On Saturday I did a couple loads of laundry, and then we headed to the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. Watched a brief film at the north Visitor’s Center, and then went through the Painted Desert. They have a lot of overlooks, and a really old stucco inn that was a stop on the way west. Very pretty scenery and you could see forever. Had a picnic lunch in the Painted Desert park, and then went south through the Petrified Forest. This area, over 225 million years ago, was a tropical environment, but since then the continents moved to their present locations and this area was lifted up to become a grassland.
The tall conifer trees were washed into floodplains and buried, which cut off oxygen and slowed their decay. Silica-laden groundwater seeped through them and replaced the original wood tissues with silica deposits – which then crystalized into quartz, and the logs were preserved as petrified wood. A lot of the petrified wood has been taken out of the area by visitors, but there are still scattered pieces throughout the park. There was also a partial pueblo 100-room pueblo built about 1250, and a lot of petroglyphs. Very pretty and interesting National Park.
We came back to Holbrook and went to the Navajo Museum. Then did a little shopping, and went home to have tacos. Took off Sunday morning for Albuquerque, where we'll stay 2-3 days.