The Petrified Forest National Park Coverac

Day 3: Petrified Forest National Park || 16 States in 16 Days

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“Easter Egg” Finds!

What will YOU find at the Petrified Forest National Park? Is there even a forest? When I visited this northern National Park in Arizona, I was shocked over and over again! In fact, this would become one of my favorite stops on my summer 2021 trip, “16 States in 16 Days”. If you are interested in how this National Park came to be, check out, Day 3: Crystal Forest & Painted Desert! Just like the hidden items found in video games, be sure to share your travel “easter eggs” in the comments below and let’s see what I found, next!

Broadway, Film, TV & Radio

Did you know, National Parks have long been the backdrop to movie scenes? They have! Yet, I never knew The Petrified Forest (1936) was a film and broadway production! What brought a star-studded cast to the Petrified Forest National Park? Time to dig in and find out more about the history of this incredible place. Follow the adventure here at ThereGoesSaraRose.com!

Inspired by Desperate Times

The broadway film, “The Petrified Forest,” (1935) originated from the famous playwright, Robert E. Sherwood. One fascinating fact is Sherwood was inspired by a famous character in the news, the FBI’s first Public Enemy #1, John Dillinger! Set during the Great Depression, the play inspired a litany of entertainment, and first turned into a movie only a year later. (More about Dillinger when I share my stay in Chicago, Illinois!)

Released in 1936, “The Petrified Forest” and it’s star-studded cast of Leslie Howard, Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart was even more important than you think. What makes this movie special? THIS is the movie that set Humphrey Bogart on the path to stardom! There were several radio and television adaptations of The Petrified Forest since then. Who knew an ancient place contained such recent history?

Bureau of Land Management to National Park

The Petrified Forest was more famous than I realized! time to dig into more recent times. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) transferred the care of the Petrified Forest to the National Park service in 2007. Although this expanded the park by thousands of acres, this means some “reminders” in the park, are not your traditional Federal Government sign. In Humbolt, Arizona, you may find just such a sign if you pay attention. Visitors are often reminded not to take anything home from the park, leaving things just the way we found it. Poking fun at this mantra, a broken down station wagon attempting the theft of a MASSIVE log of Petrified Wood sits at the Petrified Forest Gift Shop.

Local Gift Shops

Local shops and owners proudly showcase handmade pots, collectibles, one-of-a-kind pieces and more. With history and knowledge of the area combined, many serve as gift shops, visitors centers and museums all-in-one. “No Photography” was requested by signs or artists so I can only encourage you to visit and check out the sights for yourself! Some shops even had piles of rock and geodes available by the pound. I don’t know about you, but an outside fireplace made of geodes like the store-front below would be amazing!

Check out some of the large, and very expensive, pieces of Petrified Wood in my videos linked below! Keep an eye out for the 2,600 million-year-old fossil, Wild Bill!

Geodes and Petrified Wood in Petrified Forest National Park gift shops, Arizona (Video Credit: Sara Rose, 2021)

The Future of the Petrified Forest National park

With the help of the International Dark Sky Association and the National Park Service (NPS) Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division, the Petrified Forest is working to achieve International Dark Sky Park status. How do they do this? To become a dark sky park, they must prove how dark the skies can get at night. To learn more about the process, check out the Petrified Forest Dark Skies efforts at nps.gov! Whatever part of the park your journey takes you, be sure to share it! Subscribe to ThereGoesSaraRose.com, follow on any of my social media or comment below and SHARE YOUR ADVENTURES! Until next time, There Goes Sara Rose!

Read MORE about the Petrified Forest National Park here!

Day 3: Crystal Forest & Painted Desert || 16 States in 16 Days at ThereGoesSaraRose.com

Crystal Forest & Painted Desert Cover (Photo by Sara Rose, 2021)

Day 3: Crystal Forest & Painted Desert || 16 States in 16 Days

TRAVEL. CAPTURE. CREATE. ThereGoesSaraRose.com

Are They REAL?!

Crystal Forest and The Painted Desert. The names sound like magical places, imagined, brightly-colored, and in a far away land. However, they are right here in Arizona, in the United States of America! Join me as we travel and adventure 6,000-mile road trip, “16 States in 16 Days,” at ThereGoesSaraRose.com! Let’s begin Day 3 as I explore the Petrified Forest National Park in Northern Arizona!

Petrified Forest National Park Sign, Arizona (Photo Credit: Michael Neri, 2021)

Petrified Forest

Set aside in 1906, the Petrified Forest National Park is one of the largest collections of petrified wood in the world! Many of the local structures in use are now on the National Register of Historic Places as well! Whatever spot you are visiting, be sure to ask a park ranger for the most up to date information on the park or visit http://www.nps.gov/pefo. The most popular way to visit is to take the 28 mile drive through the park with short trails to stop at along the way. It is illegal to take any wood with you, but you can purchase some at the shops nearby! So what can we do at this park how did wood become rock? Let’s find out!

My Experience

A dry heat hits you as you open the car door. Similar to opening a heated oven, moisture is sapped from your face like a sponge that fell out of the ocean. A California native, this heat didn’t bother me as much as I thought. Why? The air here is clean (more on California air another time!). Strapped with water bottles, my first trail of the day was at the back of the visitors center. About a mile later, I was SHOCKED at the layers of colored earth in the valley below! There may have been heat, wind, and a dryness that did not stop, but every moment of the day, things looked different. The sun moved and changed the colors around me. I could have stayed and relaxed in the sunlight all afternoon. What will YOU do on your visit?

What To Do

Any time spent at the park is amazing! The highest concentrations of petrified wood are found in the southern end of the park, while the northern end showcases the human story and Painted Desert views.

One or Two Hours to Visit:

  • South End: Visit the Rainbow Forest Museum and watch the park film; walk Giant Logs and Crystal Forest Trails; drive the Blue Mesa Road
  • North End: Watch the park film at Painted Desert Visitors Center; select several overlooks to take in views of the Painted Desert, walk the Tawa Point Trail and visit the Painted Desert Inn.

Half a Day to Visit:

  • Drive through the entire park (28 mi/45km main road)
  • Walk the Painted Desert Rim Trail to Kachina Point
  • Enjoy the views and wayside exhibits at Route 66, Newspaper Rock, Agate Bridge, and Jasper Forest.
  • Walk the Giant Logs Trail (pick up a trail guide at Rainbow Forest Museum)
  • Visit Puerco Pueblo
  • Attend a ranger program (available seasonally)
  • Explore Blue Mesa and walk the trail

Full Day or More to Visit:

  • Hike to Long Logs and Agate House
  • Choose an Off the Beaten Path hike
  • Spend the night at the park’s Wilderness Area
  • Celebrate!

Painted Desert

“A broad region of rocky badlands encompassing more than 93,500 acres, this vast landscape features rocks in every hue – from deep lavenders and rich grays to reds, oranges, and pinks,” the Painted Desert must be experienced in person. Photo after photo made me realize, I could not capture every color in one photo, the adventurer must experience the desert in person to truly understand the beauty of such a place.

There is a sizzling quietness which, if you listen closely, is teeming with life and survival, not a dead thing to be disregarded. These elegant layers, painted by mother nature through volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and floods is home to many amazing views and worth every moment spent here!

Painted Desert, Arizona (Photo Credit: Sara Rose, 2021)

Painted Desert Inn

Although no longer accommodating overnight guests, the Painted Desert Inn is a historical monument surviving from the 1920’s! Originally, “The Stone Tree House,” Herbert David Lore created his vision with the help of family members and officially registered the tourist attraction in 1924. This National Historic Landmark, although touted as a museum online, was closed when I visited. Since no one was around, I was happy to get footage of the outside of the museum, be sure to check that out here on my Tiktok! Share your experience and thoughts in the comments below!

More to Come!

There are still so many questions! Did I bring any petrified wood home? Why is there a broken down car on my Instagram? What chaos occurred on Day 3? I could not share it all in just one post so be sure to check back soon for more from Arizona and New Mexico on Day 3 of, “16 States in 16 Days”! Still not enough for you? Check out more on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or hangout with me LIVE on Twitch! Until next time adventurers, There Goes Sara Rose!

Day 2: Seligman, Arizona || 16 States in 16 Days

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“[Route 66] didn’t cut through the land like that Interstate. It moved with the land. It rose, it fell, it curved. Cars didn’t drive on it to make great time. They drove on it to have a great time.”

–Sally, Cars (2006, Pixar)

“The Birthplace of Route 66”

As I step out the car, I hear a gunshot from behind me. Here I thought I was just stopping at a ghost town, but no! Historic Route 66, and Seligman, Arizona is literally poppin’! Welcome to another stop on Day 2 of “16 States in 16 Days”. A 6,00 mile road trip I travel around the United States on ThereGoesSaraRose.com and hope you join me in the story! Originally “Prescott Junction”, Seligman was name after Jesse Seligman, a railroad financier in 1886. Although not included in Interstate 40 in 1978, the town was saved by becoming the, “Birthplace of Historic Route 66,” in 1987. With that kind of title, it seemed like the PERFECT stop on our trip!

Wild, Wild…Cars?!

@theregoessararose

Western skit in Seligman, Arizona! The shot MAY have scared me. 🤣 #traveldiaries #route66 #theatre #western #thespian ThereGoesSaraRose.com

♬ original sound – ThereGoesSaraRose
TikTok video of street actors in Seligman, AZ (Video Credit: Sara Rose, 2021)
#BigAZz66sign in Seligman, Arizona (Photo Credit: Sara Rose, 2021)

Local thespians share their comedic, Western-inspired skits, reinacting what it might have been like to live in the Wild Wild West. With bright costumes near the local #BigAZz66sign in Seligman, Arizona I found where the previously mentioned “gunshot” originated! Notice anything special about this sign? Yes, that is Lightning McQueen and Mater from the Pixar movie, Cars! “Somewhere between Gallup, New Mexico, and Kingman, Arizona,” (Pixar.com, 2021), it is said Seligman, AZ is just one of these towns which inspired Radiator Springs from the movie! If you haven’t seen it yet, it is a create family film and shows some of the history of Route 66 and towns like Seligman, Arizona!

TikTok video of old cars in Seligman, AZ (Video Credit: Sara Rose, 2021)

Home of Commodore Perry Owens

What happens to a Cowboy when they retire? They settle in Seligman, Arizona, of course! Commodore Perry Owens, a sheriff of Apache County, was said to be an amazing shot, with both and rifles, handguns and so ambidextrous he carried two guns! Unfortunately, he found himself relieved of his position when a shoot-out ensued in 1852, killing The Blevins Brothers and the Commodore unharmed. Relieved of his position, Commodore Owens settled down and ran a saloon in Seligman, Arizona. Check out my photos of his blue house and signage depicting his life.

More Cars!

What I was NOT expecting to find is how ready the town was for tourists! Whether it was the movie which breathed life back in the towns (or vice versa!) I was so surprised with how much there was to see that I cannot wait to return. I did not expect to step into a modern Western, but that is exactly where I was! Growing up in California, if someone told me we stopped at a scene in Universal Studios, I would have been less surprise by my surroundings.

TikTok of animated cowboy in Seligman, AZ (Video Credit: Sara Rose, 2021)

Never Enough

A major regret the majority of this trip was not allowing myself more time to wander through parts of these old towns on my road trip. As we drove, many times I would scream, “STOP!” to my friend and driver and we would try to take as many pictures and videos as possible, even if it meant making it to the next stop exhausted and much too late. If you have questions or thoughts about what I share, please comment below!

TikTok of Seligman, AZ (Video Credit: Sara Rose, 2021)

Please share your favorite parts of Route 66 in the comments below! Make sure to subscribe to get early access to the blog and follow my social media for more great photos and videos! Until our next adventure, happy trails Adventurers!