Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Walking Squares 11.30.22

Just some photos I took while out walking. Anything with drops always gets my attention, even though drops aren’t as rare in Illinois as in Arizona.

I like the shape of these berries and the contrast between the dried leaf on the left and the berries.

Milkweed. What’s not to like? They contrast prickly and soft as well as attracting monarch butterflies. But they do reproduce rather quickly so if you have some, you’ll have to keep pulling up the new ones.

Walking Squares 11.29.22

I’m happy Becky’s back doing squares! I’ve missed that challenge. I have two photos as squares for todays’s walk but the other refused to go into a square without losing its fuzziness. Who was I to quibble?

Squares first.

Walking squares 11.25.22

One Word Sunday: face

Cellpic Sunday 11.20.22

One Word Sunday: Orange

Cellpic Sunday 10.23.22

Six-Word Saturday 10.22.22

Jasper Forest, originally called First Forest as it was the first part of the park accessed from Adamana, a town the railroad tracks passed through, has a high concentration of wood. To prevent full-scale looting, the road that once ran here was closed, but you can now take a nice long walk among hundreds of piece of petrified wood, some full-length although in sections. Remember that I told you they fall apart in piece due to their weight? And as I’m sure you now know, the Jasper Forest isn’t made of jasper but of…what else? Petrified wood, which is actually a fossil.

The variety of minerals make beautiful colors. There are so many beauties here that I found I finally had to stop taking photos. Each one looked as good or better than the last, finally causing a feeling of burnout. I did continue to marvel at them, though.

Everywhere you look you see more petrified wood and who knows how much lie still covered?

Friday will be our last day in Petrified Forest. Not much walking but some lovely pieces of petrified wood. Still having fun?

Independence Rock in Wyoming along what might be considered the Route 66 of the day, the Oregon Trail, is a giant, mounded rock filled with names of those passing by in their covered wagons. Newspaper Rock might be considered the petroglyph version of Independence Rock. Thankfully for the preservation of the markings, the rocks are down below the lookout area and in a place where it would be difficult to go. It was far enough down that I went back to the van for my telephoto so I could get some decent photos.

Petroglyphs last longer than rock art paintings because there’s nothing to wear off. While there isn’t a story as such, there are spiritual meanings, family meanings, as well as calendar events, as interpreted by modern American Indian groups.

The archeological site known as Newspaper Rock is neither a newspaper nor a single rock. The site boasts over 650 petroglyphs covering a group of rockfaces within a small area. High concentrations of petroglyphs like this mark a place as hugely significant. Many generations of people saw these markings and contributed their own. The petroglyphs were created by ancestral Puebloan people living, farming, and hunting along the Puerco River between 650 and 2,000 years ago. Some of the ancient artists may have lived at Puerco Pueblo, located less than one mile north of this site. ~The NPS website

Next up on our route is one of the most historically popular attractions, Agate Bridge, which of course isn’t actually agate but petrified wood, now supported now by a concrete beam. It’s about 100′ in length, 4′ in diameter, and goes across about 40′ of the chasm. In the early days of the park, many people had their photos taken on the log and the railroad finally paid to have the first supports put in so that the log wouldn’t collapse.

Finally there were some bits of bright yellow to offset the cloudy day. This first plant is the perfect example of plants being able to grow almost anywhere, even when it seems there’s nothing to serve as a growing medium.

Tomorrow we’ll be wandering around Jasper Forest so bring sturdy shoes even though there won’t be the steep slopes there were earlier in the trip at Blue Mesa. And be ready to see a lot of Petrified Wood!

We’ve seen lots of interesting and beautiful sights so far but this is the Petrified Forest, so let’s get to the wood. Blue Mesa’s trail is only about a mile but it’s definitely not a horizontal one. Don’t get too close to the edge and yes, we are going down there. But look. Right in front of you is a petrified log.

Here’s another view from this point before we head down.

The way a tree becomes petrified is that the tree dies, then loses its branches and bark. It falls into the water where sediment begins to cover it. By this rapid burial, the bacteria and oxygen are sealed away so it doesn’t decay but groundwater full of minerals deposits those minerals as it works through the log. The log weathers out of the surrounding rocks where further erosion snaps the brittle fossil into sections. As you can see below, it often appears that some manic creature tossed logs everywhere. Look that big one perched atop the peak in front of you.

Looking a bit closer.

Just as there are Badlands in South Dakota, these are examples of badlands with their striations and color variations, variations due to minerals deposits. The blueish color that gives this area its name comes from bentonite clay.

Here are some colorful examples of petrified wood. No one broke or cut these but they’re both heavy and brittle so snapping is easy. Petrified wood is composed mainly of quartz. But, you may say, quartz is colorless. True, but trace amounts of other elements such as iron mean you’ll see a variety of colors. Manganese, copper, chromium, a/o combinations of them are present in the wood.

Petrified wood is found all over the world but the largest concentration is here in the park. You can buy petrified wood at various places around the park but all of it comes from private land. The petrified wood in the park is protected.

Have a drink of water, take another look around at where you’ve been, then into the van and off to our next stop. Sorry, no cake available but you can rejoice in the calories you burned off and didn’t replace. 🙂

for Jo’s Monday Walk 10.17.22

Six-Word Saturday 10.15.22