July 26, 2010

Jonathan Visits Petrified Forest National Park

On our way up to the Grand Canyon, we took Hwy 180, which lead to the southern entry of the Petrified Forest.  Great place to enter and stay if you're in a trailer.  The owners of the two museum/stores just outside the gates allow overnight parking for free!  So, you Rver's out there keep that in mind if you're planning a visit to the Park.

The south entry is also the iste of the Rainbow Forest Museum & Visitor Center. Along with  artifacts of early reptiles, dinosaurs, and ancient crocodiles, the museum houses several stunning examples of huge petrified trunk slices. 

The Park is unique in that this is the only place in the world where "Rainbow" petrified wood was created.  A twenty mile area containing the Park was a large swamp over 200 million years ago.  The remaining organic materials produced the stunning colors found only here.

Behind the center is the Rainbow Forest, a broad collection of some of the Park's largest and most intact trees.

Probaly the most enjoyable hike of the first day was the Crystal Forest.  A 3/4 mile stroll through an area containing hundreds of magnificant specimens.  Walking through the trail one and seeing the thousands of small fragments in huge piles throughout the area triggers the imagination of what this place looked like a couple of hundred of years ago before heavy human traffic.

Early the following morning, we made the two mile roundtrip to the Agate House, a small pueblo dwelling of originally eight rooms built entirely of petrified wood.  As we walked around the beautiful structure's walls, Kim & I thought how neat it would be to have part of our cabin constructed with this exotic material.

We left the Park later that morning to find a huge store just north on 180.  I was captivated by their outdoor storage lot, in which the piles of petrified material seemed to go on endlessly......

Equally interesting was a nice display of unique furniture all made from combinations of Juniper and Rainbow petrified slices.