled to Huntington State Park for their annual family camp out. It was a nice camp with showers, and toilets, partial hookups and a fun lake for the kids and grown ups to play in. My kids have never looked as clean after a week of camping as they did this year. We had it almost to ourselves during the week and left just as the weekend rush arrived.

The lake had a fun slide that some of us went down. It was fun to do but I got some pretty bad rug burns from it, even after we tried to get it wet by pouring buckets of water on it.  We also rented some paddle boards and the kids played on some inflatables that Grandma and Grandpa Humphries had brought and rode on Kevin and Kieran's canoe.

Only Brandon and Andrea's site had a fire pit with a ring around it so two of the evenings we roasted marshmallows and made our traditional biscuit cups. Stella enjoyed just eating graham crackers and ready whip.

The kids all got a glow stick to play with at night. The boys got pretty inventive and began twirling them around and making smiley faces with them.  Uncle Scott brought some cool fire coloring powder. You just spread the powder over a fire and watch the flames change colors. They last a good 20 minutes.

Our first family excursion was to the  Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry. It is an interesting place. Archaeologists have found thousands of dinosaur remains in a very limited area. They are all from young and seemingly healthy dinosaur and they don't have an answer as to why so many of them died in the same spot.

One of the theories is that the water they drank was poisoned, another that they waded into the water but got stuck in mud and weren't able to get back out. Past the museum there was a dig for us to look at. It's hard to tell what's a fossil and what's not. The dinosaur egg looked like a rock to me.

After the dig we went on a self guided hike along the quarry. It was very disappointing. There was no shade, it was incredibly hot and we couldn't identify most of the things that we were supposed to be looking at.

The designated picnic area was among some really large boulders with no shade either. Needless to say, we were ready to leave as soon as we were done eating.

Due to some miscommunication the rest of the family went on to visit some pictographs inside San Rafael Swells. Once they got back and we realized what had happened Todd and I decided to check them out with the kids.

People of the Fremont Culture carved images on the rock called petroglyphs about 1000 years ago.  We hiked approximately 1/2 mile to the Rochester Panel Rock Art Site. It's impressive how many different images have been carved there.

We also visited the Buckhorn Wash Pictograph Panel which includes pictographs from the Barrier Canyon culture from at least 2,000 years ago, as well as petroglyphs.

On our way back we stopped to see the Morrison Knudsen tunnels, a cold war relic. The tunnels were created to test how they would withstand air delivered explosives.  It was one of six projects across the west, each tested by detonating explosives on the ground above the tunnels, found in a variety of soils. Unfortunately the entrance to the cave was closed up to the public.

We also visited the Western Mining and Railroad museum in Helper, Utah. It was quite an interesting place.  Most Utah historical places were settled by Mormon pioneers. Helper on the other hand was a mining town. Miners were recruited from all over Europe and came to Utah, often without family, on the promise of a better life, which was hard to get on the wages they were earning. The community was inhabited by rough looking man who worked hard and played even harder. Drinking, gambling and women were aplenty.

Back at camp we enjoyed a walk around the lake. Roasting marshmallows, making giant bubbles and balancing on the slack line.

The Museum of the San Rafael was our last outing of the trip.It had some great dinosaur, animal and early life exhibits. There was a dark room where you could see local rocks glow under a black light.

I enjoyed reading more about the Freemont culture who inhabited the area 1,000 years ago and who created the petroglyphs I had seen. The Sitterud Bundle was an interesting display. It was found stashed on an overhang by Mr. Sitterud. It dates back to 1250 AD and contains food, hunting tools and tools to make tools. Everything was incredibly well preserved for it's age. I wonder what caused its owner to leave such a valuable thing behind.