No , I am not in the US to date. I am just so delayed in my update on this blog. Sorry. We visited Petrified Forest National Park in the Spring of 2016. This may have happened two years ago, but the memories seem so real still. The place is awesome. And history is a very good teacher that all of us can learn from. That does not get old. So here’s my story which I think is better late than never. 🙂
Coming from Meteor Crater , Petrified Forest National Park is about an hour’s drive only. It is more or less 77 miles via I-40 and Highway 180.
We entered through the Painted Desert Visitor Center, where we got our map and guide to the park. We also bought some food at their restaurant prior to proceeding with the trip.
Oh before I move on, I would like to thank our very helpful park rangers there. Nice people! Thank you.
The photo below will explain why it is called Painted Desert. (Click to enlarge).
An expeditioner , Francisco Vasquez De Coronado, passed through this area while looking for gold in 1540 and named this place, El Desierto Pintado which in english means, The Painted Desert.
These badlands can be seen from the East End portion of the Grand Canyon National Park all the way to the South East end of The Petrified Forest National Park. The colors vary depending on the season. But it changes from Orange, red and brown during summer time to Purple, Blue and Gray during the rainy season. Amazing right? We went there during Spring and this is how it looked like. So pretty…. 🙂
The Painted Desert Inn is where the travelers spent the night way back in the 1900’s.
The inn overlooked the Painted Desert. So we decided to have our lunch right infront of this beautiful place. Look at that colored vast expanse of land infront of us. Amazing right!
A portion of the famous US Route 66 can be seen from this National Park.
And of course, a souvenir had to be taken! 🙂 Thank you to the kind hearted tourist who offered to take our picture here.
Behind us is Interstate 40. But there is no access to or from there going to the park. You need to proceed to Highway 180 as mentioned above.
Next stop is the Village on the Rio Puerco.
The Puebloan inhabited this area between A.D. 1250 to 1380.
I found this place so amazing because of the petroglyphs carved on the rocks. Imagine the history and the story of those that drew their lives on said rocks.
A tectonic movement lifted the earth’s crust about 225 million years ago, which this plateau was a part of. The lower layer of this formation is made of silt , sand and clay that has fossilized over time. The upper layer came from ash and lava of volcanoes that erupted nearby.
The frames at the site.
My actual pictures. So gorgeous right? I just love their colorful combination.
From the Blue Mesa, we proceeded to the Rainbow Forest Museum. Here, you will find the Petrified Trees. And other fossils that left me in awe.
The simplest explanation I found online for a Petrified Wood is this:
Petrified wood is a fossil. It forms when plant material is buried by sediment and protected from decay due to oxygen and organisms. Then, groundwater rich in dissolved solids flows through the sediment, replacing the original plant material with silica, calcite, pyrite, or another inorganic material such as opal.
Below is a photo of me sitting in a petrified wood.
Look at those colors. Stunning is an understatement….
Jewelries made of petrified wood are sold in some places. The park museum has them too but they bought from private suppliers. Please note that taking petrified wood , no matter how small, from the park is illegal. So the saying ” take only pictures and leave everything behind” applies here.
The other fossils I am referring to are these:
Dinosaurs: That grew about 1.6 meters long. The first fossils were found in Texas. But same dinosaurs were common in Arizona, specially at the Petrified Forest area back then. These bones were found in Petrified Forest.
THE FLOWERS IN THE DESERT:
My reflections on these beautiful plants. They thrive in a harsh environment. Consider how hot it is during summer time. And how cold it is during winter time. And yet, they come back year after year. They maybe so tiny compared to men, but they are sturdy and persistent. They come back looking beautiful. Always. That is God’s grace. And how nature works.
Ha ha… The “kikay” in me. 🙂
Dear friends, if you haven’t been here or you are nearby, include this park in your journey. Specially if you have children. The thought of dinosaurs roaming in the area millions of years ago will surely excite them.
I wish I can bring my nephews here someday. One of them loves Dinosaurs and the science that comes with it. So I just brought Marco , my nephew, a tshirt from the park. I know it does not compare. But it will have to do for now.
All in God’s time….
Once again, I would like to thank you for reading my blog. And thank you for traveling with me!