Arizona to New Mexico

We checked out the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest. Which is totally a “two-for”! At first we were a little underwhelmed but as the sun made its way through the clouds the true colors of the sands and rocks were able to break through as well. I just can’t imagine being the first person to ever witness this beauty and wonder. 

We couldn’t do everything in the park but we hit, Newspaper Rock, Agate Bridge, and Crystal Forest. That way when we come back we can check out the places we didn’t get to. 

Newspaper Rock was super cool. We learned about petroglyphs which was a type of communication. Not so much with words but the images could represent ceremonial or celestial happenings, or possibly a tribe or clan symbol. It was neat to hear what the kids thought the symbols meant. There are binoculars (no cost) and you can check out the petroglyphs closer up.

The Agate Bridge was a log that had fallen at some point and created a bridge across a gully. It was amazing to see. They had reinforced it with some cement underneath.

Lastly, we walked the Crystal Forest. At some point during the Triassic Period this area was a sub tropical forest. This particular spot was the edge of a river channel. The fallen trees would slowly be covered with silt and the water enriched with silica would permeate the organic molecules in the wood and created a replica in quartz. Erosion causes the logs to become exposed for our enjoyment. It was incredible to see the inside of a log, sparkling! Eli loved the various colors and would point them out at pretty much every log he saw. We were gifted the glimpse of a few lizards that were hanging out on some of the logs. We later learned the colors actually mean something. Red, yellow, orange and purple are iron oxides. Black and grey are manganese oxides. Of course, the white that sparkles is pure quartz. It was about a mile hike through the “forest”, perfect for the kids to get out and hike and get rid of some energy. No sun cover, so lather up with sunscreen and you may want to take some water.

We got back on the road and headed to our campsite for the night. We are currently staying in Chaco Canyon. As we came in on Navajo Road 57 we were greeted by a few jack rabbits and some tumbleweeds. We could see some storm clouds in the distance and headed to the site to set up, make dinner and take cover! There is a pretty crazy lightning storm going on and the thunder just picked up. 

While Jud and I ate our dinner, the kids were in the tent reading Calvin and Hobbes out loud to each other. I am so impressed by Noah. He loves to read those comics and actually got upset with me when I said it was time to stop reading and go to bed!! So, Judson and I are eating just outside the tent, listening to the giggles and we are invaded by this HUGE ant looking insect, no joke it was the size of a tarantula. If Eli had seen it we would not be able to get him to bed tonight. I was a little freaked too! I tried to snap a picture and it’s not the greatest but I’ll add it to the gallery later. Later we heard a lady scream a few obscenities and we can only imagine she encountered the six legged freak as well!