Thursday, October 28, 2010

Southwest Boogie: Painted Desert/Petrified National Forest

This was a return visit for me, but a new site for Avi, who marveled at the beauty of the scenery. When I did this trip with Dan we spent most of our time in the Painted Desert. This time we stopped a few times along the Painted Desert, then drove (and hiked) down to the Petroglyphs before continuing onto the Petrified Forest part of the Park.

painted desert and the miata closeup

At the Petroglyph spot, we were greeted by a Common Raven (though we also saw some Chuhuahua Ravens in the park as well), hanging around the parking lot. We surmise it was looking for a handout.

painted desert common raven

The petroglyphs were abundant at this stop. But there were more at another stop called Newspaper Rock. Some samples from the initial trail are below (with others on my Facebook page and, eventually on my Picasa page as well).

My favorite has to be the bird that appears to have a person in it’s bill. One has to wonder where the inspiration for this sort of drawing arose.

Then there’s the petrified wood.

The wood was originally washed downriver and buried in the silt to be mineralized over centuries. Silica and other minerals remained when the actual wood rotted away, resulting in beautifully colored logs and pieces of logs laying around appearing as though it used to be an actual forest.

We didn’t see many birds while we were there (other than Ravens). However, upon leaving the park and driving back up to I-40 we saw a young Golden Eagle flying overhead, being mobbed by two Ravens.

We drove on, arriving at the Grand Canyon well after dark. May I say the Grand Canyon National Park is quite the maze to get around in the dark with no park map available to us, since the entry booth was closed when we arrived.

However, we were able to “sniff” our way to our lodging for the next couple of nights, the Maswik Lodge.

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