Painted Desert and Scat Dog

We headed east to see the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest National Park.  On the way, we stopped at the Meteor Crater.  The crater is the result of a meteorite impact approximately 49,000 years ago.  We enjoyed the speed limit sign going in.  When we got to the crater, we saw that dogs were not permitted.  I usually check that before we go, but I didn’t.  The temperature was cool, so we left Dart in the car to get a quick peek at the crater.  When we saw that the entrance fee was $18 per person, a quick peek didn’t make sense.  Besides, you cannot walk in the crater or around the rim of the crater.  We looked it up on Google maps when we got back.  You should check it out.  The satellite view is amazing.

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Sign on the way to Meteor Crater.

Onward! On the way to the National Park we passed Winslow, Arizona and what a fine sight to see.  Well maybe not but I had to say that.  We didn’t see any girls in flatbed Fords.

The National Park is wonderful.  It is very wheelchair access friendly and every path has the details listed as to grade, etc.  It is very pet friendly.  Leashed dogs are allowed on every path.  This is by far the pet friendliest National Park we have been to.

On our first hike, we had great views of the Painted Desert and took lots of pictures.  Dart was primarily interested in scat.  I could loan him to a biologist interested in scat.  He can find every pile of scat on or near a trail.  All those piles of scat are extremely interesting to him and he loves nothing more then to get a good dose of smelling in before moving on.  Sometimes, I am surprised his nose still works.  It seems to get too much of a workout on our hikes.

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Painted Desert at Petrified Forest National Park.
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Petrified Forest National Park.

Even though the weather was in the mid 60’s on our first hike, I noticed Dart still doesn’t like to be in the sun.  I stopped to read an educational sign on the trail and found Dart strategically standing in the shadow of the sign.  Therefore, we went on several short hikes through the park but didn’t do anything very long.

The wind was crazy in the park.  I personally think those winds would be considered hurricane force winds at home but Regis would tell you that I am exaggerating.  Perhaps the winds are not hurricane force but they blow hard enough to impact your ability to make forward progress on a trail.

At every trail head and many overlooks, there was a resident raven or two looking for a handout.  I captured this guy on film.  I have a very hard time taking pictures of crows and ravens because they are black and this is the best one I have taken.  I’ll keep working on it.

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Looking for a handout at Petrified Forest National Park.

Besides the amazing beauty of the natural environment, I enjoyed seeing the evidence from past native Americans.  There are remnants of housing, kivas, etc. but I liked the petroglyphs the most.  I liked this one with the bird with something in its bill.

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Petroglyphs at Petrified Forest National Park.

Of course, the petrified wood was amazing.  There is a particularly nice hike through the Crystal Forest where you get great opportunities for up close views of the petrified logs.

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Petrified log at Petrified Forest National Park.

I think this area would be particularly beautiful in the morning and evening when the sun is rising and setting.  The colors would be even better.  I can understand why this is called the Painted Desert.

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Lizard with fancy yellow feet at Petrified Forest National Park.