Petrified Forest National Park is a day’s drive from Fruita, Colorado en route to Mesa, Arizona. We stayed in the closest campground in Holbrook, Arizona.
We set out the next day for the park. We started at the northern end of the park, which encompasses the “Painted Desert.” The long views were so amazing that it was hard to capture them in a photograph.
Here’s a view from a trail below the Blue Mesa. Petrified wood lay scattered around everywhere.
Some of the petrified logs looked as if they had been spilt for firewood. The signposts explained it well. Think of the petrified wood as a piece of chalk; under pressure, it splits across the grain as if it was cut by a saw.
We’ve seen some good examples of petrified wood over the years; some involving long hikes in remote areas, but no other place had as much petrified wood as in the Petrified Forest National Park. It was all around; huge logs exposed to the elements. The variety of colours depended on the minerals present when the wood changed to stone.
Wendy couldn’t decide which was her favourite log; each had a different variation of colour. The old Route 66 cut through the park, and a rusty old car was appropriately placed (it was hard to believe that it actually died there), but it called for a photo.
We were also close to the “Meteor Crater,” so the next day, we decided to have a look. Although it has been declared a “natural landmark,” it is privately owned, and has been turned into a tourist destination, complete with admission fee, museum, tours and the quintessential gift shop (which you need to walk through to access the washrooms.) The crater itself was impressive and the museum was very informative.
Yes, we had to admit, we were tourists, because nearby was Winslow, Arizona and we had to go. Even before Doug knew there was a park commemorating the lyrics in “Take it Easy” he was interested in visiting Winslow. “Standin on the corner in Winslow, Arizona, Such a fine sight to see, It’s a girl my lord, in a flat deck Ford, slowing down to have a look at me.” We like to believe that the statue is of Jackson Browne, one of our favourite singer songwriters.
We enjoyed our few days enroute to Mesa, seeing things we’d never seen before. In our next post, we travel to the land of cactus.