Not far from the border is Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert. We thought it would be a nice place so stop and rest and do some leg stretching. Plus I had made one of my 10 year goals to see 10 national parks, so we figured we would start with one right on our route! (list still coming soon, I promise!)
We started out at the Painted Desert end. We shopped the gift shops and had lunch at the café. I got an Navajo Taco.. which I love.
I also picked out some cute Southwestern printed socks.
After we ate we paid our ten dollars to take our car through the national park. We had a map and some information on the area that explained how the wood was petrified etc. We stopped at several outlook spots to take in the beautiful view of the painted desert!(no filter)
The Instagrammed Painted Desert.
Kyle and I on top of the world. No filter.
The painted desert was so beautiful! Full of reds and purples, I LOVED it!
But then we made it to the Petrified Forest part of the park... and boy, was it boring!
I read the pamphlet and loved learning about how the wood became petrified. It was really very interesting to me. But seeing it... wasn't as cool as I'd hoped. It was essentially a bunch of logs on the ground... for miles.
Yep, there it was. Here's another view.
Breathtaking huh? ;) It is supposedly really colorful up close, I bet that is true, but this was the most colorful piece we came across.
Later when we made it to see grandma we told her we visited the park and she immediately says "Isn't that awful!" - haha. I expected her to say, "Isn't that interesting!" or "Isn't that cool!" But no, she surprised us both by thinking that it was pretty boring too. She said that she took my dad there as a kid and he was really excited, but it ended up being a disappointment for him too.
So, I guess I have mixed feelings about this National Park. On the one hand, the painted desert is GORGEOUS! And you would miss the great views if you didn't stop to drive through the park. On the other hand, the petrified wood while interesting, was not specifically cool to look at. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I've seen it and liked learning about how it happened... but it's just not very pretty. Another downside is that the twenty-some miles in between the desert and the main parts of the forest are not particularly scenic after you have driven through New Mexico.
So I guess, this park is just like anything else in life: if you skip something boring you might miss something beautiful.
So, until the next national park...
Up next: Sedona
What is your favorite National Park? I need some ideas!
All for now,