For the last few days, we've been hanging out in Phoenix, AZ. Quite a change from the more out-of-the-way places like Borrego Springs and Parkfield. Today we went about 200 miles north to visit the Petrified Forest National Park. The park is the site of fossils formed from plants and animals that lived 225 million years ago, including large deposits of petrified logs formed from coniferous trees of the period. It also borders on what is known as the Painted Desert which extends from the park to the Four Corners area at the east end of the Grand Canyon.
It snowed north of here last night, and the park is at an elevation of around 5,400 feet, so as we proceeded into the mountains we came across some remnants of the storm.
Along the Puerco River that flows through the park, there are remains of a pueblo dating back to about 1300 BC. At its peak, the pueblo had over 100 rooms and may have housed as many as 200 people. The inhabitants would have grown corn, beans, and squash in the river's floodplain. Puerco Pueblo was not isolated. The river provided a travel corridor across the grasslands of the Colorado Plateau. Large and small communities existed up and down the Puerco and Little Colorado Rivers. This pueblo would have been visited by travelers and traders from far outside the area as evidenced by the artifacts and rock art found in or near the village.
Hopefully these photos will give you a little taste of the beauty of the Painted Desert. There are a couple of close ups of the petrified wood, but in several other photos you can see it as it occurs naturally in the landscape.
Ann, Doug, Moose, Darla, Sunny, and with gratitude, Winnie and Chinny.