I returned to Petrified Forest National Park for a second day on Tuesday, May 15. Leaving Holbrook, where I’d spent the night, I passed the sign: Holbrook: Home of the Hashknife Pony Express. Hashknife Pony Express riders have used relays of horses to deliver mail from Holbrook to Scottsdale since 1958, reenacting the Pony Express riders of years past, according to the Navajo-Hopi Observer. The name Hashknife was the name given to a cattle ranch of Aztec Land and Cattle Company. Located around Holbrook and Winslow, it had “60,000 head of cattle and an uncivilized reputation.”
I drove past Northland Pioneer College and the Little Colorado River while Kid Rock sang “All Summer Long” from my playlist. It was not quite summer yet, so the temperature was perfect to be in a desert landscape: 74F degrees and breezy.
The Crystal Forest Trail at Petrified Forest National Park is only a 0.75 mile (1.2km) loop through a badlands landscape with a scatter of petrified wood. By the time I’d finished walking the loop, I’d done nearly a mile, with all my detours and side explorations.
Though it looks like the wood is neatly cut by a wood-chopper, it was actually broken by layers of dirt stacked to make hills. The weight of the dirt crushed the logs, breaking the petrified wood neatly. Silica naturally breaks at a clean angle, much like a dropped piece of chalk.
A variety of minerals created the rainbow effect in many pieces of petrified wood.
Since people were looting the petrified wood to use or sell in the late 1800s, the landscape was being threatened. In 1895, the Arizona Territorial legislature petitioned Congress to protect this valuable scientific and cultural treasure. In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt signed legislation creating Petrified Forest National Monument. The monument became a national park in 1962.
*Tuesday, May 15, 2018*
On Sundays, I post about hikes or walks that I have taken in my travels; I may also post on other unrelated subjects. I will use these posts to participate in Jo’s Monday Walks or any other challenges that catch my fancy.
This post is in response to Jo’s ‘Not a Monday Walk’.