After leaving the Grand Canyon, I drove east on Interstate 10 to visit the Petrified Forest National Park. In order to appreciate this place, you must exit the Interstate, get out of your vehicle, and take the short walks that are available. From Interstate 10 on the north side of the park there is a road that will take you a short ways into the Painted Desert, then it turns south to take you through the Petrified Forest. It comes out on U.S. 180 east of Holbrook, where you can easily pick up the Interstate again. It may take you a couple of hours to drive through the park, but it is well worth the slight detour.
The colors in some of the pieces are incredible. It looks like someone came along with a chain saw, a very large one in some cases, and cut up the “trees” into small pieces.... then they went and tossed those pieces and scattered them around the desert floor. Of course, the Rangers deny any such thing.
Actually, the Petrified Forest, as we see it now, is but a shadow of its former self. Before it became protected as a National Park, people came and took away quite a bit of the petrified wood. Even now, with a warning of a fine of several hundred dollars, people still walk off with bits and pieces. I can understand the attraction. It is beautiful stuff and the colors are startling, but I resisted the temptation and went away empty handed, except for the photographs I took.