Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Petrified Forest National Park, continued

The guidebook, for the Petrified Forest, says that the best part of the park is the Long Log Trail. The authors sure got that right! For our second day at the park we walked the Long Log, Agate House, and the Giant Log trails.

The Long Log and Agate House trails are connected so you can walk both at the same stop. The Agate house was constructed of petrified wood as a pueblo for hunting parties. It is actually a reconstruction, done by the park service. The reconstruction used beautiful pieces of fossil wood and modern materials and is hardly authentic. In fairness all the wood in this location is beautiful, but the cement detracts from the structure.

The trail to the house winds among beautiful and highly agatized logs filled with multicolored agates. It screams, "Take me home, you will never be caught!" That's why the park service has a display of the 325 dollar fine for taking a small piece of wood,(We resisted the urge and purchased a cut and polished piece from Jim Greys Rock Shop, the best rock shop I have ever been in).

The long Log trail is just that, with logs of up to 100 feet in length. Once again filled with beautiful agate. One area has pieces of agate covering the ground, like the Crystal Forest used to have before visitors stole all the small and not so small pieces. As we strolled along a high school group was working on the trail, causing me to shudder and remember why I retired.

We finished both trails, about three miles, and then went to the museum and the short Giant Log trail. The trail has a self guided tour and displays the largest log in the forest, about eight feet in diameter. Nice, but a little disappointing after the Long Log Trail. We left the Park and returned home tired but glad that we had spent two days at the park. Clear skies.

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