Stepping back in time... 280 million years

Today was a day for walking. I've clocked over 8 miles today walking in the park and hiking to a prehistoric site. I'm tired! My day started with an easy walk around the park with Dexter. He was a sleepy boy today, so I decided not to take him on the longer hikes.

I joined a group of folks mid-morning for a Ranger-Led hike around the trails of Leasburg Dam Park. It was very interesting walking with a knowledgeable Ranger who discussed the area geology and gave us quite a bit of information about the Rio Grande River and valley, and the dam. I learned that there are quite few hot spring aquifers near here that are used by the area farmers. One large commercial greenhouse operation uses the natural hot water to heat their greenhouses! The ranger also gave me information about an area prehistoric site. I was intrigued and decided to check it out.

I took Dexter for another a short hike around the park before heading out solo to explore the Prehistoric Trailways National Monument. This site is still in development so the information and trails were primitive, but it offers a window into what the area was like 280 million years ago. The site, which is located in the Robledo Mountains, is less than 10 miles from here. The hike was quite strenuous for me and the trail was sketchy with lots of loose rocks and very few markers. In two miles I gained 1224 feet in elevation! Now that sure got my heart pumping! I was determined to make it to the site, so I just kept pushing on and I'm glad that I did. Some very interesting fossils awaited me at the end of the trail. I hope you enjoy the pictures! I also took some video along the way of the views. You'll hear how hard I'm breathing in the final video, I left that in to give you some indication as to the difficulty of this hike!

Here's a bit of information about the site and some views from the hike.

Along the way I saw many beautiful rocks that didn't have fossils but I just couldn't resist photographing!

And at long last here are some photos of some of the fossils I saw today. Ferns and plant life as well as some shells and footprints. It's so interesting to realize that this desert landscape was once completely covered in water!