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  • Southwest 07: Walnut Canyon, Petrified Forest, and the Painted Desert

    Posted on April 17th, 2007 Jeff Keller 3 comments

    Today we drove from Sedona all the way to Gallup, New Mexico via Interstate 40, and a bit of Route 66. We stopped at Walnut Canyon
    National Monument as well as Petrified Forest National Park. Click the link
    to see plenty of photos!

    Walnut Canyon

    Looking across Walnut Canyon at one of the cliff dwellings

    The Sinagua Indians built their houses under natural rock overhangs

    A small door, but apparently these Indians were only about 5’5" tall

    The walls of their homes were made of mud and limestone

    On the dry side of the canyon (lower right) you had desert plants. On the wet
    side there were things like pine trees.

    Petrified Forest / Painted Desert

    Here we are now at Petrified Forest Nat’l Park. Those are pieces of petrified

    Here’s a big "tree". They’re actually not trees at all anymore. Millions of years
    ago they were covered by sediment, where they slowly rotted. Silica took the
    place of organic material, and over time it became quartz. The different colors
    come from the impurities in the silica.

    A closer look. Unfortunately the area has been pillaged continuously since
    it was discovered over a hundred years ago, so a lot of the good rocks are
    gone. They even inspect some cars on the way out making sure that you didn’t
    take anything home with you.

    We saw a few of these guys (collared lizard, I think). Look how long his tail
    is relative to the rest of his body.

    Different rock, different lizard

    Petrified wood with the Painted Desert in the background

    225 million years ago this must’ve been some tree

    The badlands of the Painted Desert

    The Agate Bridge is a petrified log that crosses this little chasm. As you can
    probably tell, it’s now supported by concrete.

    The Tepees

    Petroglyphs from a long time ago. I actually took this one from quite a distance
    — thank you 12X zoom lens!

    More petroglyphs

    And one more for good measure

    Painted Desert

    Pretty amazing scenery!

    Up next: Santa Fe!


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