Northern Arizona - October 2008
Petrified Forest National Park and The Painted Desert
Petrified Forest National Park is 110+mi east of Flagstaff on I-40. The park consists of the area adjacent to a 28mi long paved access road. The entire park is within the larger "Painted Desert" region of Arizona, which stretches from the park north-west a couple hundred miles to the Grand Canyon.
The park has always been plagued with visitors pilfering Petrified Wood. Several shops outside the park sell wood specimens collected on private lands. Prices range from a few dollars for small pieces to large polished table top slabs for $10K++. So the park enforces a strict sunset closing, and they are even allowed to search your vehicle when you are exiting the park.
A shot of the Painted Desert in the northern end of the park. It was very near sunset, hence the intense reds and long shadows. In fact, I went back thru this area the next morning. But these cliffs were in shadow then, and resulted in poor photographs.
|Another area of the Painted Desert,
this time mid-morning.
|More mid-morning Painted Desert
A formation called "The Tepees", shot in the late afternoon.
|Another shot containing The Tepees
(the mounds on the right), but taken mid-morning.
|A few sections of the celebrated petrified wood. These pieces are around 3ft across.|
|This image illustrates 2 things...
First note the "saw grass" desert mid-ground, and eroded sandstone badlands
both foreground and in the distance. This is pretty much how things are along the
access road; stretches of "saw grass" desert in between beautifully eroded
This is a close-up of the smaller of the 2 logs in the above picture. Note the log segments at the base of the hill. I have to assume that at least most of these broke off the log at the top, and fell down into the gully.
A long section of petrified log (~20ft long) eroding out of the hillside.
|San Francisco Volcanic Field|
|Sedona and Red Rock Area|
|Native American Ruins|
|Odds & Ends|