A Visit to the Petrified Forest National Park

There are so many aspects to the Petrified Forest National Park. I’ll provide photos for the various “stations” of our tour through the park in pretty much the order in which we saw them.

The Painted Forest Overlooks: These were aptly described in Mem’s travel journals in my last post. Below is a reminder photo.

Photo by Saloma Furlong

Route 66 Alignment: We didn’t stop to take a photo of the 1932 Studebaker that marks the historic Route 66 (one of the routes Mem mentioned in her travel journal), but it is one of the points along the way.

Puerco Pueblo: Then came the ruins of Puebloan homes occupied 1250-1380 CE. Seeing these was like glimpsing into the past. They’re leftover from a structure that had more than 200 rooms.

Photo by Saloma Furlong

 

Photo by Saloma Furlong

 

Photo by Saloma Furlong A distant train is part of this landscape.

 

Photo by Saloma Furlong

 

Photo by Saloma Furlong

Newspaper Rock: We also saw petroglyphs that are more than 2,000 years old. I wish I could go back in the minds of the artists and know what it was they were conveying. It’s all so fascinating.

Photo by Saloma Furlong “Newspaper Rock”

 

Photo by Saloma Furlong

 

Photo by Saloma Furlong Are those footprints?

 

Photo by Saloma Furlong

 

Photo by Saloma Furlong

 

Blue Mesa:  This reminded me of sand art on a massive scale… your know, when you use different colors of sand in a jar to make art?

 

Photo by Saloma Furlong

 

Photo by Saloma Furlong

 

Photo by Saloma Furlong

 

Agate Bridge: The 110-foot Agate Bridge was another station along our path through the park. It’s a pretty impressive petrified log that spans a gully. They know that eventually it will collapse, but they have supported it underneath for as long as it will last.

Photo by Saloma Furlong

I didn’t want to leave this place. I was as fascinated by what’s around this agate bridge as I was by the bridge itself. Just look at these stone formations, and the way water has created what looks like a big bathtub to me.

 

Photo by Saloma Furlong

And these fossils:

Photo by Saloma Furlong

We usually think of erosion as a negative thing, but look at the beauty that it has created all throughout this park. I could look at these swirling rocks for hours.

 

Photo by Saloma Furlong

Looking down into this field, I cannot even fathom all that is going on geologically… this is part of the Blue Mesa, that big field is dotted with petrified logs, and there are unusual rock formations:

Photo by Saloma Furlong

Jasper Forest: And we had yet to make it to the area for which the park is named.  There are fields of petrified wood for as far as the eye can see. We were encouraged to walk out into these fields, touch them, even walk on them, but told to leave it all lying right where it is. Here are some of my best photos, some up close, some panoramic views of the fields of petrified logs.

Photo by Saloma Furlong

 

Photo by Saloma Furlong

 

Photo by Saloma Furlong

 

Photo by Saloma Furlong

 

Photo by Saloma Furlong

 

Photo by Saloma Furlong

 

Photo by David Furlong

Crystal Forest: Last, but not least, we saw this badlands landscape with petrified logs emerging from the hills. We wished we had a camera that would allow us to get better shots of the logs sticking out of these hills. This is my best shot.

Photo by Saloma Furlong

Mem rarely talked about the trip she’d taken before she was married, but the few times she did, she talked about the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest. Next to seeing the Grand Canyon, this was my favorite part of our trip. It was just one wonder to behold after another.

When I was little, Mem sometimes allowed me to play with her “Viewmaster.” Do you remember those little things that would take a reel of 3-D images and you’d pull the lever on the side of it to change the pictures? She had images of the Grand Canyon, and when I saw the Painted Desert, I recognized that I had seen these images in my childhood. I think it must have been from a reel she would have bought in one of the souvenir shops on her trip. I wonder how much she paid for it?

I am so grateful that I finally had the opportunity to see some of the Natural Wonders of the Southwest. It was a chance for me to connect the experiences Mem wrote about with what I experienced 68 years later. What a privilege.

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10 thoughts on “A Visit to the Petrified Forest National Park”

  1. Sadie, thank you for your compliment. I use a pretty old digital camera, but then I edit my photos in iPhoto on my computer to get the desired effect.

    I enjoyed catching up with you today. I hope to see you again soon!

  2. Pamela lakits

    I could look at your photo’s for hours and probably see something different in them every time. The shapes and colors, the play of shadows and light. The more I look at these photos the more I am in awe of the creativity of God. The beauty he has created in nature for us is amazing. Thanks for taking us along and I am so glad this trip have giving you a renewed sense of connection with your mom and a sweet memory from your childhood. I loved my view master growing up,especially the ones that had nature pictures. Of course “Gunsmoke” and “Bonanza” were a hit also!!! Smile

    1. Pamela, thank you for your kind words. I know, God’s creation is something to behold, isn’t it? I felt so close to God through nature during this trip.

      Oh, you had a view master too… very cool. Mem made it seem like this was a rare thing, so I had no idea how common or uncommon they were.

      We didn’t have Gunsmoke or Bonanza, but we did have Daffy Duck, and other Disney characters.

      Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. Dear Saloma,
    Somehow I missed this post! Fabulous pics…Thank you for sharing!
    I too, had access to a Viewmaster, that my parents purchased for us, growing up! I may still have it tucked away, in the closet?! We as a family didn’t travel much, growing up, but our Viewmaster reels showed us some of the beautiful spaces around us! We did not have a TV until I was in high school.
    Now, I enjoy traveling and seeing the sights, mostly from my living room couch! Much easier on the knees, and old body. lol
    We are thinking of traveling to MA this coming fall, to visit a grand- daughter, and see the Fall foliage,…. and I had hoped to stay in a certain B & B in Vermont, BUT that idea is not feasible now, that you have moved! Is mid Sept. a good time to visit the East coast, and PA.,OH., & IN., when colors are brightest, and not so much humidity? We enjoy our fall colors in the fall, here in the Pacific NW, but I believe we have many more evergreen trees and not as many deciduous trees, as the East, I have heard.
    Thanks once again for sharing…I really do look forward to seeing your posts. Blessings to you ~

    1. Hi C.J., pardon me for butting in, but I think the foliage in New England turns a bit earlier than in more southerly places. When I was 11, my family traveled to Vermont on Halloween weekend, hoping to see the beautiful leaves. They were still on the trees down by us in NJ. But in Vermont, all of the leaves had fallen and the ground was already snow-covered. When I was 13, I visited Vermont in late August and the leaves were just beginning to turn. This was 27+ years ago, but I’m guessing it’s still the same up that way!

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