Sunday, March 15, 2009

Painted And Petrified

The Meteor Crater came to this part of the country some 50,000 years ago. But the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert go back some 200 MILLION years ago. The latter two share a National Park just outside of Holbrook, Arizona. This day, a mixed bag of clouds and storms chased us back and forth from one end of the park to the other and then back again. The mission: avoid the dark and the rain and the snow...and stay in the sunlight as much as possible. Beautiful in any light, the forest and the desert are at their level best in a bright basking of sunlight. The sights of the forest and the desert are of the age of the dinosaur and they are a large part of the interpretive centers we visited. While removal of fossils and minerals is strictly forbidden from the park, there are several gift shops and rock shops in the area that sell specimens of just about everything found here ranging in price from a couple bucks to half a million bucks. Jim Gray's Petrified Wood Company was by far and away the most impressive. If weight (and money) were no object, we could have filled the coach with beautiful specimens. We did get to pick a free half pound piece of petrified wood just for visiting, and the owner let us photograph the shop to our heart's content. The links to the desert and the forest in the preceding paragraph will tell you the details of each, but this is a visual place, a spiritual place, and only pictures can really tell the story. So here is just a sample of what there is to see here....

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