Matt and Joanne’s Page

March 9, 2008

Life on the Road II, Petrified Forest

Filed under: Roadtrip — Matt Stamplis @ 9:34 am

So last time I rambled on about our trip and how great the food and free time have been. So what about the things that have been a pain are slightly less convenient? Well, for one, running water and showers have been hard to come by. Although I guess this isn’t such a big surprise – you can’t really expect there to be too much water in the Arizona desert – especially when we avoid paying for campgrounds like the plague. It’s been fairly common to go a week or even two without any running water. As you can imagine this makes things like doing dishes and taking showers a bit difficult.

Sometimes we’ve manage to get a campsite near a stream (Mt. Lemmon) and we just hold our breath and wash off in the COLD water. This is rather refreshing but sometimes you’re in the mood for a slightly warmer shower. So we figured out that if you leave a 5-gallon water container out in the sun all day it becomes at least lukewarm. So then we take the lukewarm water container and precariously perch it in some tree. Then you turn on the spout and Voila! – instant shower. Just don’t shower when it’s windy out!

So what have we been up to the last few days? Read on to find out…

We originally weren’t going to go to Petrified Forest National Park since it’s out of the way from anywhere else we were going but we decided to drive over there and spend the day. And it ended up being well worth it! (much better than Saguaro National Park). The petrified trees were really interesting and the landscape was completely alien. Here’s some of the MANY pictures we took from the park (which is very photogenic).

The ground is littered with these broken logs. At first, they look like a bunch of downed trees that have been sawed into pieces. But then on closer inspection…

…you’ll notice they have some very strange colors and features for wood!

From real close you realize that these logs are as hard as rock, and are composed of all sorts of minerals that give them their unique color.

Here’s a building, constructed entirely of petrified wood – kind of cool!

Some of the petrified trees were pretty big – I think this one is the biggest in the park. It’s hard to believe that these trees pre-date the time of dinosaurs (200+ million years old).

The badlands of Petrified Forest provide an inspiring landscape at which to view these fossils. This crow would have eaten out of my hand if I had any food.

Sometimes I thought we might have somehow been transported to another planet – out of this world! I guess it’s called the Painted Desert for a good reason!

One interesting incident happened while in the Park – we were walking the Crystal Forest Trail, a short very-popular loop that goes through a large number of petrified logs. Joanne bent down at one point and picked up a piece of petrified wood and showed it to me. I took a look then tossed it back on the ground and we went on our merry way.

Well, apparently there was a Park ranger watching us through binoculars and he pulled us over a short while later (huh! I wasn’t speeding!). He said that he saw me put a piece of wood in my pocket (he must have been looking through binoculars?). I showed him what was in my pocket (just an iPod) and he let us go on our way – but wow, they sure keep a close eye on their visitors! Apparently the fine for taking wood from the forest is $325 per piece – you can buy it just outside the park for $10 so it’s kind of stupid to try to take any.



  1. Gosh, I’m so jealous of you guys. Your pictures are so pretty, and you guys look like you are having so much fun!

    Comment by cyn — March 9, 2008 @ 9:06 pm

  2. yet another place to add on to my to-visit list… those petrified trees are amazing, with all the crystals wrapping over…

    Comment by Lil — March 10, 2008 @ 8:29 am

  3. Whenever you guys get through with your rock climbing you should go into photography! Some of the shots are truly awesome. You could open up a small studio and print up your pictures and sell them!!!! I’ve already saved one as a screensaver. Maybe I’ll steal a few and print them for myself if I can figure out how to do that. Again, I really enjoy keeping track of your adventures. Be safe and we love you!!!

    Comment by Cindy Scalf — March 10, 2008 @ 10:02 am

  4. The petrified forest is definitely a place to check out. To think that we almost chose to by-pass it because we had to drive 100 miles round-trip out of our way. But I’m glad that I was persistent about visiting the forest.

    Thanks Aunt Cindy, the pics are great because the views here are great. Any dummy will be able to take the same pics :). Feel free to steal any and if you want larger resolution pics email us and let us know. Miss you all.

    Comment by Matt Stamplis — March 12, 2008 @ 6:50 pm

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