Petrified Forest and Painted Desert

Panoramic view of the painted desert.

Panoramic view of the painted desert.

Petrified Forest National Park - the first (but not even close to last) National Park of our trip.

Petrified Forest National Park - the first (but not even close to last) National Park of our trip.

Our first park, and we almost didn’t make it that day!

We left the house about 0530 EDT Thursday morning, and rolled into Arizona about 39 travel hours later.  So, 8:30 pm home time, 6:30 mountain time, right?  Our notes told us the Petrified Forest would be closed before we got there, but we figured we might as well stop by to make sure of the times for the next day and find out about getting our National Parks Pass (best $80 we spent, by the way).

We had two things in our favor: (1) our intel was wrong, apparently we had written down the times for specific stops in the park, and (2) our time was wrong.  Arizona is on Mountain Time, but parts of it don’t participate in daylight savings time.  They stay on Mountain Standard Time all year, which means it was only 5:30 pm.  And for this reason we refer to it as ACT, or Arizona Crazy Time.

Still not having benefit of a full night’s sleep (at least the adults), we headed out into the painted desert, with Kaitlyn clutching her Jr. Ranger book with awe.  We worked our way through the park and through the Junior Ranger book with her. 

The pictures below really tell most of the day.  What you don’t see is us racing against the real park closing; Kaitlyn bloodying both hands in the Petrified Forest; and Kaitlyn taking her first Jr. Ranger oath and getting a badge and patch from Ranger Foz.  Kaitlyn loved Ranger Foz in the few minutes we talked to him, and talked throughout dinner (Pizza Hut) and to find a hotel about going back to see him.  Every park she checked to see if Ranger Foz would be there.

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One response to “Petrified Forest and Painted Desert

  1. Beautiful pictures! I am enjoying reading about your trip!

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