Afternoon at the Petrified Forest

U.S. national parks get overused and abused. One of the more abused is the Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook, Arizona USA.

Each national park has its own unique set of visitor challenges.

The Petrified Forest’s challenge is wholesale theft of petrified wood. Samples, especially large ones, command high prices on the black market. Theft is a chronic, ongoing problem.

Rules are exceptionally frustrating to wilderness landscape photographers.

You see, the Petrified Forest is locked up tighter than a drum during the best light of the day… sunrise and sunset… and it is heavily patrolled! No one is allowed to break the rules.

Yours truly tested that theory in mid-winter by innocently ( đŸ˜‰ đŸ˜‰ ) being alone way off at the end of a long trail at closing time.

Sunset photography would have been soooo nice!

But NO! When I sneaked around a corner back into view there he was… Mr. Park Ranger! He was walking up the deserted path to meet me. He looked like a pro football linebacker bee-lined onto a hapless quarterback.

His white pickup was parked uncomfortable close to my poor little CRV. Even from a distance I could see it quaking in its tires.

In the hours before getting unceremoniously kicked out, I managed a couple snapshots…

The Petrified Forest has a few petroglyphs, too. They are on three closely spaced panels at a place called Newspaper Rock.

There are huge open spaces, yet the glyphs are packed as tight as sardines.

Speculating on their meaning is a study in pre-Columbian psychosis.

In the end, though, rangers sweep the park and make sure that every single visitor is hustled out. No exceptions.

Even my normally effective charm offensive got nuthin’!!

The ranger followed me out, locked the gate and off I went on to the next lesser known, but more photographer friendly location.

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About azleader

Learning to see life more clearly... one image at a time!
This entry was posted in Arizona, Desert, Landscape, Outdoors, petrified wood, petroglyphs, Photography, photos, stories, travel. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Afternoon at the Petrified Forest

  1. greg says:

    Yah, bad behavior by some (theft) leads to this…..too bad. However, your pics are very nice.

  2. Angel says:

    wow stunning pics!!!

  3. azleader says:

    Thanks for your kind remarks.

  4. Freedom, by the way says:

    Gorgeous photos. While I understand the need to tamp down on theft, this is a national treasure that should be able to be photographed at all times of day to share with the world. Maybe they should open the park one day a month or quarter from sunrise until after sunset–even have advance sign-ups is they want to limit the number of people. With all the $ the government wastes on frivolous things, I think the taxpayers could pick up a few hours of overtime for the rangers.

    • azleader says:

      Thanks for your kind remark…
      It is a sad commentary on humanity that such things must be done, but if they don’t do it… the national treasure will be destroyed by crooks who wanna make easy money and then it couldn’t be shared with anyone.

      Your suggestion for special time sunrise/sunset special tours is a good one.

  5. Sartenada says:

    Terrific photos. When I was young school boy in the 50ties, I ordered a magazine called “Arizona Highways” and it introduced me to Petrified forest.

    Happy New Year 2014!

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