Sunday, August 11, 2013

Day 5 Part III- Petrified Forest National Park

My dad told me he went to Petrified Forest 60 years ago when he was a kid. He STILL remembers it. He was really excited for the boys to see it.  THEY were excited to see it. Now I had never been to PF, and Charles hadnt been since he was a kid.

We drove from Walnut Canyon and did a straight shot to Petrified Forest.  It was an easy drive.  We started in the south entrance and worked our way through the north side of the park, did the loop and headed back on I-40 to Gallup NM.

We arrived to Petrified forest in the mid afternoon. you could see the rainclouds LOOMING.  We knew it was only a matter of time before they caught up with us.
I had heard from several people, and read several things that said Petrified forest isnt really a multi day park. You really just need a few hours to see most of everything.  I found that to be somewhat true.  We took about 2 hours in Petrified forest from start to finish.  It was a little abbreviated due to the weather.
I never realized that this actually used to be a forest with trees.  Then when they fell and due to climate change, volcanic activity etc, the stuff covering it caused the tissue in the trees to crystalize, and become rock. Thats why there are so many petrified trees in the park and surrounding areas. It just never really clicked, until I read it and it all fell into place.  lightbulb of understanding.

I was driving as we entered. We passed the ranger station and were heading towards the visitors center.  Up ahead I thought I could see something on the road.  As I got closer I realized what It was.  I squelched the urge to run it over with my car. I drove over it, careful not to actually run it over.  I was immediately sick to my stomach, as I could see it still crawling in my rear view mirror.  However I knew this would be a rare opportunity.  Since no one was behind me, I backed up, and told everyone to get out.  Crossing the road was a GIANT TARANTULA!!!
Now I had only ever seen them in pet stores and zoos. Never in the wild.  Yet here he was, crossing the road like no big deal. Finn was THRILLED.


He was a big boy.

All Petrified wood.

 Then The wind blew in.  It was seriously a gale. It almost knocked poor Peter to the ground.

The bridge. They shored it up back in the 40's (I think thats when it was). 

Newspaper Rock petroglyphs

its a boy scout arrow of light!!

Close up detail of petrification.

Unfortunately the rain caught up with us and it POURED!

After Petrified forest we headed to Gallup New Mexico.  There we drove a bit down historic Rte 66, and ate at a really good Mexican Restaurant.  The salsa verde was so good.  The red salsa was pretty tasty as well.  In fact both Charles and I had blisters on the inside of our lower lip from the spicy. We drove a little more down 66, and saw some of the famous neon lights.  It reminded us of the movie "Cars".

conked out boys.

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