Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Visit to Petrified Tree National Monument

We left the wonderful Balloon Fiesta and headed to Holbrook, where we stayed at the OK RV park. This was a nice RV park and was very easy to get into and out of. I would recommend it as an overnight or a couple day location.

We took advantage of Holbrook's location to visit the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert National Park. This is located about 20 miles to the east of Holbrook and is an easy morning's exploration. We started our tour at the Painted Desert Visitor Center, located on the north side of I40. The terrain is beautiful and most of it consists of red sand/rocks in many unique formations. This area reminded me of the Badlands of SD, only with red as the main color.

We enjoyed the vistas and the Desert Inn, closed during this time of year, but open in the summer season. We continued on the park drive until reaching the site of the original Route 66 which ran through the park in bygone years. Rick and Cody enjoyed posing next to this old car relic and thinking about how the road transformed our country in the early to mid 1900's .

As we passed south of I40, we found an overlook that featured these amazing petroglyphs which were carved about 2,000 years ago at a place called Newspaper Rock. These interesting pictures are actually carved into the surface of the rock and have endured the years very well.

A bit further on, we began to see the petrified trees. These were amazing and much more numerous than I expected. We were impressed with the size of the petrified logs, some of which were about 3 to 4 feet in diameter and many feet long. Obviously, this had been a very fertile rainforest many years ago.

We saw almost no wildlife, except for several very large ravens such as these. They were obviously not very worried about us. We also had the chance to see several petrified trees up close and, as you can see, Cody, the photo dog, really was impressed by these logs!

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