We stayed a night at the gift shop just outside the southern end of the park. They graciously allow RVers to park overnight for free. Of course, common courtesy requires a visit inside and they have many lovely things to see.
Humm, I wonder if we're supposed to stay in the tepee.
Since we had just been there two years ago, we skipped some of the more popular stops and hit some others.
Funny story - The first time I visited Petrified Forest, I expected to see whole forests of trees, still standing and turned to stone. Well, in case anybody else thought the same, the trees are in pieces and scattered all around, but sometimes you can find a whole trunk lying together.
Our first previously skipped stop was Jasper Forest. The most notable fact about Jasper Forest is that it was so stripped of its petrified wood that there is hardly any left. There is some at the base of this mound which had probably been hiding under the cap rock before it fell.
Our next stop was Blue Mesa and an exception to my previous statement. We had stopped there in 2012 but didn't have the time (or energy) to take the one-mile trail down into the colorful hills. I wanted to do that. Pictures can only give a hint of how beautiful it is.
When I reached the bottom, it took my breath away. (Or was that on the way back up?)
Here's a log balanced on top of an eroding pedestal. When I come back in 50 years, it will be on the ground.
After puffing my way back to the top, I spotted this pretty Indian Paintbrush, or maybe Desert Paintbrush. And is that Kermit the Frog on the right?
The colorful layers are even more pronounced in the Tepees which are right along the main road.
The next stop was Newspaper Rock. At first it didn't look like much.
But if you zoom in, you can see how it got its name.
And we stopped at Puerco Pueblo - a partially excavated pueblo built around 1250.
There were a lot of petroglyphs there also, including this obvious ibis with a frog in its mouth.
Then it was on to the Painted Desert section of the park.
The colors are fantastic, but I know the pictures would be much more dramatic when the sun is lower in the sky. We'll have to stay near the north end of the park for that to happen.
Looking over this post, I realize we shipped over all the gorgeous petrified wood stops, so if you are interested in seeing some from our last visit, including Agate House and Crystal Forest, click here. I have to warn you that a couple of the pictures from then look identical to the ones here. I guess that shows I'm not too original.
After exiting Petrified Forest NP, we headed into New Mexico with a stop at Window Rock on the way.
The statue immortalizes the Navajo Code Talkers who were so valuable during World War II. If you're not familiar with their contribution, click on the sign. It's a fascinating story.