California, Oregon, & Washington 2010 travel blog

Yes, We Were There!

These Guys Ran Around This Area A Long Time Ago

Some of the Petrified Trees Were Large

The Visitor's Center at the Petrified Forest NP

A Polished Piece of Petrified Tree

A Display of Color

A Petrified Log Dam (Supported in the 1920's by a concrete bridge)

Petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock

More Petroglyphs

Another Set of Petroglyphs

Looks Like a Foot Print

Puerco Pueblo

Tim at the Historic Painted Desert Inn

View of the Painted Desert

A Lot of Color in the Desert

A Mural in the Painted Desert Inn

Last Great View of the Painted Desert

We left Flagstaff just in time, the weather west of town generated a few tornadoes that flipped some RVs, vehicles, and blew over a few railroad cars. Fortunately no one was seriously injured. We headed east to the Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert National Park.

The Petrified Forest is the result of trees floating down swampy rivers about 225 million years ago and sinking to the bottom of the rivers. These logs were covered by silt, volcanic ash and other materials. Then the Colorado Plateau began to rise causing the entire region (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado) to gain several thousand feet in elevation. With that process, rain and rivers caused erosion that exposed the buried trees that had petrified. They were located in the Chinle Formations of sandstone. This happened over a huge area and as a result there are many petrified trees outside the National Park that are mined and sold for commercial reasons. The trees in the National Park are protected even that does not stop more than 1 ton of petrified trees to be stolen from the park. As the photos show, the petrified trees are exposed in areas where the erosion has worn away the soil to show the trees.

In addition to the trees, there were a lot of Indian ruins and petroglyphs were extensive. The Painted Desert is in the northern part of the twin parks and had a wonderful display of colors while we were viewing the area. The Painted Desert Inn is a National Historic Landmark that was built by the CCC in the 1920's. It is open for touring but is not operated as an Inn. The views from the dining room was spectacular.

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