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The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, October 05, 1912, Image 2

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1912-10-05/ed-1/seq-2/

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ARIZONA'S WONDERFUL FORESTS OF STONE
Tour first impression of the petrified
forests of northern Arizona may. not
be very startling:, soys the Chicago
Inler-Ocea.n, for wlii>n you go out from
Adnnmna to see them the first view is
merely of chunks of petrified wood
scattered about the great spaces of an
atid desert, lined here and there with
the curious ridges and formations of
the spectral Bad lands.
But as you travel farther en amid the
vast acreage of the am-ient sapless
trees a veritable quarry of jewels is
opened up before you. The sun's rays
beat down and reveal the glowing , col
ors of the sjlicifled pines that now
present themselves to you in chunks of
agate, jaspar, jade, calcide, amethyst
and co on! Literally acres of jewels
lie at your feet. Tiffany for years dis
played wonderful specimens of them on
Fifth avenue. Paris eagerly sent men
to bring some of them back to her
gay city. Great fairs put some of the
polished slices of jeweled wood on dis
play.
Now, hewever, the government has
taken possession of the sparkling rain
bow colored forests and no individual
Is entitled to take away with him
more than eight pounds of the prehis
toric agatized trees.
And In what curious places some of
the trees are found! Here is one that
projects over the parapet of a mound
of the Bad, lands and bears the name
of "the cannon," here is another big
one that has a pedestal under the cen-
ter of it, bringing it the name of "the
balanced log," and still in another
place, remote from other trees, Iβ an
Immense petrified log which spans a
deep gulch and is known as "the
bridge." 80 afraid was the govern
ment that this unique bridge would
give way that pillars of support have
been built under it.
Some of the greatest students of na
ture have given much thought to these
stone trees, notably among them John
Muir. For some years he lived at
Adamana, and while there nearly every
day went out to visit one or more of
the petrified forests. Round about the
region of Adamana and Holbrook, a
little town on the Santa Fe line, there
are six of these forests. The nearest
forest to Adamana, some six miles dis
tant, has many unique sights of inter
est about It, but'you have to travel far
ther on.to get to the second forest,
where you find much larger specimens
of trees. * And some of the forests
have been called by various names,
such as the Blue forest, so called be
cause the chief color of the silieifled
trees is blue.
But to go back to Adamana. What
do you flnd there? Today there is a
long low built structure—a desert ho
tel—for the accommodation of visitors
to the forests. It is in charge of a
government forester, who knows thu
whole country well and in that desert
country will look after his guests with
thoughtful care. At Adamana there
THE SAN FRANCISCO CALL, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5. 1912.—THE JUNIOR CALL , .
cm/v/^js , or agatjct a,oq\s>
is little else beyond the simple hotel;
the corrals at its rear; an Indian curio
store and a railroad water tank. And
when you stay at Adamana you are
a long way from where a daily paper
is published. It is the simple life for
sure. Albuquerque, which has a daily
paper, is nearly 1,000 miles east of
you and to get to Los Angeles Is
26 hours' journey west.
.fHx: r/mfixz v&Tfurm& roiya%rr
But among the visitors at Adamana
you will probably find some learned
savant from Europe who bas come to
look over the stone forests; a laughing;
bride and groom, or just people'like
yourself who want to find out what a
wonderland your own country Is.
You are met at the train and a few
minutes' walk brings you to the Desert
hotel. Scattered about in front of it
fVZT'n.ir/Jzo <show//vo AT/tyyoA/pry-
you will find numberless specimens Of
petrified wood. You eagerly pick some
of ..them up and take them to ♦your
room. Later you will throw them
back where you found them, as you
will find better specimens out on the
forest grounds. A party is made up,
and a sandy haired young
tired of the range for the time being,
will drive you in a big canvas top rig
out to the forest. The road there is
rough, and the cowpuncher drives *
double team. Like his kind hu is a
man of but few words, and he may
have a curious cynical look in his eyes
when you first sfreak to him —you are
from the east (to him the worn out,
coddled, over civilized east) and he is a
born westerner. But jolly him up a
little, and he'll make a good guide
Wβ coming to now? A desert river?
Yes, and it is hn-ky f<>r you that there
hasn't bietn Bi> rout <1«., .<llj .l rst or tOT
rential rain, or you m.git have to
turn and take a MQch louk't round
about ilrlve to get t.o MM of the for
ests. Hut the water Ik shallow; th«
cowpuneher lli'ks his long whip; the
horaca take the miniature swirling
flood; the oowpun<l:er his oye
Wf',l to his task; there may be a bad
piece of qui. ksaiul. Hut in a f<\v min
utes you are safely aoroae, and once
more jogr along toward your destlna
"Thcre they* are, ,, at last drawls the
driver, pointing with his whip.
And a little ahead of you are chunks
of petrified wood, lying on the sandy
deeert. You want to jump out and
look at them, but the cowpuncher
knows his business and keeps driving
on. Gradually you see more and more
chunks of petrified wood, until even
tually the landscape blazes with them
—in colors of red, black, brown, blue,
white—here and there sparkling with
crystals. Now you can get out. And
you eagerly examine the various logs,
chunks, fragments, chips of sillcified
wood.
"Look at that chip pilel" you cry,
as you turn toward a slope of the
Bad lands. "Some one must have had
a real log out here lately and whittled
it to pieces." •
Tour guide grins. "Them chips are
thousands of years old," he drawls.
You pick them up. Yes, they are
stones! •
"Yonder." sa>s the guide, "is- the
eagle's nest." And there perched on
a queer formation of lava is a home
of the king of birds. And then you
clinjfo on a big mound that looks like
an immense ash tfile and gaze at "the
cannon." Then one after another you
visit the various curiosities of the for
est, lunching eventually under the
Petrified Tree bridge. Later, if there
is time that day, you drive on to the
second forest anji see much larger logs,
or you go to one of the mesas near by
and see the photographs of the pre
historic Indians on the giant rocks.
Primitive art, you say. But a feeling
of pathos comes over you as you look
at the sign language painted so long
ago in the desert country by ihe real
Americans—the Indians.
All kinds of theories have been put
forward to account for the petrified
forests; possibly the most reasonable
one is that the ancient trees were
flooded down to their present locations
'and silicifled by hot geysers. Micro
scopical investigation of the petrified
wood has given rise to the belief that
the trees were a species of the pine
that now grows in the southern Pa
< hie ocean. But even if you are not
interested in the scientific side of the
forests a visit to one or more of them
will be of unique interest, and will fill
your mind with pleasant recollections
of the trip. Whtere else in the world
can you find blaming fields of jewels?
Indeed, Arizona contains some of the
wondeiw ot the world.

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