Thursday, October 29, 2015

PETFO: Back to work at the park.

  Last big breakfast with the group at the Junction/Best Western then headed South past Hubbell back to Petrified Forest.  It had been a wonderful trip to show friends the area.  Six days left.

  Navajo diner at the Junction.  It's a very popular place.  We saw guides picking up folks at the Thunderbird and here.  Miss those stray dogs staring at the entrance waiting for a sympathetic tourist with leftovers.  And the horses munching on Best Western grass.

  One exit before the park I wanted to try and see the Painted Desert Trading Post.  It's off the Pinta road I40 exit just East of the park.  I had a recent 4th edition of a Route 66 Guide that said it was accessible.  The exit was loaded with Road Runners- parents and juveniles.  I bet there aren't many lizards left...

  The new parklands aquisition covers a lot of this area North and South of the highway.  We hit a locked gate.  Could have hiked about a mile over the fence and down the old 66 roadbed, but we passed.  There's the old trading post, concrete bridge, a wash with wrecked cars...interesting stuff.  None of my keys would open the park service lock, (one of six on a chain.).  I looked around for hidden keys, (common in Texas.), or work-arounds but there weren't any.  Katie and I drove a ranch track that came closer but decided to go on.  The park runs a tour out here.  May catch that.

  At the casita the dominant male mouse had come looking to see where everyone had gone.  He found out.  One more for the Ravens.

  Mid-morning walk along the rim between Kachina Point at the Painted Desert Inn and Chinde Point.  Looking.  Poked around with binocs and iphone.  Last week I went in to photograph inside the guest and staff rooms at the Inn and explored every room.  

I walked the rim looking at volcanic tube graphics, checking tracks, watching hikers and Ravens.  I hadn't worked much but all of a sudden was confident that I was about to get my feet set and see something new.

Kachina Point trail switchbacking down to desert level.  Tempting.

Far across the wash, in the white layer up high, is a complete log.  Two miles one way.  I could see the log with my binoculars.

Later I found Mountain Lion tracks below this point.  

  Old desert trash scattered along the rim.  Just my kind of thing, if I could make them move.  Probably the main trash dump from the old Inn is somewhere close.

Very close.

Down to Blue Mesa for another look.  One of the buttes looked interesting.  At the base was an Anasazi flint mine where the small petrified wood stumps had been absolutely demolished looking for perfect flint blanks.  They couldn't handle the big pieces but the little ones could be broken down.  Lithic scatter.  Gorgeous pieces around.  They must have had very high standards.  The petrified wood yields extraordinary colors and quality, but you just get a little out of a lot.

  I'd been looking for a formation that would throw a long morning or evening shadow but the best ones I found were un-climbable.  Okeefe's phrase about "the faraway, nearby" kept popping in my head though I didn't know what it meant beyond the obvious.  There are a heck of a lot of things faraway....and also nearby.  Just have to get them to resonate with one another.

Close, but not quite.  Still letting the difference in art and scenery marinate.

  Going to shoot this jewel, if it exists tomorrow and hasn't evolved too far.  Don't want to work too much too close in a landscape where you can easily get multiples of square miles on the ground glass.  Right under the edge of the wash bridge.  A coyote may walk across it tonight.  Might help.  Noticing what I am noticing, if that makes sense.

  Planning on walking out to Martha's Butte to see petroglyphs and a solstice spiral.  I'd looked at it on Google maps, had them printed & taped to a board, talked to the rangers and got some additional cues.  Drove down in the late day and looked over the approach.  In the wash there was still standing water here and there.  Tracks said the animals were zeroing in on it.  Someone had been fingertipping the mud.  The wash leading to Martha's Butte was full of people prints coming and going.

  Coming and going.  What country for it.

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