AfterMex 3, 4th September 2004

The Petrified Forest, my next call, was just amazing. Around 200 million years this was a flood plain. Logs were washed on to the plain, were covered in silt, mud and volcanic ash which slowed the decay of the logs. Silica laden groundwater seeped into the logs and replaced the original tissues with silica which then transformed into quartz. Different minerals
gave the quartz a variety of colours, and the result is, well, amazing. I bought some polished samples. I don't buy souvenirs but I bought some of these small pieces!

Actually that's exactly what I wrote when I came here last year. I'm cutting down on finger work. Only difference is this year I bought only one piece, bigger than last year, plus I bought another beautiful book. The first book was about Mayan Temples, this is one showing many of the multicoloured sections of petrified trees from around the world. Even at $75 I couldn't resist! I'll have to become more strong willed. I don't have the space to take it back, I'll have to ship it with my balloon.

These logs have been turned to stone.

But when polished they look something like this. Much better photos in my new book.........

I reached the campsite at Canyon de Chelly after dark,

but no problem there was lots of room. I took a slow start in the morning, then drove around the lookout points on the north rim then the south rim. I came here last year too, this year I did not take the hike down to the bottom of the canyon. But it's still a fascinating place to see.

I took another slow start the next morning and drove to the Navajo National Monument, passing some nice rocks on the way.

I got there in time to park for the night. Nice campsite, like Canyon de Chelly it's free, and little cat loves the chance to run around and climb trees. By the way, I won't bore you with them here, but I've now put 101 pictures of Little Cat on my web site. Hasn't he grown! I took an early picture of him sitting on a small shelf. (It's the first one on my web site) He doesn't go there any more and I just realised why. He's too big. Not to mention he now has a tummy where previously there was almost none!

I was a 15 minutes late for the morning tour to Betatakin, I hadn't realised it started at 8.30, but they waited for me. Had a pleasant walk down to the cave houses and back chatting with Jim Baker from Iowa City. Of course, the view was pretty good too.

The house are built under a rocky overhang so unless the sun is just right to take a photo then you find half the houses are in shade and half are in bright sunlight.

I've still got this tummy bug rumbling on so I rested up in the campsite for another night.

Best regards

David Barker

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