Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Painted Desert day hike

While in Petrified Forest National Park last week, I went on a several hour, ranger guided, cross-country day hike in the Painted Desert badlands.

The "dunes" look like sand but are actually a soft crumbly clay-like rock.

mixed with hard rock

the main objective of our day hike was to see these petroglyphs (click on picture to wander around a larger image of the rock art). There is evidence of human history in the area for more than 10,000 years. Pictographs and petroglyphs disappear over time and most are much more recent, roughly in A.D. 300 - 1900 range, depending on where you are and what you are looking at.

after wandering around for a couple of hours, time to climb back up to the rim...

catching my breath, or pausing for another landscape picture?

Ranger making sure he isn't leaving any fossils behind...

looking down at several petrified logs, one has been undercut and now forms what they call an agate bridge (since the log is now quartz agate). As an aside, there was once logging done of the petrified logs, since they could be ground up to make good abrasives. That was one of the factors in putting aside part of this area in 1906 as a National Monument to preserve for future generations to enjoy. [biting tongue to avoid inserting modern day political commentary here... *smile*]

and back at the top, none the worse for wear although I appear to be taking on some of the surrounding coloration...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Painted Desert Inn

This is the Painted Desert Inn, a National Historic Landmark. The original inn was built in the 1920's, was then remodeled in the 30's by the Civilian Conservation Core, and today is an interesting historic structure and park bookstore.

Lots of great reflections to catch off the clear glass windows outside

ok, this isn't a great picture, but I thought it was interesting because it shows both the outside reflection and the interior window at the far side of the room looking out at the badlands, reflecting off the interior floor.

painted directly on interior walls of the building

looking straight up at stained glass over one of the main interior stairwells

Is this a great patio and setting or what?!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Petrified Forest National Park / Painted Desert

Here are a few more clicks from car pullouts in Petrified Forest National Park taken last week. The view above is of the badlands, part of the wilderness area of the park. With a permit, you can backpack in, spend the night, and wander around. Pretty much have the place to yourself...

the "Tepees"

above, crew working on installing a new paved trail in part of the park (1/4 down, 2/3 across picture is where people are standing)

a short steep descent trail from one of the overlooks

with a bench for the return trip

the entrance to the wilderness area with a storm approaching

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Petrified Forest National Park

Last week I took advantage of some of my unwanted time off and made a side trip to northeast Arizona to visit/revisit several places of interest that are usually out of my way. I'll call this route the long way from Tucson to visit my mother in Prescott. I've got tons of pictures for several blog posts. Today's post will be some snaps of part of my trip through Petrified Forest National Park.

This barren looking National Park is full of petrified wood: trees that lived over 225 million years ago and have become quartz rocks from minerals in silica-saturated waters seeping into and replacing the wood.

This produces some amazing colors such as seen in the chips above. Petrified wood collected from private land has been used to make incredible bookends, coffee tables, bolo ties, etc. Its heavy too, about 200 lbs per cubic foot.

odd... I'm not afraid of my shadow, but my shadow seems petrified of me...

curvy foot path through the fallen forest

Here's a nice long petrified tree along a paved pedestrian path.

A suitably colored lizard for a colorful log. This area is also rich in dinosaur fossils, dating from long ago, prior to the continents moving to their current positions. As illustrated by the fossils and large trees, this area was once a tropical environment. My how things move about and change given a 100 or 200 million years.

Lots of open space, not a lot of people. The car/camper in the above picture is back at the pull out for the loop trail I'm on.

A cross section of one of the petrified logs

another close-up

still looks a little wood-like, but definitely stone

some of the very few other people I saw during the day... [Park rangers and various people I ran into during my few days in the area said that visitation by americans is way down due to the economy and that main visitors right now are europeans. Of course, that also means its a great time to visit to avoid crowds, accommodation issues, and enjoy some solitude!]

Bird's eye view looking down over a cliff

Stay tuned for more pictures of the painted desert, rock art, and Canyon de Chelly.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

dinner interrupted

Caught this roadside dinner being interrupted by a passing truck in Holbrook, Arizona last week. Lots of real dinosaur fossils in the area, hence lots of large fake dinosaurs for tourists in the area.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Four Horned Navajo Sheep

This cool looking Four Horned Sheep was hanging out behind the Hubbell Trading Post up on the Navajo Nation when I stopped by yesterday. More pictures of northern Arizona to share when I finish my visit with my mother and can get them organized... the pictures, not the sheep...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

art is everywhere

Now turn around and sit down

Reflection off windows outside the Yavapai Community College Art Gallery in Prescott, AZ. Note: the innovative design of the bench fits most people to a T. *smile*

Monday, July 13, 2009

accidental fracture

This is an accidental fractured self-portrait caught in the reflection of some mirrored tile pieces on a wall in Patagonia, AZ. Completely undoctored. Interesting... there's my eye looking down on the camera, hands on the camera, my cell phone on my belt.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

spot welding

Spotted this small sculpture welded to the top of a fence in front of a house in Patagonia, Arizona. In the background is a much larger tree sculpture made from pipe. Click for detail.

Friday, July 10, 2009

stoop: to swoop down

This is metal sculpture of a diving Gray Hawk (a hawk species found within the U.S. in small parts of southern Arizona and southern Texas, the northernmost parts of its range). I saw my first ever Gray Hawk in Patagonia many years ago, its a great looking bird.

The sculpture is located in the Patagonia, AZ city park.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

yellow beaked red bird

This bird stands on one leg while watching traffic in front of the Velvet Elvis restaurant in Patagonia, AZ.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

a well rounded diet

This pizza eating dude is located outside the Velvet Elvis restaurant in Patagonia, AZ. If you are in the vicinity, they make some excellent designer pizzas for carnivores and herbivores alike.

A friend recently shared with me how to calculate the volume of one of these meals using the following parameters: pi=3.1415, z=radius, a=height of pizza. Then the volume of space occupied by the meal is: pi*z*z*a

[Links: for some pictures of a couple of really cool Portland, OR fountains, check out the Portland (OR) Daily Photo blog posts Ira Keller Fountain and "Car Wash".]