Friday, January 4, 2013

Stop 5: Petrified Forest & Painted Desert

After a night in Chinle, we hit the road through Eastern Arizona to the last National Park of the trip, the Petrified Forest & Painted Desert National Park.

This is a large park that is designed to be driven through. There are pull offs throughout the park where you can get out and gaze. We did the northern part first, which was the painted desert. The colors were gorgeous, and with so few other people, it was so peaceful. It felt like we had it to ourselves.

The park then crosses over Route 40, and you enter the southern half. This side of the park has more areas where you can get out and do some short hikes. One area had some ruins from old dwellings, and one trail was closed off. We took this warning seriously!

There were also lots of petroglyphs in this part of the park. By this time in the trip, I had become fascinated with finding petroglyphs all over. Having learned that the big swirl symbol meant travels, we always looked for one.

One of the most serious hikes in this park wound through badlands. I loved this section. I had never seen badlands before, so I was fascinated about the geology of it and the colors! I loved the stripes in the rocks, and colors that I had never seen in nature before. It was breathtaking.

And another in my "D hiking" series, I seemed to have a lot of shots like this. I just love seeing him with no one else around, just big nature.  

After the badlands, you start entering the areas with serious amounts of petrified logs.

I'm not a huge geology geek, or know much at all about rocks, but this was still a fascinating stop simply because nature is amazing. The colors in these logs are gorgeous, and you really get the sensation that you're watching nature happen. Sure, these rocks took millions of years to get to this point, but they're so obviously wood and solid stone, that you can get a real feel for the process.

A close up of minerals in one of the logs. 

From here we got back onto the highway and headed to our final stop: Winslow, Arizona.

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