Today drove from Gallup, NM to Arizona to visit Petrified Forest National Park. We had a time change so got there really early. I was awestruck with the views in the Painted Desert.
We hiked a lot today. I think we hiked about 5 different trails totaling about 6 miles. My grumpiness was very evident.
Even the camera can’t capture all of the beauty and colors here.
We stopped at all the vistas and looked at the different layers in the soil and rock.
One trail was a one way hike so Mom walked back to get the car and meet us at the next location. Daddy took pictures so we could remember what she looked like as we sent her off alone on the trails.
I loved the flowers and spent a lot of time with the camera today. I am hoping to get some good shots for 4H photo contests next year.
We found an owl pellet. After examining the skeleton, we think it is the remains of a kangaroo rat.
I insisted that we hike a trail down to the bottom of the mesa. Mom said she would go with me but informed me we had several longer hikes after lunch. We hiked about 10 minutes down and then back up. I was REALLY glad we don’t go further. It was super steep and downhill was a breeze. I was out of breath after hiking back up!
I was begging to do some off trail hiking so Mom walked with me a bit while E and Dad took a break. We saw lots of lizards and ravens and found a few survey markers.
We stopped at the Painted Desert Inn (historical) and toured the building. I was sad that I couldn’t get a banana split for 20 cents anymore.
Up next was a stop along historic Route 66. There was a 1932 Studebaker wearing away in the desert.
As I mentioned, I loved the flowers!
We stopped at Puerco Pueblo and saw remnants of an old community and their Kiva (ceremonial fire pit).
At Newspaper Rock there were petroglyphs etched into the rocks. Click on the below photo to enlarge and look to the left of Emmerson’s head to see some of the etchings.
The darker portions of the rock had the carvings.
The Blue Mesa trail was spectacular. We hiked down from the mesa to the floor of the valley below. The layers of earth looked blueish purple.
In the ravine areas there were exposed petrified trees. This entire place used to be a river valley and the trees were basically driftwood that floated down the river (there were no branches, just trunks). Then river sediment settled on top and the right mineral situations took place and over millions of years the rocks became petrified. As the erosion occurred the trees were exposed again and are what we see today.
I loved the little plants growing in the rock.
Even the lizards were cool.
Even though the petrified trees are protected in the park people still take pieces to sell or keep. We were allowed to tough and explore but not move or take.
I loved all the colors in the wood.
One of the Junior Ranger activities was to hug a piece and see how far our arms went around. They were massive! This is a smaller piece.
We stopped by the visitors center at the other end of the park and turned in our completed books. Since we completed ALL the activities we got a badge, patch and a cool pencil!
One more look at the petrified wood and we opted to wrap up as the skies were getting darker.
On the way back we stopped at a piece of Navajo land and had more fry bread! 🙂 This time it was $3.50 a piece versus the $1 at the flea market. I opted not to eat any and wanted a push pop instead.
Back to the campground in New Mexico for showers, dinner and relaxing.