Two RV Gypsies: Full-Time RVers
go to the home page of the two RV Gypsies
Table of Content index
learn about Karen and Lee Duquette email the two RV Gypsies sign the guestbook of the Two RV Gypsies
Alaska visits by the two RV Gypsies
places in Canada the two RV Gypsies visited
countries the two RV Gypsies visited The two RV Gypsies on cruises visit the USA sites
learn about Brian Duquette and his tragedy events before 2008 Links to other RV sites RV help for travelers vidoes by the Two RV Gypsies
The two RV Gypsies explored the Petrified Forest and the Giant Log Trail at Petrified Forest National Park

September 4 and 5, 2012

map showing location of the Petrified Forest in Arizona USA
laughing clipartPetrified Forest Cartoon

Petrified Forest National Park is a United States National Park in Navajo and Apache Counties in northeastern Arizona. Named for its large deposits of petrified wood, the park covers about 146 square miles, encompassing semi-desert shrub as well as highly eroded and colorful badlands. The site, the northern part of which extends into the Painted Desert, was declared a National Monument in 1906 and a National Park in 1962.

2012

The two RV Gypsies - 1987

Petrified Forest National Park sign
The two RV Gypsies at Petrified Forest National Park in 1987

Averaging about 5,400 feet in elevation, the park has a dry windy climate with temperatures that vary from summer highs of about 100 degrees F to winter lows well below freezing. About half of the park is designated wilderness.

clipart of a History BookThe Petrified Forest is known for its fossils, especially fallen trees that lived about 225 million years ago. The sediments containing the fossil logs are part of the widespread and colorful Chinle Formation, from which the Painted Desert gets its name. Beginning about 60 million years ago, the Colorado Plateau, was pushed upward by tectonic forces and exposed to increased erosion. All of the park's rock layers above the Chinle, except geologically recent ones found in parts of the park, have been removed by wind and water. Paleontologists have been unearthing and studying the park's fossils since the early 20th century.

Karen Duquette at Petrified Forest National Park

Giant Logs Interpretive Loop Trail - 0.25 miles - very easy trail

at Rainbow Forest Museum Parking Lot

petrified logs at Giant Logs Trail at Petrified Forest National Park
petrified logs at Giant Logs Trail at Petrified Forest National Park
  • Petrified wood is mostly quartz. The physical characteristics of cylindrical quartz cause it to break cleanly when stressed, resulting in the lengthy symmetrical segments seen on this trail.

  • Petrified wood in the Petrified Forest National Park is almost solid quartz, weighing on average between 150-180 pounds per cubic foot. It's so hard, you can only cut it with a diamond tipped saw.

  • Iron Oxides give the wood its distinctive red, yellow and orange hues.

  • Carbonized organic compounds and residues yield black, tan and brown tones.

panorama of the Giant Logs Trail

In many places small sections of logs lay scattered about the ground. The petrified wood displays a variety of colors resulting from the minerals it contains--pine quartz for white and gray, iron for the reds and yellows, browns, blues, and greens, and carbon and manganese for the black.

small sections of logs lay scattered about the ground on the Giant Logs Trail
small sections of logs lay scattered about the ground on the Giant Logs Trail
small sections of logs lay scattered about the ground on the Giant Logs Trail
small sections of logs lay scattered about the ground on the Giant Logs Trail
small sections of logs lay scattered about the ground on the Giant Logs Trail
Petrified wood at Petrified Forest Giant Logs Trail

Below: A very smart way to make a fence post.

a fence post
Petrified wood at Petrified Forest Giant Logs Trail
Petrified wood at Petrified Forest Giant Logs Trail

Below Plaque: Stephen T. Mather 1867-1930 Mather recognized magnificent scenery as the primary criterion for establishment of National Parks. He was very careful to evaluate choices for parks, wishing the parks to stand as a collection of unique monuments. His life is well summarized on a series of bronze markers which were posthumously cast in his honor and distributed through many parks:

"He laid the foundation of the National Park Service, defining and establishing the policies under which its areas shall be developed and conserved, unimpaired for future generations. There will never come an end to the good he has done.."

The two RV Gypsies at the plaque of Stephen T Mather
Plaque: Stephen T. Mather 1867-1930
Petrified wood at Petrified Forest Giant Logs Trail
Petrified wood at Petrified Forest Giant Logs Trail

Karen Duquette near sizeable sections of Old Faithful in the Giant Logs area.

Karen Duquette and sizeable sections of Old Faithful in the Giant Logs area
Karen Duquette and Sizeable sections of Old Faithful in the Giant Logs area

The park's largest log, known as Old Faithful is shown above and below. It was christened Old Faithful by the wife of the park's first superintendent. The base of the main root is seen at the large end of the log. The rest of the root system broke off sometime earlier. The remaining 35-foot section of the log is estimated to weigh around 44 tons. Lightning struck and fractured Old Faithful in July 1962, and the park repaired the damage, something that would NOT be done today. It is considered the largest because of its diameter (9 feet, 9 inches), as well as how tall it once was.

the base of Old Faithful in the Petrified Forest
Karen Duquette at the base of Old Faithful in the Petrified Forest
the base of Old Faithful in the Petrified Forest
the base of Old Faithful in the Petrified Forest

CHECK IT OUTFLASHBACK - Lee Duquette on the Giant Log Trail in 1987

Lee Duquette by Old Faithful in 1987

Because of the arid nature of the area and the absolute lack of trees given the current climate, it can be difficult to picture the lush woodlands which existed in these areas in Triassic times. An idea of just how large the original trees must have been can be gathered from the fallen trunks as they lay on the ground. The cracks which divide most of the logs into sections are due to stress on the log.

Old Faithful in the Petrified Forest Giant Logs Trail
Old Faithful in the Petrified Forest Giant Logs Trail
Petrified wood at Petrified Forest Giant Logs Trail

Below: Many pieces of heavily mineralized petrified wood on the Giant Logs Trail - The yellow flowers are Curlycup Gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa). This plant, native to the Great Plains, readily absorbs selenium and is considered a hazard to ranching in areas with selenium-rich soils. Historically, it may have been used for a variety of medicinal purposes.

a piece of heavily mineralized petrified wood on the Giant Logs Trail
a peice of of heavily mineralized petrified wood on the Giant Logs Trail
a piece of of heavily mineralized petrified wood on the Giant Logs Trail
a piece of of heavily mineralized petrified wood on the Giant Logs Trail

Petrified wood is much heavier than the original log, weighing as much as 150-200 pounds per cubic foot.

a piece of of heavily mineralized petrified wood on the Giant Logs Trail
a piece of of heavily mineralized petrified wood on the Giant Logs Trail

Most of the petrified logs in the park were from trees of the variety Araucarioxylon, large trees which reached 100 feet in height and 6-8 feet in diameter.

a piece of of heavily mineralized petrified wood on the Giant Logs Trail
Petrified wood at Petrified Forest Giant Logs Trail
Petrified wood at Petrified Forest Giant Logs Trail
Petrified wood at Petrified Forest Giant Logs Trail
look below

go to the next page at the Petrified ForestPlease continue on to see page 2 of the Petrified Forest National Park -Blue Mesa - - the favorite section of the two RV Gypsies.-