Red Road Diaries

The Petrified Forest National Park also encompasses parts of the painted desert.  While the Painted Desert awes you with sweeping vistas of  vibrantly colored landscapes the petrified forest  offers remnants of  a time long past.   The petrified forest is not a standing grove of rock-like trees, as the name implies. Some 225 million years ago this area was resplendent with various species of now extinct trees. Over their life they fell and accumulated in river channels, they were often buried by ash from volcanoes and they suffered the impacts of time and changing climate. I won’t attempt to explain the process where crystals of quartz replace organic matter, even if I could.  Suffice it to say the results of all this is a desert floor littered with stone log fragments, exploding with unexpectedly beautiful bright colors and patterns.

We left the Park, glad we had stopped, and headed west…

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