Sunday, July 23, 2017

Escalante State Park and Petrified Forest

   As our two-RV caravan continued west, the landscape became ever
 more dramatic....

The weather was hot but not insufferable.

I knew we were probably going to need electricity for air conditioning, but in my usual, 'something-will-turn-up' style, I did not make reservations in any RV parks.  We headed for Escalante State Park and Petrified Forest with the idea that something would be available. 

The ranger informed us that the park was full to overflowing but when he saw panic in my eyes he suggested we stay in the parking lot next to the lake.  We would have no electricity but, who cares?  Look at our view. And he apologized because we didn't have hook-ups.

Daisy thought it was pretty neat too.

Lady Daga was jumping for joy, and Gary thought I was genius.  (I love having a groupie--little does he know how many times sheer luck bales me out)

Off in the distance we could see the smoke from the fires that were plaguing Utah at the time. We were skirting the fires but we kept a wary eye on them.

This Wide Hollow Reservoir sits at the foot of a 6000' high trail that leads to a petrified forest.

Early the next morning Gary and I packed our cameras and a few bottles of water and started up the very steep trail.  Babe (my pig valve) was about to get a really good work out.

We opted to leave the dogs behind with windows open to the lovely breeze coming off the reservoir.

150 Million years ago, during the late Jurassic period there was a lush forest in this spot.  Trees towered over 65 feet high with an under growth of ferns and cycad-like plants.

 During the age of the dinosaurs some of the trees were turned to stone as groundwater percolated through the trees downed by volcanic actions.  

Silica and other minerals replaced organic matter and filled the spaces in the wood.

Ancient river systems flooded and overflowed their banks.  

Uprooted trees collected along the riverbanks.  Layers of silt, sand and mud from flood waters covered the trees.  

Buried in debris and cut off from oxygen, the trees did not decay.

Volcanoes erupted.  Silica and other minerals saturated the groundwater.

An interesting fact:

Petrified wood averages 150 pounds per cubic foot.  A cubic foot of the original wood weighed only 45 pounds in comparison.

It was time to head back.  Gary was very patient with me, giving me lots of time to rest as we climbed but 1/2 way through we decided we'd seen enough.  Besides, the trail was only getting steeper.

The only good thing about a forest fire is.... get amazing sunrises and sunsets.

(Everything in Italics is from the literature at the park)


  1. What wonders and what a legacy. I long to see these places but probably won't get to in this lifetime!

  2. If I remember correctly...we rested because we were LOST! Or maybe that was in the sixties. Can't remember.