Jun 6, 2012

KIT™ Day 13

After we checked in yesterday, we notice this sign near our hotel, it was hilarious.  We loved staying at the El Rancho this is one of the more famous hotels along the Road and lots of movie stars stayed there in the '40s and '50s.  I went for a jog this morning, and it was a challenge at 6-7 thousand foot elevation and with lots of hills, it really took it out of me.  The first fifteen minutes was up-up-up and the next fifteen was down-down-down.

A ways outside of Gallup, near Manuelito, was this spot where the old Route 66, I-40, the Sante Fe Railroad, and the river all went through a natural pass in the terrain.  It was beautiful.  There was even a train off in the distance.  In this area, the road followed close to the formations and you can imagine how interesting it is to drive through this area.

As we approached the state line, ready to enter into our 7th state (of eight), was the Yellowhorse trading post.  I loved the paintings on the cliffs and they had placed animal replicas up there as well.  It was a nice way to leave New Mexico, a state we will definitely visit again (hopefully with our friends Kim and Steve).  Just into Arizona was Lupton, which marked the beginning of Luni, Hopi, and Navajo Reservation areas.

Next up was the Petrified Forest National Park.  The first picture here gives you an idea of the terrain we went through for approximately 20-30 miles, and expect more of tomorrow.  But tucked into this is the painted desert and the petrified forest.  It still floors me to have this beauty so hidden in such a desolate area.  

The Petrified Forest was declared a National Treasure/Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906.  In 1932, the Painted Desert was added to the monument.  In 1962, both were converted to National Park Status.

First up was the painted desert; the red colors are caused by iron, the purplish colors by magnesium, and the grays by carbon.  The pictures do not do justice, but they are posted here for you to try and get a feel for the majesty of the scenes.

The Petrified Forest is approximately 225 million years old.  The original location of the 200 foot trees was in the area now around Panama, but with the tectonic plate shifts, this area is now in Arizona.  This was known as the Triassic period.  

There was a torrential storm that felled many of the trees, and as they were swept into the river, their branches were stripped off, and they eventually came rest in a swamp.  Then, volcanic ash and sand and silt settled over the swamp, and decay of the trees was prevented.  Next, the silica in the volcanic ash seeped into the porous trees, and interacted with the cellulose in the trees and turned them to stone (quartz).  It was an amazing thing to behold and I hope you get a small feel from theses shots.  [Of course after 12 days, my camera battery died right in the middle of the Petrified Forest pictures, so you have to deal with some cell phone pictures]

Also part of the National Park are some Pueblo Ruins and petroglyphs (carved images into the stone).  These were created 600 to 800 years ago, and several different groups lived in these pueblos (900 AD and 1300 AD approximately).  Interesting, but no match to the nature and majesty of the painted desert and petrified forest.

While we were in the Painted Desert and Petrified Desert, we walked four different trails, got some intense sun, drank a lot of water, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  Nothing beats mother nature!  Then it was on to Holbrook where we checked into the awesome WigWam Motel.  Here is a picture with Beth in the doorway.  We are watching the OKC vs. Spurs game then will head out for a bite to eat.  Happy Wednesday to you!


  1. You take such good photos and give such detailed descriptions that I am going to keep this in mind if I need to do a powerpoint presentation on "What My Friends Did Last Summer"!

    Have fun!!

  2. The Painted Desert and Petrified Forest were Awesome. The colors magnificant. OMG I wondered if you would stay at the Wigwam. And you did. Great photos of everything. Take care.

  3. Great shots, Ken. I love the Petrified Forest and that whole part of the country.

  4. Great photos, thanks for sharing.................they were Awesome!

  5. One of my favorite things so far has been the Petrified Forest. Just breathtaking! (In more ways than one!)


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