Dinosaur Dig Hike – 01/29/2017

Another beautiful day in the amazing Ojito Wilderness.  Temperature was a bit chilly leaving the car, 38 F, with just enough breeze to make us bundle up with gloves and ear coverings.  As always happens here in the Mountain West, with the elevation, dry air, and crystal blue skies, temperatures rose by noon, causing us to start shedding layers.

The Hike

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This hike is a followup to our recent outing, Hoodoo Pines, when we thought we were heading towards the Dinosaur Dig, but … we started at a different trailhead and were using a different ASCHG track.  Today, tho’ we got on track, followed Dinosaur Dig Hike, (with a half mile backtrack, if you look at the GoogleEarth .kml track closely), and found our way to the Logs, the Cave, the Dig, and the Petroglyphs.  

Flora for this hike: A small plant in its winter finery.

Along the way, we found other rock ‘assemblies’ that still puzzle us – the shape strongly suggests petrified tree trunks, but the appearance and texture of the outer surface and what would be the inside of a tree trunk appear nothing like petrified wood we’ve seen elsewhere.  (Where is the geologist when we need one?)  At the “Logs”, the rocks there were so much more like what we expect that we concluded they -are- petrified wood.  And they made a fine “coffee bar” for our mid-hike break.

The site of the Dinosaur Dig is a large area of sand, quite unusual compared to the terrain all around (and elsewhere, for that matter).  And it is near the end of this mesa, with a 200-300, maybe 400 foot drop-off to the valley floor – this seems unusual, but the mesa is clearly “held up” by a solid foundation of rock geology.  And closer to the end of the mesa than the Dig, we found the petroglyphs – unusual in that they were inscribed on a horizontal surface of rock (and at the mesa’s edge, so I had to take photos so Jay could see them up close).

Jay here: Okay, okay, so I don’t like being on the edge. But I did tackle about a 400 foot scramble up a lot of rocks to get to the top of the mesa, and I got there a lot sooner than someone else did. The Ojito Wilderness keeps giving back when it comes to fascinating rock geology and we have only just begun to explore what’s out there. Here’s to more Ojito discoveries.


Total Distance: 3.80 miles
Elevation: 5,843 start, 5,926 maximum, 5,715 minimum
Gross gain: 83 ft.  Aggregate ups & downs:  ascending 499 ft, descending: 496 ft
Maximum slope: 47% ascending, 33% descending, 5% average
Duration: 3:21

GPS Track Files for Download

Related Posts (in the vicinity)

All Ojito Hikes


ASCHG: Dinosaur Dig Hike
ASCHG: Dino Dig And Hoodoo Pines 
Dog of the Desert: “Dinosaur Dig” mesas in the Ojito Wilderness
BLM: Ojito Wilderness

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