Sunday, November 23, 2008

Turned to stone: Petrified Forest National Park

At long last, I have finally handed in my update for the new Bradt travel guidebook to Tanzania and am taking a well-deserved weekend off! So before I get back to work again, I thought I'd share some more pictures and notes from my recent Southwest USA Road Trip.

Southeast of the Grand Canyon between Holbrook and Navajo in Arizona is the bizarre, yet hauntingly beautiful, Petrified Forest National Park. Just don't expect to see any lush green trees in this forest. A wonderland of spectacular desolation, it is home to the world's largest and most colourful concentrations of petrified wood. The park's appeal is heightened by the sprawling badlands of the Painted Desert, which changes hue as the sun moves across the sky. Watching the variegated lunar landscape, transform in a kaleidoscope of psychedelic pinks, reds and oranges as the sun sets really is an extraordinary sight.
All images copyright Kim Wildman

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Like sands through the hour glass

I'm now back home in Australia, busily writing day and night racing to meet my deadline for the Tanzania guidebook update – 15 days and counting! I promise I'll emerge from my self-induced writing exile soon and start paying more attention to my blog (not to mention my friends and family whom I'm currently ignoring – sorry everyone!). In the meantime, though, I thought I'd share some more of my photographs and musings from my road trip across Southwest USA starting with White Sands National Monument. Enjoy!

In stark contrast to the ragged, red rocks and dull, dusty deserts, the gleaming snow-white dunes of White Sands National Monument rise like a mirage from the plains of southeast New Mexico. No, it's not a mirage. But you'll still need to wipe your eyes, as what on first look appears to be giant glistening mountains of snow, is in fact the world's largest gypsum dune field. Blanketing 275 square miles of desert, these great undulating dunes of gypsum continually change and advance engulfing everything in their path. Yet while the plants and animals have had to adapt and evolve in unique and unusual ways to survive, the lusciously luminous dunes provide us humans with the perfect playground. Just looking at the towering dunes makes you want to grab a toboggan. In fact it's encouraged. What could be better? It's all the fun of the snow without the cold and ice!
All images copyright Kim Wildman