Monday, November 9, 2015

Petrified Forest NP

Hi Kids!

Here we are at Petrified Forest NP!
 Petrified Forest is not actually a forest, well it IS, but not any more.  There isn't really any trees anywhere, it's the desert.  But what a crazy, amazing place it is.  As with several of the National Parks, this place, the "Painted Desert", started out as a tourist attraction. Rail was laid through park boundary and soon the railroad began promoting America's scenic wonders hoping to boost passenger service.  Luckily, John Muir, the greatest friend that our National Parks ever had, put a stop to all that and set in motion the process to preserve this national treasure for all generations to come.

Again, there are more than 600 ruins of the Puebloan cultures here, and they are still studying them to this day.  It's difficult to imagine, when you are there, how anyone could have even survived in such an arid, hostile environment, but then maybe it was a little more hospitable then.  It's a long drive through the park, and you can stop at several view points and attractions throughout.  There is some hiking, which is optional, and you can view the various geologically significant landmarks there.

The hike through Blue Mesa trail is easy and paved.
 We hiked the 1 mile "Blue Mesa" hike through huge hills of bentonite clay.  They are literally CLAY, you can reach out and pinch off a piece and squish it in your fingers.  All around you, scattered everywhere, are pieces of broken petrified trees. You are warned repeatedly when you enter the park not to touch or take any of the petrified wood.  In the old days, before it was protected, it's surprising to know that they used to haul trainloads of the stuff out of the park to grind the petrified wood into powder for industrial grit.  Shocking.  If you want to get your hands on some petrified wood, don't worry, there is loads of the stuff on the ground outside of the park and you can get it there!

It was cool to see the nostalgic "Painted Desert Hotel.
We stopped in at the "Painted Desert" hotel, where all kinds of people stayed to come and marvel at this wondrous place.  You can see photos of all of the people, motoring out in their Model A's and Studebakers.  Really interesting stuff.  It must have been insufferably hot in those days with no air conditioning and no shade.  I mean, there are rattle snakes and scorpions, this is bonafide desert!  I wouldn't want to visit here in the summer, it would be like being in hell.

Old Route 66 passes through this National Park.
As always, we were amazed at the scenery and history here.  We are so blessed to be able to tour this part of the country.  I spent most of my life unaware of some of the stunning resources America has, and I sincerely hope you all don't wait as long as we did to go and see it.  Truly inspiring.  Love, Mom

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