In an ongoing attempt to tick off as many national parks as possible, we’ve now been to the Petrified Forest. It’s basically a desert with a lot of stone logs in it. This doesn’t quite cover it though; the fossilized remains are so dense at points that you would believe that they have been placed there, but it’s actually natural. Although it was hot (about 36C I think), I seem to have acclimatised now; keeping the air con off in the car helps. This gives you the freedom to walk around at peace, except for the need to consume water and factor 50 sunblock in roughly equal quantities. Ironically, the two best sights, however, were not the fossils: first, newspaper rock which is covered in 1000 year old petroglyphs — there are literally 100’s of them; and, second, the sunset. The sky was deep red, with a cloud just above the horizon, light up with a bright halo.

Now, I am in the lobby of the El Tovar Hotel; 20 seconds walk outside the door is the south rim of the Grand Canyon. I don’t know what to say about this that is not obvious; it’s really big, very colourful and awe inspiring. Walking around it for a day will stay with me for quite a while.

Without wishing to be a party-pooper, I think that Waimea Canyon on Kauai is actually better; it’s 1/20th the size but it’s also very wet, teeming with life.

Originally published on my old blog site.