Posts Tagged ‘petrified forest’

 “For fossils to thrive, certain favorable circumstances are required. First of all, of course, remnants of life have to be there. These then need to be washed over with water as soon as possible, so that the bones are covered with a layer of sediment.” – Richard Leakey

Hard to believe that this creature’s bones are over 200 million years old. — Photo by Pat Bean

The Bones of the Matter

It stands to reason that if conditions are right for ancient trees to be preserved, other things in the landscape will also be preserved.


Flowers weren’t plentiful in the Painted Desert. The landscape wasn’t encouraging for them, which is why this small patch of yellow stood out so dramatically. — Photo by Pat Bean

And of course they were, as evidenced by the dinosaur skeletons on display at the Rainbow Forest Museum, which sadly would be my final stop before exiting Petrified Forest National Park.

As dinosaurs go, well if you compare them to Sue, the Chicago Field Museum’s gigantic T-Rex, the ones that lived in this ancient forest, were on the dinky side.

The dinosaurs found here belong to the Triassic Period, the late dawn of the dinosaurs, according to the park’s fact sheets.

Two more ancient dinosaur skeletons. — Photo by Pat Bean

These human-sized dinosaurs shared the landscape, which back them was dominated by a huge river running through it, with phytosaurs and rauisuchians, words that sent me running for my dictionary. Crocodile-like is the best definition I could come up with.

Triassic, another word that left me wondering, refers to the period on earth that existed 200 to 250 million years ago.

Now, just as the age of dinosaurs had come and gone, it was time for me to leave the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest and continue traveling down the road. Flagstaff was awaiting me.

Bean’s Pat: Wistfully Wandering http://wistfullywandering.wordpress.comTake an armchair hike in Grand Teton National Park. I can’t believe I’ve missed this one.  

*This recognition is merely this wandering/wondering old broad’s way of bringing attention to a blog I enjoyed – and thought perhaps my readers might, too. The Pat on the back is presented with no strings attached. May 25, patbean.wordpress.com


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“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Agate Bridge: Floodwaters washed away softer sandstone to allow this harder 110-foot long petrified log to form a bridge. Humans, fascinated with the bridge, added supports, something National Park staff would not do today, preferring to leave things in a more natural state. This log bridge, however, was one of the things that prompted the creations of Petrified Forest Nation Park in 1906. — Photo by Pat Bean

Trees Turned to Stone

Stone logs testify to the ancient forest that once thrived here. — Photo by Pat Bean

Araucarioxylon arizonicum. I can’t pronounce it either. But I did learn that it was one of the most common trees found in a 225 million year old forest that once thrived in what is now Arizona.

These trees are extinct, but more than their memory lives on. The great conifers among them that were quickly buried by mud, silt and volcanic ash in ancient days, then at some point were exposed to silica-laden water, live on, their organic tissues transformed into quartz.

That, at least, ‘s the abbreviated version of the science behind the stone trees. If you want more details, you’ll have to do your own research. It could be fun.

I tried to picture the forest as it once was, with dinosaurs roaming through it, as I stood in front of “Old Faithful.”

Old Faithful: The largest 225 million year old tree trunk in the park. — Photo by Pat Bean

That’s the name of the largest Araucarioxylon arizonicum tree trunk on exhibit along a short hike behind the Rainbow Forest Museum near the south entrance to the park.

Petrified tree remains were once so plentiful, and not just in the Petrified Forest National Park where it’s illegal to remove then, that you can find homes and cafes and other structures in which they were used as building material.

Araucarioxylon arizonicum is also the Arizona’s state fossil.

Hmmm. I wonder if I can learn to speak the name of the tree as easily as I learned to say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Bean’s Pat: Love Thy Bike http://tinyurlcom/7n85fbh Take an armchair bike ride along the California Coast. 

*This recognition is merely this wandering/wondering old broad’s way of bringing attention to a blog I enjoyed – and thought perhaps my readers might, too. The Pat on the back is presented with no strings attached. May 30, patbean.wordpress.com


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 “People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child – our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Blue Mesa Trail in Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park. — Photo by Pat Bean

Blue Mesa

Big old petrified tree trunks like this is why it’s named Petrified Forest. — Photo by Pat Bean

I appreciate nature best when I can get up close and personal with it. I had that opportunity when I left Route 66 at the top of Windy Hill and hiked the Blue Mesa Trail.

The paved loop path, just a little over a mile long, drops about 100 feet down to the valley floor. It winds among the stratified rocks that tell 200-million-year-old stories, just as the petrified logs along the trail bear witness to an ancient forest.

Blue Mesa’s layered rocks contain 200-million years of the planet’s stories. — Photo by Pat Bean

A few people passed me on the hike, but mostly I had the trail to myself. It was an opportunity to drink in the peaceful stillness and ponder the creation of this landscape in which wind, water and the passing years were the artists.

My canine traveling companion, Pepper, greeted me as if I had been gone those 200 million years when I arrived back at our RV. I gave her treats and thought to myself that life couldn’t get any better.

Bean’s Pat: http://tinyurl.com/br2wub5 Take a walk with Mountain Mae.

*This recognition is merely this wandering/wondering old broad’s way of bringing attention to a blog I enjoyed – and thought perhaps my readers might, too. The Pat on the back is presented with no strings attached. May 29, patbean.wordpress.com


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 “Life is all about timing … the unreachable becomes reachable. The unavailable becomes available, the unattainable, attainable. Have the patience, wait it out. It’s all about timing.” Stacey Charter.

It’s pretty easy to see why this area of Petrified National Park is called the Tepees. — Photo by Pat Bean

Tepees and Grinning Old Men

But can you see the two grinning old men that I see in these rock formations? — Photo by Pat Bean

Having the time to dawdle as I travel, time to let my imagination run wild, time to stop just to see a dandelion’s fine seeds blow in the wind, to watch a cloud dragon turn into a mouse or a red-tailed hawk circle above is precious.

While I didn’t always keep my nose to the grindstone, the time I could let my mind wander in wonder in my younger years was always way too short. That is not the case these days. And each day I awake with gratitude in my heart for every unrushed second allowed me to on this beautiful planet.

Which is why this blog is still a couple of weeks behind my reality. I don’t want to rush you through the landscape either.

I want to share fully the unhurried day  day I spent in Arizona’s Painted Desert lands, espcially for those who told me they had passed this way but  didn’t have time to linger.

And these reminded me of pawns on a chess board, and then I immediately thought of the chess game in the first Harry Potter book. Perhaps you see something different? I’d love to know what. — Photo by Pat Bean

I hope you enjoy lingering and dawdling with me – and my odd thoughts. 










Bean’s Pat: A Small Press Life :  http://tinyurl.com/bpnf80c Surfin’ Bird – this one’s for Agatha Christie fans. As one myself, it tickled my funny bone to see this early photo of the Grand Dame of who-done-its. 

*This recognition is merely this wandering/wondering old broad’s way of bringing attention to a blog I enjoyed – and thought perhaps my readers might, too. The Pat on the back is presented with no strings attached. May 28, patbean.wordpress.com

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 “Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

First Come the Reds

A colorful landscape as far as the eye can see. — Photo by Pat Bean

Getting off Interstate 40 to follow the Mother Road, Route 66, through Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park made for a fantastic 25-mile detour.

Red was the dominant color in this section of the Painted Desert. — Photo by Pat Bean

Journey with me this week and I’ll share the treasured eye jewels. I hope you enjoy the vivid landscapes as much as I did.

Today’s photos of the Painted Desert were taken near the northern entrance to the park.

Bean’s Pat: Molly’s Story http://tinyurl.com/7p5aq78 A heart warming story about a horse that had a will to live and survive.

*This daily award is this writer’s opinionated choice for best blog of the day. There are no requirements for accepting it.

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