Here are some previously unpublished images from our visit to Petrified Forest NP in northeast Arizona in late September, 2017.
We walked leisurely through the Crystal Forest area of the park on the paved loop trail. As the trail is mostly level and is paved, it allows elderly and wheel chair visitors to enjoy this colorful landscape with its raw, stark natural beauty.
Here at the start of the trail, we see an informational plaque about Crystal Forest (sounds like something from a fairy or fantasy tale). As we have already given some words to the geologic history of the park in our much earlier post on Jasper Forest, we will refer interested readers to that post (use key words “Jasper Forest” in our blog’s search box).
A barren landscape, that entices with its solitude and its raw beauty, is seen in this image.
On the trail in this wide open country.
Petrified wood pieces that have emerged from the ground as the overlying sedimentary layers of rock have eroded away over millions of years.
Those pieces in the distance are pretty good size.
With a “badlands” background, we see what appears to be one large fossilized tree trunk that is broken into many segments.
The walking is easy here along the paved trail. This national park does have various hikes (some are long hikes) that are “off the beaten path” for avid hikers.
This view shows us how the petrified wood appears to “grow” right out of the ground.
Scattered pieces of ancient trees baked in the sun in this high altitude desert.
A close up view now of some chunks of fossilized wood nearby the trail.
Brighter colors are seen in this sample.
Here is another nearby view.
Lucy takes liberty to gently sit on one of the ageless specimens. This helps to give some perspective as to the size of these pieces. This “wood” being more than 200 million years old, a mere mortal is reminded of how short a human life is in the larger scheme of things. Note the other park visitors farther up the trail in the distance.
Glancing down on some scattered pieces. These may appear to have been strewn haphazardly across the landscape.
A rather long log slowly emerging from the ground due to the processes of erosion.
On a good day, my wife, Lucy, stands about 61 inches tall. We can see that these tree trunks were fairly thick.
Varying colors in the rock or fossilized wood are likely caused by different minerals and chemical compounds.
If these rocks could speak, what a tale they could tell us.
Near the edge of the trail, we see these large blocks of ancient wood.
In this next shot, I panned the camera to the right.
It was not clear why this area of the park was named Crystal Forest. We can say, from the souvenir pieces we purchased (at an approved shop outside the park), that the surfaces of these specimens is much like a hard glass or crystal and can have sharp edges.
A colorful sample lying nearby on the ground is seen here.
Emerging from the ground, this piece exhibits different colors.
A solitary sentinel on watch for eternity in this timeless land.
A piece, that like a snake, has begun the process of shedding its old skin.
The ancient tree “rings” are visible in this sample.
Nearing the end of the loop trail, we take this pic.
An edge on view gives us a look inside the “burrito”.
A more colorful view here of another nearby specimen. Amazing natural processes at work.
At the end of the trail, we find this information plaque. Later, we continued our explorations in other parts of the park (we have previously posted the related photo essays). This national park, although fairly remote as it is rather far from the large cities of the US Southwest, is a good field trip for school age children, but perhaps not during the heat of summer. (It was quite pleasant here in late September.)
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