Sunday, May 2, 2010

Petrified Forest National Park

Current Location: Holbrook, AZ

One down, 63 to go! One of my lifetime goals is to visit every U.S. National Park. I've been to many of the major ones, but there are so many others that I have yet to see. We decided that we would start our new life with a clean slate and not count the parks we had visited previously. So yesterday we knocked off the first one with a visit to the Petrified Forest National Park.
This park is made up of petrified logs which were created over 225 million years ago. They fell into streams and were buried in a mix of silt, mud and volcanic ash, which cut off the oxygen and slowed the logs' decay. Silica-laden groundwater seeped through the logs and replaced the original wood tissues with silica deposits. Eventually, the silica crystallized into quartz and the logs were preserved as petrified wood.
From far away, the logs look just like wood logs:
But up close, you can see the beautiful crystals:
This park was first created as a National Monument by Teddy Roosevelt in 1906 and was later elevated to a National Park in 1962. Another interesting fact is that this is the only National Park through which Route 66 ran. This portion of Rte 66 has been replaced by I-40, but the old roadbed is still marked by the weathered telephone poles:
This land was also home to the Peubloan people and some of their remnants are still visible today. The puerco pueblo was thought to be home to as many as 1200 people and consisted of approximately 100 rooms. There are many areas where petroglyphs can still be seen.
It felt good really good to be outside, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying some exercise. We took several short hikes and because this is one of the national parks which allow dogs on the trails, Hunter was able to go too. The weather was cool, which was a blessing since there is no shade in this park. As the day wore on, the wind picked up and by the time we reached the end, we were sick of being blown around and skipped the last couple of short trails.

For the first time in quite awhile, we felt like we were back in our element. Our weekends of our past life frequently included hikes in the Colorado foothills. Many of our vacations included visits to National Parks and Monuments, National Forests, or any scenic place outdoors. It felt good to be back to the familiar. As we were hiking, I had a bit of a revelation. In our past life, whether it was a weekend or a weeklong vacation, our adventures always had to come to an end and before we knew it we were returned to the drudgery of life as if our adventure never occurred. But this time, I realized that our adventure won't end until we are ready for it to end. And that put a smile on my face!


  1. Your statement put a smile on my face too!! :)

    The Petrified Forest National Park sounds/looks like a very interesting place. We have it on our "to see" list so we look forward to experiencing what you guys just did.
    I like your goal of visiting every national park in the U.S. that is a great goal!!!

    Safe travels and enjoy the journey!!

    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

  2. You have a wonderful way with words. You put a smile on my face too as I know I will feel the exact way when we hit the road.

    I enjoy your blog.


  3. It was blustery wasn't it! This time of year it usually is up there. Our 40 acres of rural property is in that general vicinity. It was blustery down here in the Valley of the Sun too this weekend.

  4. "In our past life, whether it was a weekend or a weeklong vacation, our adventures always had to come to an end and before we knew it we were returned to the drudgery of life as if our adventure never occurred"

    How true this is. You really don't get to savor those special adventures when you are still in a sticks and bricks. Your sense of adventure and being in that mindset seems to only last a few days before you have to get back into operating like a mechanical bull.

    I'm so glad you have the sticks and bricks behind you now and are living life with that sense of freedom that we all desire.

    Be well,

  5. Only 63 left? If you attack that goal like you did the one to become fulltimers you 'll be finished by August! Have fun girls.