Archive for July, 2011

Scenic Sunday: The Tepees

July 31, 2011

The Tepees of the Painted Desert, Petrified Forst National Park, Arizona. June 13, 2011.

This is my post for the Scenic Sunday meme, which shares beautiful scenes from around the world.  To see more Scenic Sunday posts, or to join and show your own pictures, click HERE.

The Tepees under a beautiful blue sky. June 13, 2011.

The Tepees is an area of the Petrified Forest National Park dominated by cone-shaped rock formations.  It’s in the southern section of the park between Newspaper Rock and Blue Mesa.

Beautiful colors all around. June 13, 2011.

The Tepees contain layered blues, purples and grays in addition to the colors found in other portions of the park.  That day’s clear blue sky (with a few white clouds) only added to the beauty of the Painted Desert.

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SkyWatch Friday: Arizona Skies

July 29, 2011

The sky above Puerco Pueblo in the Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona. June 13, 2011.

This is my post for Skywatch Friday, a meme for sharing views of the sky from all over the world.  To see more, or to join and share your own photos of the sky, click HERE.

There is no doubt that the main attractions of the Petrified Forest National Park are the Painted Desert and the petrified logs.  But the sky is also an attraction, especially on a clear day like it was when we visited in June.  As the day wore on, a few white clouds appeared.  The long, flat cloud in the picture above appeared over Puerco Pueblo, where we saw our first group of petroglyphs.

The Painted Desert south of Newspaper Rock, Petrified Forest National Park. June 13, 2011.

By the time we got past Newspaper Rock, a few smaller wispy clouds put in their appearance.

The Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park. June 13, 2011.

I can’t help but feel that those white clouds in that beautiful blue sky added to the wonderful colors of the Painted Desert.

I Married a Drive-by Shooter

July 28, 2011

The Painted Desert in the Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona. June 13, 2011. (Photo by Betsy)

No, not that kind — the good kind!

One disadvantage to doing the driving on a road trip is that it’s easy to miss some of the scenery because you have to keep an eye on the road (and traffic).

The Painted Desert in the Petrified Forest National Park. June 13, 2011. (Photo by Betsy)

Fortunately Betsy has become a very accomplished drive-by shooter with her camera.  She took all these pictures as we drove along Petrified Forest Road between Newspaper Rock and The Tepees in the Petrified Forest National Park.

The Painted Desert in the Petrified Forest National Park. June 13, 2011. (Photo by Betsy)

If there was a pullout I could stop, enjoy the scenery, and take some pictures.  But pullouts were few and far between, so I’m glad Betsy got these great shots of the scenery.

Watery Wednesday: Virgin River Gorge

July 27, 2011

Cascades on the Virgin River, Virgin River Gorge, Arizona. June 18, 2011.

This is my post for Watery Wednesday.  To see more of our beautiful watery world, or to join and post your own pictures to share, click HERE.

As you know, it is very difficult for Betsy and me to travel without attempting to get close to a waterfall or at least some fast flowing water.

We had such a chance when we traveled through the Virgin River Gorge, located between St. George, Utah, and Littlefield, Arizona.  The gorge is a long canyon that has been carved out by the Virgin River in northwest Arizona.  It connects he southwestern rim of the Colorado Plateau and the northeastern edge of the Mojave Desert.

Interstate 15 runs through the canyon, and we got this picture of the cascade at a pullout.

My World: Petroglyphs

July 26, 2011

Petroglyphs at Puerco Pueblo, Petrified Forest National Park. June 13, 2011.

This is my post for the My World meme.  It is hosted by Klaus, Ivar, Sandy, Wren, and Fishing Guy.  To learn more about our world or to join and share your part of the world, click HERE.

Betsy and I have often heard  others talk about petroglyphs, and when we visited the Petrified Forest National Park we were able to see some for ourselves.

Another boulder at Puerco Pueblo with petroglyphs. June 13, 2011.

The first set we saw was at Puerco Pueblo, an archeological site which was occupied between 1250 and 1400.  The petroglyphs were on the side of cliffs adjoining the village, although we were unable to view one set because the trail leading to the viewing platform was closed because of swarming bees.

The ruins of Puerco Pueblo. June 13, 2011.

The picture above shows some of the ruins of the village.

Newspaper Rock, Petrified Forest National Forest. June 13, 2011. (Photo by Betsy)

The second set of petroglyphs was at Newspaper Rock, shown above in a picture that Betsy took.  There are more than 650 petroglyphs on the cliff and on boulders that have tumbled from the cliff.

Because of defacement that has taken place in the past and unstable hillsides, visitors are restricted to a viewing platform at the top of the cliff.  There was quite a crowd on the platform, and it was very windy, but we did manage to see a few of the images.

Petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock. June 13, 2011.

The light wasn’t the best for the petroglyphs on this boulder, but they are on at least two of the sides.

Petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock. June 13, 2011.

The lower image on this boulder reminds me of how I feel after working all day in the garden.

Scenic Sunday: The Painted Desert

July 24, 2011

The Painted Desert from the Tawa Point overlook. June 13, 2011.

This is my post for the Scenic Sunday meme, which shares beautiful scenes from around the world.  To see more Scenic Sunday posts, or to join and show your own pictures, click HERE.

Neither words or pictures can adequately describe the Painted Desert.  It truly looks as if an artist has spread beautiful colors over everything in sight.  We were there on a beautiful clear day, and the brilliant blue sky was just an added bonus.  This picture was taken at the Tawa Point overlook in Petrified Forest National Park.

SkyWatch Friday: Grand Canyon Sunset

July 22, 2011

The Grand Canyon at Sunset from Mather Point. June 15, 2011.

This is my post for Skywatch Friday, a meme for sharing views of the sky from all over the world.  To see more, or to join and share your own photos of the sky, click HERE.

Betsy and I were fortunate enough to see two sunsets at the Grand Canyon.  This sunset was captured from Mather Point near the Grand Canyon Visitor Center.  Pictures just can’t do the scene justice.

Could That Be Snow?

July 21, 2011

Could that white on the mountain be snow? Taken on I-40 near Flagstaff, Arizona. June 14, 2011.

As we drove toward Flagstaff, Arizona, on the morning of June 14, I noticed some white on a mountain top ahead of us.  Could that possibly be snow?  Two days earlier we had been driving across Oklahoma and Texas and the temperature outside had been 102°.  That white must be some kind of fence or building.

I kept my eye on the mountain as we drove, and quite frankly I kept changing my mind.  “That is definitely snow!”  “That can’t be snow.”  My Beautiful Bride, the snow expert in the family, was busy on her laptop, so I didn’t say anything.

After another twenty miles or so, I finally told Betsy that I thought there was snow on top of the mountain ahead of us.  Of course, she thought I was out of my mind, but when she looked up, she, too, thought it was snow.  So, as any blogger would do, I pulled to the side of the road to get the picture above.  So what do you think, snow or no snow?

On Highway 89 east of Flagstaff. June 14, 2011.

When we got off the interstate and headed north, we got a little closer to the mountain.  That is definitely snow!

Looking back toward Flagstaff. June 14, 2011.

Betsy was definitely excited now.  When we were north of Flagstaff, we could look back at several peaks which still had a snow cover.  It was hard to believe we were looking at snow while driving across what the map said was desert.

Watery Wednesday #149: Mill Creek Falls

July 20, 2011

Mill Creek Falls, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee. May 23, 2011.

This is my post for Watery Wednesday.  To see more of our beautiful watery world, or to join and post your own pictures to share, click HERE.

I’ve posted before that Betsy and I took a back-country road, Parson Branch Road, through the Smokies a couple of months ago.  We enjoy the scenery off the beaten path, and we enjoy the fact that we often come across some unexpected waterfalls.

We found the pretty little waterfall above shortly after leaving Cade Cove Loop Road.  I almost drove right past it, but I saw it out of the corner of my eye and backed up to a pull-over so we could get out and enjoy our discovery.

My World: The Painted Desert

July 19, 2011

Our first look at the Painted Desert from the Tiponi Point overlook. June 13, 2011.

This is my post for the My World meme.  It is hosted by Klaus, Ivar, Sandy, Wren, and Fishing Guy.  To learn more about our world or to join and share your part of the world, click HERE.

The Painted Desert was our first major stop on our recent trip west.  The Painted Desert encompasses over 93,500 acres and stretches over 160 miles.  The Painted Desert gets its name from the multitude of colors raining from lavenders to shades of gray with vibrant colors of red, orange and pink.  It is an expanse of badlands hills and buttes in a beautiful landscape of a rainbow of colors.

The view from Tawa Point. June 13, 2011.

The Petrified Forest National Park, which we visited, contains part of the Painted Deserted.  We entered the park through the northern entrance  and saw the Painted Desert first before going on to the Petrified Forest.

We hiked a short trail at Kachina Point to capture these views of the Painted Desert. June 13, 2011.

The colors of the sandstone and mudstone layers of the landscape are the result of varying mineral content in the sediments and the rate at which the sediments were laid down.  When sediments are deposited slowly, oxides of iron and aluminum become concentrated in the soil and create the red, orange, and pink colors seen in the northern part  of the park.  During a rapid sediment buildup — such as a flooding event — oxygen is removed from the soil forming, blue, gray and lavender layers.  These colors are prevalent in the southern portion of the park.

Our final stop in the Painted Desert was at Nizhoni Point. June 13, 2011.

The park is covered by the “Chinle formation”, a very soft layer of earth consisting many of mud, sandstone, and volcanic ash.  The softness allows for fantastic erosion, which contributes to the remarkable beauty of the Painted Desert.