Mile 1674 - The Painted Desert and Petrified Forrest
I do not particularly enjoy driving, but ever since we moved from Little House on the Prairie to Hang ‘em High the ride has been the highlight. I know I am driving Shannon crazy as at every rise in the road I ask her to grab the camera as the panorama of a world I have never known unfolds before me. I have yet to adjust to depth perception in the West. Back home if you see something in the distance you better have your camera handy because it will not be there long. Out here you may see a spectacular mountain range or a distant mesa and it will be with you for hours. Now I understand why all the tornado chaser shows are shot in the plains. I start snapping pictures thinking I am getting the best shots. By the time we finally pass the thing 3 hours later I have 50 pictures.
Let’s talk weather. So far Northern, AZ is like a spring day. Like yesterday, we did a road side lunch, but instead of a rusted out Stuckey’s in Texas we used a pavilion at the Arizona state line. Shannon wore a jacket. The sky is eye popping blue and we have craggy hills and cliffs all around us. There is little to no humidity in the air. It feels like late season college football, but its June. A train passes nearby and each time it blows its whistle we get a kick out of the echo. For the first time in my life I can see a train from engine to end. The whole scene looks similar to the ones you tried to build as a kid with the old model train set.
I know in a previous post I referred to the colors of the dessert. Again, like a man from Florida talking about mountains, I had no idea what I was talking about. The best was yet to come. On our way to the Grand Canyon we made a side jaunt to The Painted Dessert and Petrified Forrest National Park. The park is a 28 mile driving tour of breathtaking desert color and scenery. We took pictures and I have posted a few of them, but the 1.5 million pictures of the painted desert you can find online could not adequately communicate what the human eye comprehends in this place. All Shannon and I can get out is, “Oh wow.” Like babies catching on to a new word we babble it over and over again.
I remember studying the petrified forest and fossils in elementary school. Now I have seen it. You talk about odd. It looks like a tree, it even appears to have the texture of a tree, but its a rock. Some of the larger trunks we looked at were quartz. I think that bronzing baby shoes has become passe, but the petrified forest is sort of like bronzed baby shoes, but it is massive trees of quartz.
Of the 1674 miles we have travelled so far, we just completed 28 of the most spectacular ones. But I must say again, I can’t wait to get to the Grand Canyon.
On to the Canyon . . .