Monday, October 28, 2013

Rocks, Rocks, and More Museums

Leaving the warm hospitality of Bette Story and the extended King family, we left Apache Junction and headed east on Arizona Highway 60. A desert that could have inspired the trees of Dr Seuss delighted us as we passed the area leading into the mining community of Globe, Arizona. A huge slag pile loomed over the highway, a remnant of the San Carlos mine that produced copper, silver, manganese and many other minerals over the years. The local volunteer at the Globe Chamber of Commerce informed us that her nephew worked at the mine until it became automated which reduced the workforce from 3200 to 320, and emptied the town of young people. She gave us each a hunk of peridot, a beautiful green rock only found there and in Sri Lanka. When we offered to pay the price posted she insisted on the gift: “I am a volunteer and I can do what I want…besides I donated it to the Chamber.”
We then drove north into the Apache Reservation. This took us through the Salt River Canyon, an area similar to the Grand Canyon in the richness of hues. The road snaked around in true scenic byway fashion, but this time with sturdy guard rails and lots of pullouts. Our route led us through Snowflake, AZ and we stopped at a petrified wood museum with an astounding number of rocks of every kind imaginable. This was in Holbrooke, a gateway town to the Petrified Forest National Park and sited on historic Route 66. Here, too we were gifted with rocks: this time, small pieces of petrified wood. 

Thanks to the women of the US Senate (so says Time Magazine) the park was open and we stopped at the Rainbow Forest Visitor Center, watched the video,  stared deep into agatized logs, and bought the park tour CD for the trip through the park. We took our time exploring the Park and the adjacent Painted Desert National Park, exclaiming anew at each designated viewpoint. Unfortunately our cameras simply could not do justice to the incredible colors. From both the visitor center video and the cd, we learned more about the Late Triassic Chinle Formation than anyone would ever want to know.

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