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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

So Saturday's Excursions are slowling coming back into our routines. If you have been following my blog last year, you know that in the beginning of the year, my family and I had gone out and explored fun spots in and around Colorado Springs. It was our own little way of "getting to know" our new home. Well because of work and other obligations, our excursions was put on the way side by mid year. So I'm just super excited when the family and I were able to get out on Satuday and discover a new place......

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is about a 45 minute drive west of Colorado Springs. The drive was pretty but we didn't expect to be walking through snow! About two nights before the weekend, I was watching the news, and they had announced that between Jan 14th and 16th, that all National Parks and Monuments will have these days as a free admission days. They had mentioned that there's two in our area which is the Sand Dunes and then The Florissant Fossil Monument. Sand Dunes was a bit far for us and we were having the missionaries for dinner so we chose the closer place.

We first stopped by the Visitor Center where we saw some fossill rocks, artifacts and even got to touch a petrified wood. While reading through the many information in and around the area, we found out that about 35 million years ago, Colorado was a much warmer area and that gian redwood trees existed in the area. During this time, there was a volcano in the area that erupted. The eruption caused those trees to fall and the stumps were covered by the ash. This had preserved the redwoods and made the wood petrified. Some really cool stuff!

After the visitor center, we took a short 1-mile hike around the Petrified Forest Loop. So when settlers started to reside in the area, they had dug up these stumps and made it a tourist area. It had gotten bad though because people would take these petrified woods home with them as a souvenir and the stumps gotten smaller in numbers so they made the area a national monument to preserve what was left here.

It was a beautiful area to look at but again, we weren't expecting the snow.

Here's one of the stumps in display. They have fenced most of these stumps so people don't attempt to take any wood pieces home.

Most of the trail were covered with snow.

the children were very excited at the snow and at times would run to the nearest pile and walk in deep snow. We lost count of how many times we had told Maddie that her shoes weren't made for playing in the snow!

Here's one of the biggest stumps on display. As you can see, Mitch and Maddie don't compare with the size of this stump and to think this is just a part of a big tree. I can only image how tall and huge these redwoods must have been.

The hike wasn't too long but it was definitely cold. But we survived it and we're glad that we made this trip out to the Florissant Fossil Bed Monument. Plus it's free so you can't beat that!  Marcus was a bit disappointed bec. he thought we were going to see dinosaur fossills. We had to tell him that fossills doesn't always mean dinosaurs all the time. Funny kid.

Till next time,

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