The Petrified Forest National Park also encompasses parts of the painted desert. While the Painted Desert awes you with sweeping vistas of vibrantly colored landscapes the petrified forest offers remnants of a time long past. The petrified forest is not a standing grove of rock-like trees, as the name implies. Some 225 million years ago this area was resplendent with various species of now extinct trees. Over their life they fell and accumulated in river channels, they were often buried by ash from volcanoes and they suffered the impacts of time and changing climate. I won’t attempt to explain the process where crystals of quartz replace organic matter, even if I could. Suffice it to say the results of all this is a desert floor littered with stone log fragments, exploding with unexpectedly beautiful bright colors and patterns.
We left the Park, glad we had stopped, and headed west toward Flagstaff. We had scheduled a weeklong stay there over the 4th of July holiday. When traveling in the RV we find holiday weekends can be crowded and busy, so we like to settle in early and stay later to avoid the weekend rush. We have lots to see in the area, including Sedona and Sunset Crater. On our way we stopped to gas up in Winslow, Arizona. It brought back memories of some great Eagles concerts we have enjoyed and spurred on lots of extemporaneous singing as we climbed the plateau into Flagstaff. Take it easy.