If you are planning a trip to Arches or Zion national parks in Utah over the Memorial Day holiday, then you’d better brace for crowds. No duh, right? However, if you are looking to spend time in a less-visited park that has some amazing scenery and geology, then why not take a look at Petrified Forest National Park, in Arizona. As a matter of fact, the National Parks published my latest Traveler Checklist today. These checklists I write are not the kind reminding you to bring along your toothpaste and not to forget the toothbrush, but rather what you might do during a visit to the park, what to watch out for, and maybe where to get a decent coffee or meal.
To read the checklist, click on the image above.
This image was captured shortly after my arrival at the Painted Desert portion of the park during my road trip move from TX to WA. It was summer, which is the monsoon season out in that part of the U.S., so storm clouds floated over the park, threatening to create a downpour. Never happened, though – may have been cloudy, but was dry as a bone over the landscape.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
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It’s Fun Fact Friday! Did you know that the petrified logs you see in Petrified Forest National Park range in age from 211 – 218 million years? And those saturated colors come from such trace minerals as hematite, pyrite, goethite, chromium, and manganese. Pretty cool, huh? And now, you know.
I wish I would have had one more day to spend in this national park located in Arizona. It was the very first national park I visited during my 3-week road trip move from Texas to central Washington. I’d never been to this park before, and as what usually happens, even if you’ve done prior research about a park, you still are a little unprepared for what you’ll see and what you’ll do. This national park is one of those less-visited gems, so it’s very easy to practice a social distancing along the trails. This particular trail is called the Crystal Forest Trail.
Most landscape photographers roll their eyes at including people or anything man-made in their images. I always try to get a few shots with people or other evidence of “civilization” in them because I believe this gives a sense of scale and reference to an image, thereby helping the viewer wrap their heads around the vastness, immensity, or smallness of a scene or feature within the landscape.
This was my daily look during my 9 days in Yellowstone National Park this past autumn: bedraggled and sweaty from lugging photo gear on all my hikes, yet happy as a clam at high water to be out there doing what I love the most.
Every January, for the past 6 years, my first photo column of the year for the National Parks Traveler has dealt with my favorite shots from the previous year. This year, I have 10 faves – one from each national park / recreation area I visited. To read the article, click on the photo above.
Yes, yes, more shameless self-promotion. I previously listed a calendar I made with Lulu.com. I also made calendars using other websites as well, for quality control and comparison. As such, I’ve decided I really, really like Zazzle’s products much better and have set up a storefront there, with calendars representing the national parks I’ve visited this year. I’ve got a couple more calendars to go, but if you are interested in taking a peek (they make great gifts), then click on any of the images to be taken to my storefront.
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Looking over Blue Mesa Trail, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
I spent the day in the park, yesterday. It was a dry heat (grin). This place is pretty amazing. Oh, there are no mountains or rivers or streams, and I saw very little wildlife (a dear, a bunny, and a raven). The the geology is really cool. I mean, think about it a moment: this place, once a swampy area with tall, thick trees and dinosaurs, is now a semi-arid (felt totally arid, to me) land with the petrified (agatized) remains of fallen trees. The conditions at the time had to be just right in order to petrify the swaths of logs you can see from your car window and from the hiking trails.
This image was captured at a view area overlooking the Blue Mesa trail and surrounding scenery. The rocks really *are* blue (and purple, mauve, beige and buff), with fallen logs, many longer than I am tall with a girth of 2-4 ft.
If you ever have the chance to visit this national park, you can see it in a day, although I always advocate maybe 1-1/2 to 2 days exploring. The first thing you should do when the park opens up at 7am is to hightail it out to the Blue Mesa Trail to hike it when it’s coolest and when the sunlight is angled just right.
Now, it’s on to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
All images on these posts are the exclusive property of Rebecca L. Latson and Where The Trails Take You Photography. Please respect my copyright and do not use these images on Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat or any other business, personal or social website, blog site, or other media without my written permission. Thank you.
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