Route 66 Day 19: Say Ah…..

For the first time since Illinois, back when we first started off on our journey, we had rain last night. We didn’t hear it, but this morning the misty clouds hung low and covered the horizon. It was quite pretty, and a nice change to the usual clear blue skies. We stepped outside in the cool 60 degree morning and the best word to describe it was “ahhhh”.

Low clouds hung over the train tracks as we passed the first of many trains today. 

We met 3 wild horses at the side of the road, again, they were more bothered by us taking photos of them from the car, than the train going by behind them.

Today was another big day for us; we completed our journey through New Mexico and crossed into Arizona. We have been looking forward to today our whole trip: we visited the Petrified Forest National Park. 

We entered the park and visited the welcome center. With maps in hand, we set off to drive the 28 miles through the park. We arrived at the first stop on the map, and as we stepped up to the edge; the view was ah-some!

Spectacular colors, rock formations, and the clouds continued to build into a palette of textures.

Each stop was another brilliant, unique view. 

As the clouds accumulated, the colors popped, aided by the rains from the night before. 

If you look closely on the top left rock formation in this photo, you will see petrified trees laying on the top.

The petrified trees are beautiful. The park is very clear that no pieces of petrified tree or any park resource is to be taken out of the park, and there is a car check when you leave. There are many shops outside the park who sell Arizona petrified trees from private properties near the park. 

One of the stops is Blue Mesa. The rocks have a blue tint to them, and there is a hiking trail you can take to the bottom to see the formations and the petrified trees. If you look closely you can see the walking trail at the basin. 

This is a view from down below in the basin. 

This is a large petrified log, with smaller broken off pieces in the foreground. 

Another “ah” moment was when we finished hiking the trail at the bottom and looked back up at the steep climb out. I think Art said something to the effect “Ah, dang we gotta climb out of here”. As one woman said who was climbing up: “Going down is voluntary, going back up is mandatory”!

Having completed our mandatory hike out, we continued on our drive. We came upon formations called tepees. They were breathtaking.

The Quartz Forest stop has a “forest” of petrified logs that have quartz deposits. 

With each turn in the road there were new sights to see. It was one of the most beautiful drives we have ever taken. 

One stop along the way was Route 66. The park road passed over the current Route 66, and this line of telephone poles line the path of the original 66 as it went through the park. 

Today turned out to be a day full of ah’s, made all the more ah-mazing from our quiet day yesterday. 

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