Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Arizona continued

Our second day at Dead Horse we went for a ride on a couple of live horse through the 400 acre park.  Bill, a 77 year old cowboy that has been riding horses most of his life was our trail guide.  He worked the Dead Horse ranch in his younger days when it was privately owned.  He was very entertaining sharing numerous stories of his years riding horses, driving wagons, ranching, and dealing with mules (he doesn’t much like mules).   The trail ride was especially exciting when crossing the fast running creeks and for a moment I thought me and my horse were going to end up floating downstream, but we made it safely to the other side.  Whew!

Petrified Forest National Park and Dead Horse Ranch State Park

We drove highway 40 West from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Sedona, Arizona stopping at the Petrified Forest National Park that is located just off HWY 40 about a 2 hours from Flagstaff, Arizona.  We drove the 28 mile road that runs through the entire park.  The main sights are the painted desert, the blue mesa, the jasper forest and the giant logs.  The painted desert is characterized by colorful bands of sedimentary rock called the Chinle Formation.  This formation was deposited between 227 and 205 million years ago by northwest flowing river system.  The petrified wood are colorful specimens of massive tree trunks strewn across the landscape.  The trees were knocked down by wind or water and carried downstream being buried by layers of sediment over 218 million years ago.  The logs soaked up groundwater and silica from volcanic ash and over time crystallized into quartz.   Truly breathtaking sights of beauty and wonder.

We settled in the Sedona area for a couple of days in a state park called Dead Horse, don’t like the name but the park is large with numerous hiking trails, horseback riding, three lakes and surrounded by mountains.  The park received its name because the original owners of the ranch asked their children which ranch they liked best when they were searching for property and they replied the one with the dead horse and so it was

named.  When the owners gifted the land to the state for a park they requested the name remain  — so there you have it — dead horse ranch state park.  Yesterday we hiked in Sedona at Red Rock Crossing along a clear river gently flowing along the trial to view the impressive red Cathedral Rock.