Sunday, October 26, 2014

Our Last "Scenic" Stop - Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert

As we had to be back in Florida by the end of August it was time to start heading east. We weren't looking forward to the long days of driving so we made one last stop in Holbrook AZ to explore the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert.

Having lived in Florida for almost 30 years I am very familiar with Disney's "imagineering". When I walked out the door of the visitor's center Disney was the first thing that popped into my mind. The landscape looked too perfect, almost surreal.

It was hard to believe that these "rocks" were actually trees that lived 225 million years ago and remain today approximately where they originally fell. 

The colors in this chunk were gorgeous and glistened in the sun.

A large tree trunk. It had been cut in several places. Not sure if by scavengers
before the land was turned into a national park or by park rangers later.

On some chunks the colors were exposed . . .
. . . and other chunks were completely encased in the original bark. 
Some logs were very light in color and others much darker. Perhaps different kinds of trees?
The floor of the valley was littered in wood "rocks". Erosion has caused them to fall out of the surrounding bluffs.

Just to the north of the petrified wood deposits is the Painted Desert.

Tepee formation
Desert view. The colors are much more vibrant when seen in person.
Another view. Can only imagine how colorful the landscape must be at sunrise or sunset. 
Between 1250 and 1380 A.D. a Puerco Pueblo Village occupied this site.

They left behind the remains of their villages and many fine petroglyphs.
Back in Holbrook, in a rock shop, we found this pond made from petrified wood. It was ironic that while browsing the shop our son called to tell us that a very large tree branch had fallen into our pond back in Florida!

The next day we headed for Pennsylvania.

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