Zion National Park and life in Santa Clara, Utah

Santa Clara, Utah — Visiting Zion National Park is an obvious activity for Team Jurassic Utah, considering it is made of beautiful Jurassic rocks. We took the opportunity today. Well, half of the team. Galen and I weren’t feeling well, so Nick took Ethan to the magnificent place. Here they are at The Narrows, with some random people above watching. They had a great time as Galen and I recovered quickly enough back at the base.

Speaking of our base, I should describe it. Our place in Santa Clara is embarrassingly luxurious. I’m forbidden from camping out in southern Utah (an incident with gnat bites and anaphylaxis about 20 years ago!), so I usually stay in motels. Our administrative coordinator Patrice Reeder had a great idea: why not look into Airbnb rentals in the area? She found one on our main route to Gunlock. It is indicated by the red pin above near the southern end of the Santa Clara lava field. Appropriately, this place is called Lava Falls at Entrada. It is significantly cheaper than motel rooms, and much more roomy and private. We’ve also saved on food as Nick, Galen and Ethan are avid (and skilled) cooks.

Here is our own Lava Falls #8 house. The attached garage makes it even more convenient for storing gear and specimens, and for loading and unloading the vehicle.

As you saw from the aerial image, this development is in the lava field, remnants of which surround us. For geologists, this has been a very convenient, comfortable and efficient place to stay. Great idea, Patrice.

Nick brought his mountain bike on the trip, which has been highly useful in the field because he can go off on scouting trips and cover a lot of territory. He also likes to ride the trails at night because of the cool air and lack of other people. Last night he met up with a fox and got this great picture.


About Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a Professor of Geology at The College of Wooster. He specializes in invertebrate paleontology, carbonate sedimentology, and stratigraphy. He also is an expert on pseudoscience, especially creationism.
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