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Painted Desert & Petrified Forest

We started the day extremely early, after boondocking in the Walmart parking lot in Gallup, NM. By 6 AM we had already bought groceries, drove to the Continental Divide and were on our way west on Interstate 40.
We arrived at the Petrified Forest NP entrance, parked our RV and ate breakfast before they opened the park.
With our " America the beautiful " we entered for free and were informed that we drive through the Painted Desert before reaching the Petrified Forest. I read some Google reviews pointing out the issue with the directions, and want to clarify that both parks are connected.
When you arrive from the East on I 40 you enter the Painted Desert first.
The view is beautiful and the colors of the layered rock formation change, depending on how the sun is positioned.
You can hike several trails along the way, we were particularly interested in the Puerco Pueblo by the river. Not only did we see the remnants of the homes, we saw petroglyphs on rocks as well. One petroglyph looked like princess Lea. We were told by the local guide that the native females of that tribe wore their hair twisted into buns on both sides above the ear.
On newspaper rock you can use one of the binoculars provided and zoom in on an entire wall of petroglyphs, hence the name "newspaper rock". Noone really knows the exact meaning of the symbols carved into stone, but it could possibly show the tribes migration and their way of life.
As we continued our drive in the RV through the desert we entered the Petrified Forest.
We went on several hikes, usually a mile loop each. One hike stood out to me. We had to go down a pretty steep slope that opened up into an entirely different looking terrain. Weathered rocks took on the appearance of elephant skin. Scattered split wood and shattered tree trucks were within reach, close enough that you can see the glassy look of the wood.
The deeper you drive into the forest ( which is more of a desert feel) the bigger and longer the logs.
Visiting both parks was very interesting, allowing you a glimpse back in time. Use your imagination and you can envision dinosaurs roaming that area. A piece of History well preserved.

Posted by Meike Carter 12:03

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