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Petrified Forest National Park

Holbrook, Arizona: We had a really big long day and there are way too many (25!) photos below. I ask forgiveness in advance from your internet provider. 

Our day started early. DT headed out on a run, and I headed out on a walk towards the pueblo ruin site at Homolovi State Park. After his run, Dave drove the Honda to find me, brought my camera, and we continued in the car to have another look at the ruins. I have posted more photos from this morning on yesterday's page. Sorry, again, but I just didn't know where else to put the photos. (This page is over-loaded!) Click here and it will take you back in time by one day... and magically down to the bottom of the page to see the added photos - of pottery shards and a very pretty lizard... then you can jump back here.

Just after the 11a check-out time, we were hitched-up and pointed the Magna Peregrinus east on I-40... on just a short jaunt to Holbrook, Arizona. By noon we were installed in a full-hookup site at the KOA and set out to explore Petrified Forest National Park

Interestingly enough to no one but us we visited Petrified Forest National Park in June of 2002 and stayed at this same RV park. We were in our POS Holiday Rambler at the time, and drove our Holiday Rambler through the national park in the reverse of our route today - and today we were in our Honda CRV. We had a great time in the park today, but it was very windy. Very windy. The temperatures were in the high 60's, but we needed a sweater all day. Also, we have gone from sea level to 6000 feet in two days.

First stop was on the northerly loop in the park through The Painted Desert. Incredible colors and incredible vistas. Why are you reading this website? Get in your RV and get out here now!

We also stopped at the Painted Desert Inn. The Inn was restored by the CCC during WWII, but no longer has rooms to let - it is now a museum. It is like stepping back  in time.

A time before my time. A time when a cup of coffee would set you back a dime.

Above photos show the casual ice cream parlour/snack bar at the Painted Desert Inn.

This mountain lion petroglyph was found by the monument's first permanent ranger-naturalist, Myrl Walker in 1934.

A beautiful view from near the Painted Desert Inn

Nizhoni Point - my favorite view all day

The national park also has ruins of an ancient pueblo, built the same time as the Homolovi site (fifty miles west). This pueblo, built around AD 1230 on the Puerco River, housed over 200 people, and had about 100 rooms. There are many petroglyphs and a marker that is illuminated on the solstice!


Our last long walk of the day was through the Crystal Forest. This section of the park has a huge fallen-forest of very large colorful petrified trees. Many of the trees were once filled with clear crystals... which sadly have been removed by illegal poachers over the years. There is a 3/4 mile paved path meandering through these fallen giants.

During the dinosaur days (can't be more specific... this is a travel blog, I am not a scientist), these tall trees grew in a vast floodplain. They fell, then were covered with silt, mud and volcanic ash... which cut off oxygen and slowed their decay. Groundwater seeped in and - voila - you get petrified wood... that is now exposed through erosion. (Go to Mount St. Helens in 200 million years and you can visit Mount St. Helens Petrified Forest World Park.) It amuses me the way the logs break apart in fireplace-ready-sized segments. (I envision chilled dinosaurs, with their little short arms, using chain saws to cut the trees.)

Petrified logs in the Crystal Forest

My Driver, posing, in the Crystal Forest

Petrified wood

Petrified wood

Crystal Forest

Petrified Wood

Calochortus Lily (this photo is pretty-much true-to-size)

After spending five hours in the park, we drove into Holbrook to see what we could see. Not much, but the town is on the remains of Historic Route 66 and they are doing what they can to preserve the vibe.

Sleep in a Wigwam

Impossible to read under the faded Wigwam Motel sign:
"Have you slept in a wigwam lately?"

I am more tired than a dinosaur who has been sawing petrified logs all day, so will close.

PEDOMETER: My Fitbit has me covering 5 miles, over 11,000 steps and climbing an amazing 54 flights of stairs today.

Until my next update, I remain, your petrified correspondent.

RV PARK:  Holbrook Petrified Forest KOA - Full-service gravel pull-through. 50 amp. Picnic table. Bathhouse, laundry, on-site pancake breakfast/cowboy cookout in-season. Wifi, tent sites, cable TV, dump station, playground, game room, heated pool in season, volleyball, tetherball, basketball, horseshoes, propane, dog park. We paid $36.