Monday, June 28, 2010

Petrified Forest plus Petroglyph Fun in AZ

We've escaped desert temps of 112 degrees this week in Pinetop, Arizona with friends. Yesterday we visited the Petrified Forest National Park, which is right across the highway from the Painted Desert just outside of Holbrook, AZ. What a interesting day. How do you picture a petrified forest? Without previous knowledge or photos, the word "forest" makes us think of a tree covered landscape. This area looks more like a moonscape with its wide open spaces and odd rock and sand formations, but considering this forest's age, we understand why trees are no longer standing, and the fallen ones are petrified--hard as rock and impressive to see. Here's a petrified log that was probably about 6' in diameter.

This is a smaller sample (about 15" x 20") of petrified wood. Stumps, fallen trees, and pieces of petrified wood are scattered throughout the park. Here we are on a trail stop next to the Rainbow Forests Museum, that has several examples of the rock-hard wood. The colors were beautiful.

I especially enjoyed our stops at Newspaper Rock and Puerco Pueblo, where we saw several petroglyphs dating back 600-800 years ago. Our first photos were taken at Newspaper Rock where it is said over 650 petroglyphs have been discovered.  We didn't see that many, but here are a few of my favorites. An obvious couple pictured here with animals...the coils may depict snakes. What do you think?
Hands haven't changed much over the years...feet either. The one below I guess is a lizard. Evidently, the interpretation of these drawings is wide open. Local Native American's have been consulted and are as puzzled as we are at the meanings. My thought  is that they were just like us...communicating, recording, leaving something of themselves behind, just plain having fun with art? Speaking to the gods?
Look at this guy playing his horn with his hand on his hip. Loved it!

Next we were off to see the petroglyphs at Puerco Pueblo, a large archeological site occupied over 600 years

Most of the Park's drawings appeared to be anywhere from 10" up to 30" (?). It was a little hard to tell, as the closest we got to any of them was about twenty feet...these photos were taken with our zoom lense. The clearly crafted deer trio in the left-hand corner in the photo below, for example, stood only about 10" at the most. Do you suppose a hunter was keeping a tally of his kills? 

Here I'm standing in front of some of the rock faces bearing the petroglyphs. What a fun time we're having looking around up here in Northern Arizona. Hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of our travels!


  1. These are amazing petroglyphs! How interesting! I'm glad you and your friends are enjoying the cooler climate. I see you're wearing long sleeves in the last photo. What a welcome relief for all of you from the high temperatures of Phoenix! Did you hear of Everett's arrival? :)

  2. Very interesting! Glad y'all are having a good trip!! Like your hat. :)

  3. Janice, we did hear about Everett's arrival and couldn't believe he didn't wait for all of us so we could be there on July 1! I loved their family photo on FB. We're's HOT!

  4. A very interesting place, between the petrified trees and the petroglyphs.

  5. A great time was had by all. These were so interesting and numerous. Diane