Rock Tepees in Petrified Forest National ParkCredit: Pixabay.com | License: Creative Commons
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Discover Some Of Nature’s Ancient Paintings In A Petrified Forest
It is amazing how beautiful nature can be even in death. A perfect example of this is found in petrified forests found all over the world. These petrified woods are usually the result of extreme weather such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or extreme floods. Once the trees have been uprooted and buried by sand, silt, or volcanic ash, water seeps through the organic hulks. Over millions of years, the decaying material is gradually replaced by minerals and multicolored silica. This very slow process literally results in stone trees. Eventually, as the earth heaves upward, these massive logs expose a kaleidoscopic, mystical canvas on which nature splashes its unique hues of color. If you are fortunate enough to hike or backpack through the Petrified Forest National Park (including the appropriately named Rainbow Forest) in Arizona, the petrified remains, with the Red Basin Badlands in the background, plunges you into a strange new world.
The Rainbow Forest lies in the center of the national park and is home to an amazing collection of trails perfect for hiking and backpacking. Boasting of ancient inhabitants, the village ruins of Puerco Pueblo is replete with petroglyphs carved into its rock cliffs, dating back thousands of years. To miss this mystical environment is to miss a sample of Native American history and a splendid view of southwestern life from yesterday and today.
This is just a small sampling of the various sites to see and visitors should spend some time planning their visit at the visitor center. Short, informative films are available, in addition to the necessary backpacking and hiking permits. Day, Week, and Annual passes may be purchased, including the “America The Beautiful” pass, which entitles you to visit over two thousand national recreational sites throughout the United States. For detailed information, check out the park’s website at: https://www.nps.gov/pefo/index.htm.
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