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After leaving El Morro National Monument we drove to Gallup, New Mexico for the evening. We were up early the next morning heading for the Petrified Forest National Park.

More photos from our visit to Petrified National Forest can be found on my website.

We arrived a little before 8am when the park was supposed to open. However when we arrived we noticed the gate was closed and there were others waiting to get into the park. We had forgotten that the four corners area is a mess when it comes to knowing what time it is. When the park finally opened we noticed this display in the visitors center and it says it all. Arizona really creates problems for the locals and lots of missed tours and connections for the tourists.

After stopping at the Painted Desert Visitors Center we drove to the Painted Desert Inn and took some photos of the Painted Desert. The colors were spectacular.

We made a quick stop at old Route 66 which ran through the park. There is an old 1932 Studebaker and a line of telephone poles marking the spot. You can see the current freeway in the background.

We also made a quick stop at Puerco Pueblo. Not much remained only a few foundations. A short distance down the road we turned off to look at Newspaper Rock. Unfortunately it is quite a distance from the viewing stand. It was not nearly as impressive as Inscription Rock at El Morro National Monument.

We pulled over to photograph Tepee Rocks. While were photographing the rock formations this Raven walked up to the car.

I think our favorite spot in the park was Blue Mesa. There was a short walk into the formations. The blue colors made the formations unique.

After our hike at Blue Mesa we drove to Agate Bridge. This is a petrified log spanning a gully. As I recall the CCC put a cement support under the log to keep it from breaking up.

We continued on to our destination which was the Rainbow Forest Visitors Center at the southern entrance to the park. We hiked into the rainbow forest on what looked like an old park road. Apparently at one time cars could drive and park in the forest but now it is hiking only. There were large numbers of petrified logs along the trail and a small reconstructed pueblo built out of agate.

Unfortunately we were headed north so we had to backtrack through the park to the Painted Desert Visitors Center. We had a long way to go to our next destination so we didn’t make many stops on our trip back through the park. We did stop at the Painted Desert to take some photos because there was some great light on the rocks.

 

 

 

 

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More photos from Arches National Park can be found on my website.

I can’t help but think this is the parks salute to our so called president.

This is one of of my favorite shots. Balanced Rock with a dark sky in the background.

A piece of wood found along the trail.

A view from the Primitive Trail overlooking the Park.

View from the trail to Pine Tree Arch.

Park Avenue is one of the first turnouts when entering the park.

Indian Paintbrush was one of the few flowers blooming in the park.

Fiery Furnace is one of the great hikes in the park. Unfortunately the park did not have staff available for tours.

View from the Broken Arch Trail.

This Raven was waiting for us at the car as we were preparing to leave the Park.

The last time I visited Arches National Park I hiked the Primitive Trail and I wanted to do it again this trip along with my wife. She had never hiked the trail and I had forgotten what it was like. The last time I did it I was alone and met almost no one else on the trail. Things have changed. This trip there were lots of people on the trail and it was difficult to get shots without getting someone in the photo. At almost every arch someone was posing under the arch. It required great patience on my part not to say anything to them.

More photos from Arches National Park can be found on my website.

The trail starts at Landscape Arch.

Just past Landscape Arch the trail follows a gap in the rocks and is quite steep. The first photo was taken looking up the trail toward the top of the ridge and the second photo was taken back toward Landscape Arch.

The trail is well marked with cairns.

There were some very interesting patterns in the rocks at Navajo Arch.

This well placed cairn marked the trail to Partition Arch.

From Partition Arch to Double O Arches you are at the high point of the trail with some stunning views of the Park.

At Double O Arches we took a side trail over to Dark Angel and had some spectacular views of the Salt Valley.

 

We stopped along the Dark Angel trail and had a bite to eat. We soon had a visitor who was determined to have a snack with us.

We rejoined the main Primitive Trail and followed the trail down off of the ridge. This section of the trail was not marked as well as earlier sections. Quite a few people turn back and retrace their steps from Double O Arches because the trail is more difficult from this point on. We took another short side hike to Private Arch. Just beyond Private Arch there were some nice views. Earlier in the hike we could see hikers way down below by Private Arch.

This section of the trail was probably the most difficult. It was very steep and if you slipped you would probably fall about twenty feet. It became a bottleneck and everyone was helping others get through this section. I can’t imagine how I got through this section alone. In my mountain climbing one of the sayings was “When in doubt lean out”. In other words don’t lean in and push yourself off of the hold. I mentioned this to my wife and she said “I am leaning out!!!” Actually she was plastered to the rock face.

Once we were down out of the rocks the trail was much easier and provided some nice views of the La Sal Mountains.