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]
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!