This stark, two-lane desert road leads to a lovely beach just outside of Green River, Utah. I had visited this location in the past, during the spring season. At that time, people were camping and picnicking and they had their beach chairs and volleyball nets set up similarly to any beach I’ve been to anywhere. The sand is deep and luxurious here, and just a darker shade of tan than most of the beach sand I’ve seen at many ocean beaches. In Hawaii, I’ve seen black sand beaches, and even green sand beaches, but this one is a nice deep tan color, like a mink, and stretches around a bend in the river and hugs it like a soft, deep chamois cloth. Now if it were only about 25 degrees warmer, I’d have considered taking my beach chair out there and enjoying the sunshine on my face and shoulders.
But as fate would have it, we arrived here this time in February. The good news was, we were alone out there, and the bad news was, we were alone out there. The wind blew and whipped my hair into a froth every time I stepped outside the car to take a picture. At the end of the day, I looked like I had been tumbled around in a clothes dryer, with my hair sticking out in every direction.
Our adventure this time wasn’t entirely photography-based. We had stopped for lunch at Tamarisk, a great little lunch place in Green River, about a mile from the interstate, and right along the bank of The Green River. While eating my lunch, cranes and herons stretched their wings alongside the river as a family with young kids made their way to the shore for a short post-lunch walk. After lunch, we spent some time at the nearby John Wesley Powell River History Museum right across the street. I was surprised at how nicely done this museum is, considering it’s a small museum in a small town. According to the 2020 census, less than 850 people live in Green River. We really loved visiting the museum and especially the part where we went downstairs and there were three full dinosaur skeletons on display there.
This town and museum are located right along the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway, which is basically a multi-state scenic byway. If you start in Grand Junction, Colorado, where I live, and you’ve got plenty of time, you can drive west out into the desert and exit the interstate at exit 204. This will take you past one of the most interesting ghost towns you’ve probably ever seen, and you can drive south along Scenic Byway 128, as it follows along The Colorado River. The road then takes you to Moab before heading north towards Arches National Park. After visiting Moab and Arches National Park, head back to the interstate, where you’ll run right into Green River a few miles to the west. As you follow the curve of the road clockwise, you’ll eventually end up in Vernal, Utah and very near Dinosaur National Monument, which has some of the most awesome full dinosaur skeletons that you’ll find anywhere. After visiting Dinosaur National Monument, you can return to Grand Junction by completing the circle on Hwy 139 South. When John and I did this whole drive several years ago, we ended up staying in a bed & breakfast in Mountain Home, Utah, known as “The Gateway to The High Uintas.” If you’re thinking of doing this drive, I would highly recommend you spend the night somewhere about half-way through. The road is nearly 500 miles long, so you’ll want to rest up somewhere along the way.
So, the day we spent in Green River this time, and when these photos were taken, was a cold, windy, stark kind of winter day. There were still patches of snow here and there. Despite this, I found the drive to the beach fascinating. Even though we had made this trip once before, there were details I had forgotten, or maybe wasn’t aware of at all the first time we went. When you visit the same place more than once, and in different seasons, it can look quite different at each visit. The light is different, the sun is at a different angle, the weather conditions are no doubt different. You’re likely to notice that things look novel to you, and new things will draw your attention depending upon whatever conditions you may find yourself. So, although I had a general idea of what I might find out there, the details are always a surprise. And that’s the way I like it! When we were there the first time, the grass was green and tall, the trees all had leaves on them, and farmers were out in their fields. This time? None of that. It was almost like observing the bones of the earth mother; like they say sometimes about old houses, “it’s got good bones.” Well, Mother Earth has good bones too, and they’re on display out in the desert north of Green River, Utah.