Day 4: Petroglyphs & Ancient Volcanoes || Albuquerque, New Mexico

TRAVEL. CAPTURE. CREATE. ThereGoesSaraRose.com

Driving to the Petroglyph National Monument as the next stop on my trip, plants and the earth change into more shades and colors than I can understand. The land is not like the long California Central Valley I hail from. On my way to New Mexico from Arizona, the earth changes between red and sandy browns and is splashed with flora and fauna in yellow- to icy-greens. Learn more about my hike around the Petroglyphs, ancient volcanos and more; Welcome to Day 4 of my summer 2021 road trip, “16 States in 16 Days!” at ThereGoesSaraRose.com!

Utility Before Everything

There is something different about the mindset in New Mexico that is very obvious between one state and the next. Trucks and utility vehicles rule the road, some brands I have not heard of before. In this northern trek through the state, I rarely saw a sedan-style or compact car, if at all. The people seemed tough and focused on their task at hand, not distracted with phones or friendly chatter. Most of the restroom stops made me keenly aware I was one of the only travelers “out and about” while almost all others were truckers or workers. The bright-signs of Route 66 behind me, the time for “new” and “different” had begun.

No Shoes, No Shirt? No Problem!

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service is a sign used by some businesses in California and what came to mind as I stepped into Subway for lunch. I realize how little style and fashion matter as soon as I enter New Mexico. Shirts worn were thrown together haphazardly, “wearing” their shirt by a slight technicality. One button through the wrong button hole would show sun-baked skin, hardened by work in the wilderness. Here I thought I was someone who loved travel, loved the forest; these are people who live the forest life and I was jealous and humbled at the same time!

Petroglyphs National Monument

A small rangers hut marks the entrance of the Petroglyphs National Monument. $1 parking fee paid ($2 on weekends) and a short drive to what looks to be a nearby hill and I made it! It is 11 AM on June 14th, 2021 and 91° F/ 32.7° C but it barely feels warm. Why does it feel so different here? Just a few short hours away from California, this heat feels enjoyable and even…fresh? And it hits me, the air is CLEAN! Until that moment it never occurred to me just how different air can feel in different climates. Lungs no longer challenged by polluted air, it hits me with full force how much easier it is to function when I can breathe.

Take a Hike!

There are several trails to hike at the Petroglyphs National Monument. Again, I found myself wishing I had more time to explore! The Boca Negra Canyon Trail, a short 1 mile hike, is an ancient, very steep volcanic cone and requires good, close-toed shoes. I was able to record the hike back down with only a few slips and several up-close views of the carved images. Take the hike with me on my YouTube here or watch the video below!

Walk the Petroglyph National Monument – Boca Negra Canyon Trail || Albuquerque, New Mexico (S. Rose, 2021)

Road Trip TIP!

After the hike, I still had several hours on the road as I crossed over the tip of Texas to get to Oklahoma. Remember, self care is INCREDIBLY important on a road trip! Love’s was recommended to me & I will pass on the knowledge: Make Love’s you bathroom stops! They are consistently the most clean and well stocked. Share your travel tips in the comments below or on any of my social media and until next time, There Goes Sara Rose!

Sunset at Love’s in Erick, Oklahoma

The Petrified Forest National Park Coverac

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

TRAVEL. CAPTURE. CREATE. ThereGoesSaraRose.com

“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

Fern plants in Pinnacles National Park

Top Gems: Hiking Trails in California

Listen to a podcast of the travel article here: https://anchor.fm/theregoessararose/episodes/Ep–4-Top-Gems–Hiking-Trails-in-California-e156fl8

Although many of us have picked up new hobbies such as bread making or sewing while at home, it can be a good change of pace to get outdoors. If you’re looking for a safe way to get some sunshine, a hike through one of California’s many parks is a great option.

As lockdown restrictions begin to lift, prepare your hiking boots for some epic adventures. Central California offers an array of hiking spots, but most require a little planning before you hit the trails. 

If you’re stuck for places to try, here are just a few of my favorite California trails.

Carrizo Plain National Monument

This park is one of California’s hidden gems. Located near California Valley, just a few hours from Los Angeles, the plains offers a unique variety of nature. 

Centuries ago, the 204,000-acre park served as grassland where the deer and the antelope played — and some still live there today.  New animals such as kit foxes and antelope squirrel now call the plains home. Wildflowers cover the landscape and it is home to a diverse set of plant life, many of which are endangered.

Hikers can traverse valleys, ridges and ponds along the San Andreas Fault. Some of the park’s most popular spots include grass lands, distant mountain views and Painted Rock, a rock formation with pictograph art. Guided tours to Painted Rock are available at this time, but may be limited or canceled due to nesting birds. 

However, the most popular part of the park is Soda Lake, a normally dry lake bed that concentrates salt water as it evaporates, leaving a substance that looks like baking soda.

If you want to get a sneak peek at what calming views the park has to offer, check out my 360° video of the plains here!

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is one of California’s most well-known hiking spots, but there’s a reason for that. The park has been protected since 1964 and offers magnificent waterfalls, glaciers and breathtaking views of the High Sierras. Backpacking typical is a no-go until the snow completely melts, but trails open throughout the year as the season permits. You can check the Yosemite National Park website for up-to-date trail openings. 

If you’re looking for a beginner hike with little elevation, I recommend the Mirror Lake trail. The two-mile hike typically takes about one hour to complete. The first mile is paved and the traversed elevation only reaches about 100 feet, though the lake is more than 4,000 feet above sea level. The trail follows Tenaya Creek and crosses two bridges before offering views of Mirror Lake and Mount Watkins. The view (and the photos) are well-worth it. 

For more advanced hikers, I recommend the Half Dome Day Hike, which offers hikers views of Yosemite Valley from 5,000 feet up. To reach the summit, the hike does include a portion on metal cables, however, which also requires a permit. For a less daring hike, I recommend the Yosemite Falls Trail. A shorter two-mile, paved trail will take you to the base of the waterfall while a 7.2-mile trail takes you to the top of the falls.

Although it offers a variety of hiking trails, it is very popular in the summer. For that reason, reservations to enter the park are required starting May 21, so be sure to plan your journey accordingly. 

Before you go, check out my video from our day trip to Lower Yosemite Falls and see various views firsthand!

Some higher areas in the mountains may still be snowbound and Tioga Road is still closed. Mariposa Grove usually opens by mid-March. Glacier Point Road is also closed (and as a note, it will be closed for the entire of 2022 for rehabilitation). Generally, plan a route that won’t take you above 6,000 feet and check with the rangers to see what is or is not open.

The spring snowmelt makes the waterfalls particularly pretty, especially in the Valley. While it’s generally not clear enough for backpacking without snow camping, there are plenty of day hike options.

Trails near Oakhurst and Raymond, California

Although they don’t boast the same fame that Yosemite does, there are some incredible trails in Oakhurst and Raymond.

If you want to see waterfalls, I suggest Corlieu Falls or Angel Falls. Both trails are moderate with great views of waterfalls and places to relax and soak in the water. Both trail heads have limited parking, so it’s best to go early in the day to get a good spot.

If you’re looking to mix it up, check out Pincushion Mountain. The trail is about five miles, and it can be steep and rocky so good boots are recommended. Along the way, you’ll see mountains, a river valley, and a wide-open sky. Just remember to take it slow and take some breaks along the way.

So, if you’re looking to get off the couch, try out one of these awesome California hiking trails. Be sure to bring plenty of water and check weather conditions before you go. And next time you’re planning a trek, check out for ThereGoesSaraRose.com more travel advice.