Trip To Hardin – Day 14

Petrified Forest National Park

Today after a slow leisurely morning we drove to the Petrified Forest National Park.  This has been on my bucket list since I was a kid.  I wasn’t expecting much.  Many times you build things up in your head and when you see them in real life they are so much smaller than they thought they would be.  I have to say I wasn’t disappointed.  There are so many petrified trees there.  Plus the park also encompasses part of the painted desert.  It’s about a 30 mile drive through the park and it is so worth it.  There is a lot to learn about the indigenous peoples who lived here, their ruins and petroglyphs still stand today.

Painted Desert

We entered by the north entrance and the first part of the park we came to were the overlooks that give you stunning views of the Painted Desert.

Puerco Pueblo

A little farther along the drive we came to the Puerco Pueblo ruins.  A place first built most probably by the Anasazi people.  Here is what it looked like in its heyday:

And here is what it looks like today…

They also left behind quite a few petroglyphs.  They are not a written language but convey ideas or are symbols of the people who lived here or passed by over the years.

But the showstopper for me was the petrified forest itself.  So many trees knocked down by a huge flood and all came together in a huge logjam and were buried beneath the silt together until minerals from the surrounding earth were absorbed into the wood leaving behind a crystalized ghost of the tree that was.

All in all a wonderful day and wonderful drive through time.  Tomorrow we head to Flagstaff, AZ.


2 thoughts on “Trip To Hardin – Day 14

  1. Melanie Hopkins

    Great photos! Geology student’s dream vacation. I haven’t thought about the petrified forest in decades. Never been there or to the painted desert. Looks like a great drive.

    1. Most of the people who were there had just stopped off for a quick look. The rangers tell you what to go see depending on how much time you have. There is a 30 minute tour all the way up to 2 hours. But if you hike the trails you could easily spend an entire day there.

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