Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Petrified Forest and Painted Desert

Marianne had never seen the Grand Canyon so she came out to Phoenix to visit one of her scrap booking friends, Paula. While I strolled leisurely through the Canyon, the two ladies worked their fingers to the bone scrapping whatever they scrap these days.

After a day of rest, Marianne and I rented a car and headed north east to take a look at the Petrified Forest and the nearby Painted Desert. From there we would head west to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon where I had luckily managed to get a room at one of the lodges.

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The closest town to the two attractions is Holbrook so we decided to take the scenic route up into the mountains towards Payson and then on to Holbrook for lunch.

It's a dual carriageway highway and quite easy driving. Not much traffic either by east coast standards.

There were a couple of major bushfires burning in the vicinity of Phoenix so there was haze everywhere. These are the mountains east of Phoenix.


By now we were climbing up into the mountains. Since I was driving, I didn't get many photos. Payson looked like a nice place and the scenery is very good.

More cacti.

Since we will be getting ready for Germany, I'll just have to miss out.

We had lunch in Holbrook which is a very touristy place that lies on Route 66. I had a Spicy Mongolian Beef sandwich at one of the local diners and quite enjoyed it.

This is the road that takes you from Holbrook to the Petrified Forest. A closed road goes between the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert and the Park Service has entrances and visitor centers at each end. I bought at Seniors Pass for $10 which is good for life and gives the two of us entry into all of their parks. It is quite a bargain since the normal entry fee is $25 for a carload.

We started off at the Petrified Forest end of the park. The area of the forest is not huge and you just stroll around and look at the petrified wood.

While we were there, this cloud parked right above the forest and lingered for quite a while. It was roughly the same area as the forest so most of my photos are in the shade of this cloud. It was not the only cloud in the sky but there were not too many other clouds in the vicinity.

A large tree trunk.

Some of the rocks have been cut and polished.

It gets really hot out there. Remember to take a hat and a bottle of water.

The Visitor Center has three dinosaurs.

We then continued on the road through the park. The landscape is very dry.

We came to the Jasper Forest where the valley is littered with petrified wood from Jasper trees..

We were intrigued by this large black bird that was hanging about for food scraps.

At Newspaper Rock you are supposed to be able to see petroglyphs. We couldn't make them out.

The traditional name in the area for these swirling duststorms is Haboobs. In Australia we call them willy-willys.

Just as we came to the Painted Desert, we crossed over I-40 which effectively replaced the old Route 66.

These were to commemorate the famous road.

The Painted Desert, We were there in the early afternoon which is the wrong time of day. The overhead sun washes out the colours. Late afternoon or early morning would be much better.

Taking pieces of petrified wood out of the park is illegal and the Park Service can search your car when you exit the park. They just waved us though.

I'm glad we went there however. Next time I pass over in a plane I will be looking for it.

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