Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Hubbell Trading Post, Painted Desert and Petrified National Park, April 29-30

I was able to return to the campground and dump, fill, and hook up and be on the road again by 12:00.  Check out time is 11:00, but no one said anything about me staying late.

I drove through Chinle and continued on Highway 191making a quick stop at the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site.  Some of the old building at the trading post are interesting, and the trading post itself is full of expensive trinkets, although there was some nice pottery and weavings.

The wind kicked up and when I hit I-40 it was really bad, fortunately I didn't have too far to drive before the entrance to the Painted Desert kiosk. Basically the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest have been lumped into one park with Historic  Route 66 thrown in.  So I entered at the Painted Desert (North on I-40) and exited at the Petrified Forest (south).  I'm not sure where one begins and the other ends, but the scenery is unique and worth the 30 mile or so drive south.

 This is the Inn along Historic  Route 66 which is now a museum

Route 66 takes off here and is commemorated with an old car.

I drove all the way to the end and parked just outside the park at one of the gift shops for the night. There are two gift shops at the intersection of the park road and Highway 180 and both allow dry camping over night for free and one even has electric hook ups for a small fee. They also offer free small pieces of petrified wood.   On Tuesday morning I backed tracked some and caught the Blue Mesa Trail and the Crystal Forest trail.

The Blue Mesa Trail has a distinct blueish purplish color, and my pictures don't do the colors justice.  There are petrified logs all along the paved trail.  The sign at the beginning  of the trail indicated a steep grade.  Well there is a grade, but the whole trail is paved and the grade is not that bad...well, maybe if you are in a wheel chair and someone is pushing you back up the hill.

 Views from near he beginning of the trail:

 The trail winds down among the knolls.

Note the petrified logs towards the bottom of the picture

The logs piled up in the ravine

You can see the paved trail in the middle of the picture.  The landscape is almost surreal.

A quick stop at Agate Bridge. The Petrified Log has been reinforced with concrete so not to break and fall.  The plaque nearby stated that today the Park Service philosophy would dictate Agate Bridge remain in its natural state.  In other words, left to deteriorate and fall into pieces.  What do you think? Should icons like this be left alone or preserved for future generations?

I continued to the Crystal Forest named so because some of the petrified wood was crystallized and glistens in the sun.  Huge chunks of petrified wood dotted the landscape

 This log looks like some lumber jack was cutting into to perfect rounds. The white center is crystal.
 Look how real the bark looks.

An unusual rock formation.

I stopped at the Petrified Forest Visitor center and walked the short loop exhibiting more petrified logs.  At this point I'm really getting a sensory overload. I headed back out on Highway 180 towards Holbrook and caught I-40 west again.  Very, very windy which made everything really hazy.  Next stop, somewhere around Flagstaff.

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