Sunday, February 22, 2009

Battleship Rock in the Painted Desert/petrified forest

All right. I never thought I'd be able to say I've driven through over 200 million years of history, but today, I say it to your face! Or at least I type it softly into my PDA and hope you read it.

Matt and I got out of our Wigwam and hit the national park hoping to 1: desecrate a national park and 2: steal a piece of wood turned to stone. Well we are failures. Wowed by the natural beauty of fossilized wood that over 200 million years, has absorbed all of the minerals around it and been through being underwater, then locked into rock, and eroded out by wind, these pieces of wood that are now hard as stone, display some of the most beautiful concentrations of color we have ever seen. Each one of these logs keeps on keepin' on, giving the Bee Gees song, 'Stayin Alive' new meaning to me. Honestly it is crazy to think that all of these thousands of logs could have grown as a lush forest in this now barren land. Or that some of these trees were washed down from another state and got caught up in lava, sediment or some other force of nature, locking it there until Mother Nature eroded the sand and silt around it, exposing these beautiful petrified stones for us to see. With so much being locked into the earth in this location, you would think, huh, there should be some old bones. You're right! Dinosaur bones and many artifacts from the Triassic period were found in this park, making the surrounding areas of the national park dinosaur statue crazy. That means in-between all the truck stops and RV Parks on the highways, you will see more than any normal human's share of not classy dinsaur replicas.

If you ever get out to Arizona, this is definitly a stop. as Matt and I started out in the Petrified forest, we drove north to the Painted desert and from 220 million years to just400 years ago, when Pueblo people inhabited the lush desert and water was plentiful to support human and animal life. There were a few really cool things to this end of the park. 1. Petroglyphs, 2. Pueblo ruins, 3. Colors of the painted desert.

Going to certain sites in the park, you're able to see amazing old writings of the Pueblo people. These writings look to us like rudimentary drawings from a kindergartener, but for the Pueblos, those pictures all explained stories and instructions to other peoples as to where to hunt for food, the 3 day walk to the lake, and the ubiquitous 'Jake was here'. Seriously, with my crazy telephoto lense, I was able to get a pretty close picture of some of these awesome petroglyphs and the images of people that the Pueblos chiseled into the rock showed me that the ladies were feminine and the men liked to see themselves as more than well-endowed. And they told the world.

The pueblos were just a neat look into history and to see the ruins made us feel small, insignificant, and very young. We also remembered how small people were back in the day.

And as for the painted desert, truly, this thing doesn't look real. I cannot believe that these colors occur naturally in this landscape and are there for us to take in. When you see beauty this stunning and vast, with colors this drenched, you think a master artisan put it together with some oils, not Mother Nature letting it just be in Arizona! This is one of the most stunning views of any land I've ever seen.

And that my friends is all I can type on my phone while getting carsick in the car. Headed to the Grand Canyon tomorrow.

Petrified forest

Can you see the logs?!

The Teepees

This is at the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. The next few will be images too.