Petrified Forest National Park

IMG_5322In spite of being short of time due to the distance we had to drive, we wanted to see one last thing, the Petrified Forest. The Park covers about 230 square miles and includes areas of petrified wood, as well as highly eroded and colorful badlands. It was on a loop that left the interstate and returned further down the road. I had been here before and as I recalled it, the petrified logs were right along the roadside. Well, either they moved or my memory was not as good as I thought. Considering how long ago it was, I suspect the later.

IMG_5318After we entered the park, we saw a Visitors’ Center.”Do you want to stop?” asked Morris.

“No, I know the story.” The logs are remnants of prehistoric forests.  Trees died and fell down, then they soaked up water and silica from volcanic ash and over time it crystallized into quartz. “I just want to see the petrified wood.” So, we drove on. But we didn’t see anything.

“We should have seen it by now.”

“Seen what?” asked Mo.

“The petrified forest. I think we should turn around and go back to the Visitors’ Center.”

“Turn around where?” asked Mo as the road was narrow. Finally, we came to a pull-off and were able to turn around.

When we got back to the Visitors’ Center, I saw the problem immediately. Logs and pieces of logs were strewn about on hills behind the building. There was a paved path winding around through the fields of wood. And steps, there were many steps involved. We got out of the car and walked around on the path taking pictures. It was extremely hot, about 95 degrees. Finally, I decided I didn’t need a picture of every single log. They were pretty much the same.

IMG_5339Later, we went on and found other areas with logs. Then we came to an area with brightly colored rock formations in red and blue. It was a gorgeous section of the Painted Desert. I’ve see red rock before and knew it was due to iron, but the blue? It was as blue as the sky. It really did look painted. I found out later that the red is oxidized iron and magnesium. The blue occurs when there is water that interferes with the oxidization process. Okay… but it still looks like someone painted it to me.

We then came to a canyon with an unusual color of red. It was too much to pass up. We stopped and made more pictures. Now we were very much behind schedule. My head is still full of petrified wood and painted desert images. Yes, I need to come back when I can spend more time — preferably when the weather is cooler.

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About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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