Saturday, April 29, 2017

Petrified Forest National Park

I am writing this on April 29. We are near Ruidoso, NM at a BLM campground. We have water and electricity for $10 per night. The electricity is nice because it is getting very cold today. It is sleeting now and may snow later. The expected low is 27 tonight. The good news is I have no plans today. When it get's like this, we just hunker down and stay warm. I have two channels on OTA TV. The awesome news is that one of those two channels is FOX and they are broadcasting Supercross this afternoon. That will be the first race I have seen live this year. Yeah!! The forecast high is 70 in two days.

Update: As I was writing this entry, it started snowing hard. Here is what it looks like outside now:

April 29 and still snowing hard
OK, back to our adventures of a few days ago.

We left Homolovi SP on April 21 and headed to Petrified Forest National Park. There is no camping in the park and there are not any great options outside of the park. There is a road that bisects the park from north to south. Just outside the park on the south end, there are two gift shops that have some RV spaces. We found out that one has electric for $10 per night and the other is dry camping. Neither has water or dump. We went for the electric and set up in site #8.

There was some petrified wood right behind our site. 
We decided to go ahead and drive the 3 miles to the visitor center and check things out and plan our visit the next day.

They have a nice visitor center at the south end. We watched the movie, which was well done. Then we checked out the exhibits.

We both found the history and geology of the park very interesting. We then walked the Giant Logs trail that is just behind the visitor center.

The colors in the logs is amazing.

There are logs laying all around. They look like logs that have been cut by lumberjacks and are ready to be split.

Kim enjoying the very warm day in stark contrast to today.
This log is still partially covered in the soil. Much of the logs are at the top of hills acting as a cap to reduce the erosion of the soil.

We talked to the very helpful rangers and volunteers to gather information for the next day and then headed back to the trailer. It was a good first day and we even had a nice sunset out the back window.

We were at it early the next day and headed into the park to do some hiking. We started at Blue Mesa to do the 1 mile hike down in the interesting formations. There is some petrified wood in this area, but the main attraction is the painted desert formations and colors.

We then moved on to Newspaper Rock to see the petroglyphs. You have to stay a ways away from them, so pictures did not turn out well. It is sad how they have to protect these features from the people that do not appreciate the delicacy of the artifacts.

We then went on to the north end of the park to refill our water and check out the visitor center. It is much smaller that the south and not impressive. We then headed back south and stopped at the Painted Desert Inn. This is a historical landmark. The northern end of the park is mostly the painted desert, which is striking.

It was pretty windy up on this observation point. I just love Kim's hair in this shot:

Then it was on to the Route 66 crossing. This is where the old route 66 crossed the park. They put an old Studebaker there to mark the location. You just have to stop to take a picture.

Next was the old ruins at Puerco Pueblo. This is a set of ruins about the same age as the ones we visited at Holomovi. Around 1300. This area is thoroughly excavated and then refilled. I did not see one pottery shard on the ground. There were some nice petroglyphs.

Then the Teepee's:

I loved the colors in this next shot:

We had to check out the Agate Bridge. This was reinforced in 1911 and is still standing because of that.

We then stopped at the Crystal Forest and walked the trail. This was my favorite part of the park. There is large petrified wood all over the place and the colors in the wood are amazing.

I was actually surprised how much I enjoyed my day at Petrified Forest National Park. The beauty is striking and well worth the stop. Our camp site turned out great and was enhanced by meeting our neighbors from Oregon, Dennis, Jodie and DJ (Lab). They are into metal detecting and hiking in the desert. Great folks, hope to see them down the road.

We were once again watching the weather forecast very closely. They were calling for no wind the next morning, but picking up in the afternoon. We decided to get up early the next morning and move further east. I had a few options of places to stay, but no reservations. Come back to see if we could actually get out of bed before 8 and see where we ended up.

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