including The Painted Desert


There is not a lot that we can say about this spectacular National Park.  No matter where you drive, the scenery takes your breathe away.  These photos were taken in early April so reflect the beginning of Spring in the desert.  Vegetation is just awakening and turning on its color; animals are starting to reappear after the Winter season; and, the weather couldn't get any better -- in the 60s and 70s with sunshine every day.

The Petrified Forest was formed fifty to two hundred million years ago.  Trees were buried in the mud and volcanic ash.  The movement of water into cracks and crevices in the wood depositing minerals and hundreds of pounds of pressure, the WOOD becomes solid STONE.  As you look at the pictures, look for the colors created by different minerals in the water -- 

    Reds, yellows and browns -- Iron
    Blue or blue green -- copper
    Black -- magnesium and carbon
    White or Gray -- manganese

It is a Federal offence to collect or remove petrified wood from the Park.  Violators can be fined, imprisoned or both.    Superstition says that if you remove petrified wood artifacts from the Park, you will be cursed with bad luck.  At the Visitors' Center, you can read letters that have been written returning pieces of wood to the Park; some are from the person who took the artifact and others are from surviving family members.  In all of the cases, bad luck had fallen on the holder of the "stolen" petrified wood.  

The Painted Desert is situated in the Northern section of the Petrified Forest National Park -- see pictures 1-16.

            1                                    2                                    3                                    4                                    5                                    6                                    7                                     8     

1 -- Petrified Forest National Park
2-3 -- Tiponi Point
4 -- Nancy at Tiponi Point
5-8 -- Tawa Point

                  9                                10                                     11                                   12                                13                                    14                                    15                                16                                      

9 -- Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark.  Historically, the Inn has served as a trading post, an inn and restaurant.  Today it is a museum.  
10 -- Mural by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie.  Several others can be viewed within the Inn.
11 --  Native American Weaver 
12 --  Entrance Painted Desert Inn
13-16  --  Pintado Point.  We had a picnic lunch at this overlook viewing area.

Petroglyphs are a form of rock art and were created by chipping, drilling or scraping away the surface to expose the inner layer of the rock face.    In this part of the desert, sharp stones created from flint, jasper or agate would have been common.   Native Americans used this form of art as a means of communication.   Thousands of these images can be found all over the Southwest.   Petroglyphs are recognizable human figures, animals and geometric patterns that can be interpreted to tell stories.

            17                                18                                 19                                    20                                21                                        22                                  23                                24                     

17-19 -- Newspaper Rock.  Petroglyphs etched into stone.
20 -- The Tepees.  The colors appear to  be red, white and blue -- red is iron; white is sandstone and "bluish" hues (darker veins) are carbonite.
21 -- Pieces of petrified wood that have been exposed after hundreds of years of erosion.
22 - 24 -- Views along Park Road of exposed petrified logs.  

           26                                    27                              28                                29                                    30                                    31                                32                                    33                                                   

              34                                35                                36

26  --  More "Red, White & Blue"
27  --  Exposed petrified tree.
28  --  Agate Bridge.  (The support under the Petrified Tree was built by the Parks Service to preserve the Bridge.)
29  --  Jasper Forest
30-33 --  Crystal Forest
34-35  --  What minerals can you identify?
36  --  Petrified Wood Garden at Rainbow Forest Museum