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The Petrified Forest.
The soft rock here has preserved an old forest, allowed minerals to leech into the wood and ossify, and then permitted the elements to uncover the petrified wood. There are so many petrified trees here, that this place has ben named the Petrified Forest. 

The base rock here is very soft, and easily eroded, though harder rocks are mixed within along with petrified trees, fossils, and who can say what else.

A look across the haze covered lower plains.

Our first view of one of the stands of the petrified Forest.

A few odd scattered pieces of petrified wood seemed exciting enough at first, but far more was in store.

A few scattered pieces of petrified wood are scattered randomly on this side of the hill.

A view towards the top/ Shelters, a picnic area, and some park exhibits sit atop this hill, along with a marvelous view of the surrounding field of petrified wood.

Looking back towards the road, we see a jumble of petrified stumps as well as the ever present smoky haze, which has been our companion for the day.

A further scattering of petrified wood sits across a low ridge. The outcrops are not uniformly distributed, but seem to gather in clumps or lines across the desert.

A stone worker's wood lot. All of the pieces remain exactly where they were first discovered. The Park Service does not move the specimens.

Reading the park service material before going out to walk the trails. All national parks are set up for preservation as well as for recreation. Signs warn against collecting specimens, and against wandering off the trails.

No one seems to be looking, and the sign is just to keep people from taking too much; no one really enforces these rules strictly. I wonder if I could get this into the back of the car? It would make a great table top.

A couple of kids looking over a stump of petrified wood. This piece probably weights more than the car they arrived in.

An older couple seems to have no problem keeping up their pace on the hiking path through the forest.

A huge eroded formation rears up ahead of us. the road goes around, rather than through. At it's base is a litter of petrified wood.

Close up of a petrified stump. The ring, and bark structure, as well as the fiber structure of the original wood remain, but all organic materials have been replaced by silicates. This photo does not do justice to the colors; they are amazing.

More petrified wood than you can shake a petrified stick at.

A path takes tourists and hikers into the "forest".

This section of the Petrified Forest extends out into the distance. There are many tons of petrified wood here. Tourists have carted many tons off, over the years, but collecting is strictly prohibited.

Taking a walk down the tree lined path.

A look back past part of the Petrified Forest, and past the cars and campers which have stopped. A huge mountain of soft mudstone looms over it all.

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