We drove up from Tucson, stopping a north of Payson, AZ. It was dark when we stopped so we could not see beauty of the area. In the morning we awoke to the beauty of a high mountain forest in the Tonto National Forest - complete with that funny white stuff (snow) on the ground.
We continued on to Petrified Forest National Park with limited expectations, however the beauty of the park exceeded our expectations. The park is located at +5,400 ft elevation in the high desert. It was in the mid 70s, quite nice after the 90s in Tucson. We entered the park from the south through Holbrook, AZ. The famed Route 66 (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_66) went through this town.
The visitors center had a great movie on the history of the park which dates back over 225 million years. Humans have been in this area for 13,000 years, and dinosaurs roamed it also. For those not familiar with petrified wood, click on this link: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petrified_wood. We walked the Giant Log trail and saw some spectacular pieces of petrified wood including "Old Faithful." The petrified wood in the park is composed of quartz and other semi precious minerals and is the largest concentration of petrified wood in the world.
We walked the Blue Mesa trail (worth it) and visited an area where Puebloan people made their home a thousand years ago in a village called Puerco Pueblo. We stopped at "Newspaper Rock" named for the many petroglyphs on it. The vistas of the painted desert were absolutely beautiful - the photos don't do it justice. Everywhere we turned we kept being amazed!
|Our "token" national park sign|
|A petrified tree broke into chunks by nature. |
There are pieces all over the place.
|This tree trunk behind us was named "Old Faithful". It was huge!|
|Newspaper rock - loaded with petroglyphs. I grabbed this |
picture from the internet because you could only view this with binoculars.
They were all over the place.
|Remnants of an ancient people!|
|The picture does not do this justice. The vistas were beautiful!|
|Our typical lunch on the tailgate of the truck. |
Tortilla rollups with cold cuts, chips and fruit.