Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

A crater and petrified wood and the painted desert – oh my!


Here I am, still trying to catch you all up. It’s hard when there’s so much to see. I’ll try not to rush you, but really we need to move along.

The view from the visitor center located on the rim of the crater, looking back over the desert.

So let’s visit Meteor Crater near Winslow Arizona. It’s a natural landmark that is privately owned by the decedents of the man who homesteaded the area way back in the 1800s.

Wind erosion is slowly filling the crater in.

The crater was made when a meteor hit the earth about 50,000 years ago. It’s about 3/4 of a mile wide and over 500 feet deep.

There’s an information center with a movie about the discovery and exploration of the crater over the years, a very large fragment of the actual meteor that you can touch, and guided tours along the rim.

Our guide, Priscilla.

I remember visiting when I was a kid, maybe in the late 60s. It’s much the same, though the guide told us there has been significant erosion which is one reason they don’t let people wander on their own there anymore.

Following our guide to the next point of interest.

Even though it’s kind of expensive, it was $20 each for us, a $2 discount because we were over 60, it’s worth going if you’re ever out there.

Not far down the road is the Southern entrance to the Petrified Forest. You would be remiss if you didn’t check it out.

It’s important to protect yourself from the sun here in Arizona, even in February.

We got in on my husband’s National Parks pass, definitely worth the money spent when you’re out here, we have used it several times already.

One of the first logs I fell in love with.

The road goes north and south, connecting two large highways, over twenty miles of interesting countryside, unbelievable vistas, and of course trees turned to stone.

Trees have fallen everywhere. They cracked when they petrified, no one chopped them up.

Right now, the middle section of the road is under construction so we could only go about 16 miles up the road. But it was fun anyway. If you only have a little time, I advise going on a short loop right behind the visitor center – you’ll see a lot of petrified trees in a small space.

This is “Old Faithful” a huge petrified tree located right behind the South Visitor Center on a short loop.

But really, try to go to Crystal Forest, a one mile paved walking loop with incredible petrified trees, and wonderful views. It’s paved and pretty level, and of course, if you get over petrified, you can always do only part of the loop.

The colors in the petrified wood are amazing, especially in late afternoon sun.

But likely that will be impossible because you’re going to want to know what’s around the next curve or over that rise in the path.

Take a walk in Crystal Forest. You won’t forget it.

If you were to go into the Petrified National Park from the north entrance you’d find an entirely different landscape. You’d soon realize you’re in the Painted Desert.

The north entrance has a building that used to be a restaurant and hotel, and now it’s a museum.

The colors, especially in early morning when we were lucky enough to be there, are almost indescribable. So I’ll let you just look and judge for yourself.

Stunning, right?

The red and green and rust and tan hills go on for miles and miles. At each overlook we had to stop and…well…look.


But we kept driving, and the landscape changed.

Well…this looks different.

We found ourselves surrounded by white mountains…

Interesting….very interesting.

…and following a paved trail we descended into a magical land of white and purple and blue and pink and grey piles of rock.

Isn’t this just the prettiest thing?

We gasped in surprise and delight around every curve. The morning light was making the colors glow. It almost looked fake.

To show you scale, the mountains were actually pretty big.

I’m telling you, don’t skip the north part of this park! Just because you’ve seen a bunch of petrified wood on the south side already, and you’re tired and thinking maybe you don’t need to go explore the north side, well, you’d be making a big mistake to skip this!

Loved those stripes!

After we walked back up the steep incline and out of the canyon we drove to an overlook. It was fun to trace where we’d walked. It looked sort of like a giant game board, with people moving along the path.

I don’t think we realized this was a purple mountain when we walked around it ourselves.

And, once we caught our breath…we headed back down the road.

On to the next adventure!

Next we’re stopping at Valley of the Gods and Monument Valley. I haven’t even downloaded those pictures yet…but I’m pretty sure there’s some good stuff in there.

On the way to our next location, this was a hint of what was to come.

And if you’ve followed this post all the way down here, thanks for your patience!

Yep, things are getting mighty interesting.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

26 thoughts on “A crater and petrified wood and the painted desert – oh my!

  1. WOW!

    Beyond incredible – thanks for sharing the sights with us!


  2. That opening photo is absolutely stunning. I love your photography!


  3. Gorgeous! I visited petrified forest many many years ago, I keep wanting to get back there. What a great western desert trip you’re having.


  4. Thanks for the tour! Really looking forward to your upcoming trip posts.


    • There’s more to come, but tonight’s hotel has bad internet. On the other hand it only cost 70.00, and has a great view…and includes breakfast. So I’m not going to complain about slow, free, internet.


  5. Great photos. We took a different route through Arizona when I was a kid on what I call the Brady Bunch styled family vacation so missed the petrified forest and meteor crater. Looking forward to seeing more of your vacation!


  6. Beautiful colors. I could live among those colors, but am not sure I could take the heat. Still, lovely to look at.


  7. Awesome photos. We haven’t been there yet. The petrified trees looking like they were cut for fire wood is so fascinating. And all the colors of the landscape. I didn’t realize you were in Arizona. So much to see here, although we’ve been pretty stationary this winter just enjoying the sites and activities nearby.


  8. Wow, Dawn! These are beautiful. I am fascinated by those fallen petrified trees–pretty darn amazing. My husband and I both have those senior passes–they are a lifesaver to say nothing of the $$$!


  9. This is just so different from our flat Midwest terrain. I love all the colors — especially the striping — and I find myself wondering just how hot it really was. I’ll bet it’s pretty unbearable in the deep summer months. You’ve picked a great time to visit, and I’m enjoying the trip vicariously!


  10. I had zipped through the area when I was running with my dog, Cole, a few years back. Man, oh man, did I ever miss some stuff!!!


  11. I’m also enjoying your photos on Facebook. Now I’m going to go dig through my albums and see whether I can find any photos that I might’ve taken when we did a lot of the same things. All on film, of course. Thanks for the memories


  12. No kidding WOW! I know I’m late with this comment, but I had to say something. You are seeing things that are now on my list for sure! Cool! 🙂


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