March 25, 2008

Petrified National Forest and the Painted Desert

From the moment we pulled in to the Root 66 RV Park, we knew we'd found an interesting spot on the planet....from tacky abandoned motel rooms to bubba's with 4-wheelers with a local rooster in charge this place was sumthin' ! ...and it even boasted it's own pertrified wood sale in the front yard!

Oh well, I guess we deserved some place special....
but a short drive into the Painted Desert proved that we were indeed in a special place. No photo can do this place justice, but here's a couple to give you the feel for the vastness of the valey and it's beautiful colors.

The Park has done an ezxcellent job of restoring and preserving the circa 1938 Painted Desert Inn. The backdrop of colors & textures make a perfect home for this classic adobe structure.

The interesting glass artwork inside could not rival the architectural artforms of the exterior.....

Moving into the main part of the "Forest" showed us that the Anasazi had been there long before us. Looking at this image of "Newspaper Rock", filled with hundreds of petroglyphs provides no clue as to the actual height of some 30 feet!

As we drove through the Tepees area, our rig seemed to get lost amoung the massive figures surrounding us.
The most popular area in the Park is the Rainbow Forest. This particular section was far enough away from the railroad and highway to have been spared the onslaught of tourist looking to bring a chunk of the petrified wood home. Before the NPS took over, millions of pounds of the Forest were taken out by both tourists and commercial groups. As we entered the area, it was interesting to notice the "lay of the land". Here, across this valley, as the softer sands & earth are eroded away, the petrified tree hunks remain, scattered thourhout the area, as they once were across the entire Park.

The closeup to the left shows the continuous process as this large "log" is "eaten" out of the rock & sand by the forces of Nature.

Unlike many national parks, one is allowed to touch, feel and even sit on these relecs from the past. Kim & I enjoyed the many different "trees" scattered througout the Rainbow area.

Looking back through the photos this morning, I realize that I shot far too many "slices & chunks" of this colorful material. But I'll close with a small ampling of the many shapes, textures and colors that abound within this national treasure, and leave you with the urge to come and see this exquisite example of forces of nature at work firsthand.

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