Located in the high desert of Arizona this national park is an interesting mix of desert vegetation and wildlife with geologic features similar to Badlands National Park in South Dakota. One area called Blue Mesa looked had strikingly similar hills with very well defined layers.
The main difference between Badlands National Park and the Petrified Forest is the trees. Both parks have fossils that are evidence of ancient sea life. Here in Arizona, there is also evidence of ancient forests. Over many millions of years, the trees fell, became submerged in ancient oceans, and they became saturated with silica and other minerals that over all this time petrified the wood into rock. Today, this petrified wood is all over the area and is highly concentrated within the National Park boundaries. The colors in the petrified wood that you can see in this photo are various types of quartz that are the result of this long process.
Here's Pete with a large piece of petrified wood in the Blue Mesa area.
We also saw lots of interesting plants and animals. In the photo above there is a flower called purple aster that was all over the park. We saw a few prong-horn antelope, and we successfully had a picnic without sharing our lunch with some very large ravens that seemed like they knew we had food. Our favorite animal sighting was this collared lizard.
Our next stop is the Grand Canyon...