The Petrified Forest and Painted Desert are right next to each other and they were our first stops for today. First, we drove around the Painted Desert. You can see why it’s called this with all the vibrant colors.
Then we drove south to the Petrified Forest. This is not a forest, but rather was a forest over 200 million years ago. Now it’s a desert sprinkled with petrified logs.
Basically, long ago there was a tropical rain forest here and the trees all fell into a river basin as they died. The river covered them with silt and the water brought various minerals, like quartz, that then deposited themselves into the logs. Then they were preserved and buried for millions of years. Now they are being exposed here by erosion.
If you look closely you can see all the colors left behind by the minerals. Beautiful!
Next up, we drive westward to Flagstaff to Sunset Crater.