Saturday, October 6, 2007

October 5 to 6, 2007 - Grand Canyon, Arizona to Albuquerque, New Mexico & Albuquerque to Clinton, Oklahoma

The drive yesterday was complicated by our need to see the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. Our visit to those two national parks made the 400-mile drive seem much longer, but was worth the effort for two reasons. First, the Petrified forest looks as though some ancient prehistoric god who grew angry and restless decided to send algid sub zero hurricane force winds at that ancient forest thereby freezing the trees and crashing them to the ground to shatter in pieces instantaneously. Not satisfied with complete destruction, he/she made the wind cover the trees with sand and silica for millions of years, and changed the trees to stone. Today, they lay uncovered once again, entire massive tree trunks smashed across desert hills and valleys. I found several pieces that lay appropriately in a desert wash because the stone looked exactly as though the original wood of the trees had gotten wet repeatedly and suffered from dry rot before being turned to stone. Secondly, the bypass through the two parks was so worth the effort because the painted-desert itself is magnificent, much of it looking as though the same ancient god had crumbled the prehistoric hills upon which the stone forest had grown into gravel and sand mounds of various stripped colors. I wanted to walk into those fairyland hills, but was held back by signs that prohibit park visitors from doing so. Oh to sit on the desert floor surrounded by ice cream scoop-like mounds of multi flavored grains of pulverized stone. I ached to do so, but understand the necessity of preventing people by the thousands from marching into that place and destroying it.

Unfortunately, I also had my camera set for ISO 1600 after shooting a dark interior of one of Mary Jane Coulter’s buildings in the Grand Canyon. Thus many of my photographs of both petrified trees and desert are grainy. Moral of the story – always reset the camera for a standard shoot immediately after doing a variation setting. The only question at this point - will I always heed my own advice?

Today’s trip was day one of our reverse voyage home to Rehoboth Beach, and I took no photographs, not even of windmills, nether contemporary, old, nor tilted variety.

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