Saturday, June 11, 2011

Petrified Forest

Today was a pretty awesome day. We went to the Petrified Forest, which is a National Park. $10 well spent for a day full of amazing sights. We started out at the Painted Desert Visitor center, which was well done. There was also some local Native American artists that had their wares for sale out in the courtyard. Lots of gorgeous items. The park is a 28 mile loop. The first leg of the drive is driving through the Painted Desert. Gorgeous formations of pink, white...peaks and valleys. It's mind blowing to see what beautiful rock formations exist in our great country and what intricacy erosion creates in the landscape.
Original Menu from the Inn

Beautiful backlit ceiling tiles at Inn
We toured the Painted Desert Inn, a popular destination for travelers coming to see the Painted Desert. There were two women there, in the restaurant area and they were dressed like "Harvey girls"....what the waitresses were known as that worked there. Look at the prices....45 cents for a tuna salad sandwich ! It was a really neat place and the ladies told us about another area restaurant that was designed by the same women who restored this Inn. We might go check this other place's in Winslow.
Painted Desert Inn
Continued on the drive...really hot day. In the 90's but thank goodness there was a nice breeze today. Not good for the fire in Wallow area....we can see the smoke in the distance but the wind has been blowing the smoke away from us. The afternoon we arrive we could smell it every so faintly and you can see the haze in the sky in that direction.

 There is an area with ruins of a Pueblo tribe that lived there in two different periods of time...around 1200 and 1300. It had been a 100 room dwelling that probably supported 18 families. There was also an area with really neat petroglyphs....ancient carvings in the rock.

The petrified forest areas are the last areas on the trip. Amazing how fallen trees could turn into hard, quartz looking objects. It's just too bad that people have plundered the area years before it became a national landmark and took so many of the petrified pieces out of the area. Some of the pieces are really amazing. We saw some large pieces in a local shop that had been made into table tops and cost $18,000.

A great day...hoping to check out nearby Winslow and Snowflake tomorrow.

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