The Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest National Parks - 2009
07-09-09 - New Mexico and Arizona were different this year. The clouds of dust were absent and we didnít see the pronghorns moving through the sagebrush. But it was still beautiful, maybe more so without the dust. Rain was heavier this year, I assume, as several arroyos had moving water in them. I saw none of that last year. West of Albuquerque and into Arizona, red stone, massive walls of it are just north of I-40. Between the road and those resistant monochromatic stones are semi-arid grasslands, sage and cedar mostly. But those stones! Mesas, buttes, alluvial fans and plateaus sculpted by the constant work of water, however infrequent it comes. The Painted Dessert was magnificent and I timed my arrival just before sun down.
The next day we spent the afternoon at the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park and the scenic area south outside the park. For hours we could see rain clouds to the north east and the occasional lightening strike. The dark clouds found us in the late part of the day back in the parks. Rain clouds over such an arid region made for some dramatic views. Great day.