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3 Flags - Day 13

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Start Location: Holbrook, AZ
Ending Location: Kanab, UT
Miles Today: 380
Trip Miles: 3683
States Visited: 7
National Parks/Monuments: 9
Low Temp: 60 degrees
High Temp: 84 degrees
Min Elevation: 3869'
Max Elevation: 7156'

Route Map:

We started the day by backtracking a little bit to get to Petrified Forest National Park. We stopped at the Visitor Center to get a feel for the area and determine what we wanted to see. The park basically has two major areas -- the painted desert and the petrified forest. Our first stop was the Painted Desert National Historic Landmark. This is exactly what the houses in Las Cruces looked like that I was trying to describe. We were intrigued with the logs protruding out in several places. Most unusual.

We had no idea what to expect in the Painted Desert and were pleasantly surprised. The colors were varied and striking. This picure, taken in an area called The Tepees, shows the layers of colors created by different minerals. The Blue Mesa area was so named for the layers of blue. The pictures don't do the area justice as the true colors are distorted because of the angle of the sun.

Puerco Pueblo has a partially recreated village of the inhabitants around 1250. I think it would have been more interesting to us if we hadn't been to Mesa Verde. There were lots of views of petroglyphs. A sign said that no one is really sure what they are trying to say, but we are certain that this one is telling a story about the stork delivering a baby. What else could it be?

Most of the pertified wood is in the southern area of the park. This sign explains how the Agate Bridge was formed. The color in some of the wood is incredible. The wood is said to have "turned to stone" and that is exactly what it looks and feels like.

By the time we finished touring the park, it was noon. The early afternoon scenary was not very interesting. However, we could tell when we were getting close to Utah as the sights were breathtaking. No matter how much time we spent here, the views never get old. We passed through Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument area and it was a real study in geology. Once again, we were sprinkled on several times this afternoon, but never enough to need rain gear. At one point, the temperature dropped 9 degrees in about 5-6 minutes. The skies were extremely threatening, but we dodged the bullet.