Not a National Park or National Monument, (on private land), but still worthy of a visit.
This site has piqued my interest for several decades. It's like; how often would you get to see something that was the basis for several 'end of the world' type movies?
This crater is almost a mile across and 300 ft deep. The example they used to help you visualize the size was; the floor would hold 20 football fields, and 20 million people could sit on the sides and watch those games at the same time. It's pretty big.
It's also the best preserved METEOR crater on earth. We found out there is a difference between meteor craters and collapsed volcanoes that leave a crater behind. NASA has used this location to train astronauts for lunar missions, hence the example of the lunar module.
|Look up "Out in the middle of nowhere" in the dictionary. This is what you'll see|
|How often do you see a 'Warning Sign" and then actually see the item in question???|
|Big Hole. Out in the middle of nowhere. Literally.|
|Just an idea of the size. That platform with the rail is probably 30 ft from the rail to the shelter|
|The very old man and the crater|
Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park
Up to this time, probably the most beautiful and interesting place we have visited so far. Red Rock State park was at the top of that list, but Painted Desert took over the top spot. This park is huge. It's divided into two locations under one umbrella. You actually have to cross I-40 (Route 66) to get from one park to the other. The driving trail is over 29 miles long. Not counting scenic turn outs.
The first half of the park is Painted Desert. The views and the vistas were spectacular every step of the way. I must have over a hundred pictures of Painted Desert alone. Unfortunately, this was one of the very few days we had rain, and some of the color looks washed out in the pictures.
One of the scenic turn outs shows evidence of past civilizations as left in rock carvings and such. That was very cool.
As you pass over I-40, there is a marker denoting the original Route 66. I've included a couple of photos here, but will do a separate blog on the "Route 66" journey, including Holbrook, Winslow and Williams.
|Cool bench the rest your ass|
|My next project. Studebaker|
|They ripped out Route 66, but left the 'pole line'.|
After crossing I-40, we were in the Petrified Forest half of the park. Just as interesting as the Painted Desert, but for different reasons.
If you don't know, the National Park is only a small portion of the earth where they 'preserved' history and left the land as found hundreds of years ago. It stands to reason that the original inhabitants of this area, as well as early travelers through here would only imagine this area as too rocky to survive here. Once we realized that there 'rocks' were actually 215 million year old trees did we finally create this park for future generations. There are many, many places where you can buy petrified wood. Rest assured that this did not come from the National Park, but rather the rest on the several hundreds of thousands of acres out here owned by private citizens.
It was amazing to drive through this park and try and imagine ourselves as the original settlers crossing this country. (Something we have been doing the whole trip, by the way).
These Parks are truly part of 'America, the Beautiful'.
|Proof that the aliens DID come here before us. Just sayin'|
The next post will be about our "Route 66" experience, Holbrook, Winslow and Williams AZ.