On our way home from the Grand Canyon, we stopped at the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.
People complain the road from West Texas to Arizona is a whole lot of nothing, but we saw beauty in the barrenness.
The gradient hills of wood and rock fringed by desert flora and scrub brush create a vista that reflects the area’s prehistoric beginnings.
Is it wood? Is it rock?
Actually, it’s petrified wood fossilized to rock over time. Some wood is from the Triassic Period and is over 160,000,000 years old!
The entire ground of the park is sprinkled with petrified wood: fossilized marvels sparkling in the dirt and sunshine.
Site at the park have names like the Rainbow Forest and Painted Desert.
Petroglyphs are believed to be made by Ancestral Pueblo peoples who used them to represent Kachinas or spirit beings and to mark meaningful events like the Summer Solstice.
The ancient village of Puerco Pueblo was inhabited by native peoples between A.D. 1250 and 1380. You can still see remnants of the almost 100 rooms that may have housed 200 people. The site is only a third of the way excavated.
The Petrified National Park is well worth the visit for anyone interested in hiking and history, archaeology and geology or who wants to appreciate the beauty of this crystal desert locked in time.