Though the park is called the Petrified Forest National Park, it’s the Painted Desert that was the true draw for me. The petrified logs (none of course standing) and most in pieces are still fascinating as they date back 225 Million Years, an almost impossible length of time to consider while you are touching an object. However, the sweeping colors of the desert landscape are what capture the eye, striking in bold colors that were unexpected: rich reds, haunting lavenders, mesmerizing grays in striped layers on the equally arresting rock shapes. The occasional petroglyph gave clues to another history, far more recent, yet equally difficult to fathom. The last of the Native American settlements disappeared from this particular region over 600 years ago. With epic distances surrounding you, the place sears itself into your imagination. Millions of years of various geological events have created what you see today, but it seems so unique it’s hard to believe that it wasn’t quickly painted by some spirit or sudden powerful natural event.