Day 4: White Sands National Monument, New Mexico - Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
Leaving White Sands, it wasn't long before we started seeing many strange things in New Mexico. These included the world's largest pistachio and a cool car, pictured below. At the pistachio farm, we tried all kinds of different pistachio flavors and ended up leaving with bags of garlic and ranch flavors. They also had wine tasting, but unfortunately, it was some of the most disgusting wine I've ever drank. Maybe New Mexico should stick to pistachios and deserts.
I had also never seen a pistachio on a tree before!
We didn't have much for lunch, so we stopped at Subway to pick up a sandwich to split and ended up eating it in the car as we continued the drive. A little while later though, we found an awesome mountain/creek overlook in New Mexico that we realized would have made the perfect lunch spot. Decided, no more eating lunch in the car.
Once we got to Petrified Forest National Park, we stopped by the visitors center and picked up a backcountry camping permit. You can camp anywhere, as long as you are a mile away from the parking spot/road, so we packed our bags and began hiking. This area of land is also called The Painted Desert, because, well, it looks like this:
Initially at the beginning of our hike, there was a few pieces of petrified wood, but a lot of what used to be there had been plundered. The farther we got from the road though, the better it got. We found entire fields of both little pieces as well as whole trees. It was a pretty amazing sight.
Before we got hiking too far, we found this little guy:
We hiked across a wash, hiked around a bit with no particular destination except for distant peaks that looked cool, and eventually set up the tent in a nice low lying area protected from wind. Once we got that set up, we did some more exploring until the sun set. Melissa even got out the kite she brought, which made for a lot of fun, although she was much better at flying it than I was (I think she broke it and then gave it to me).
After the sun set, I attempted some night photography, however, the moon was so incredibly bright (it was a full moon) that it was practically daylight. It was pretty awesome sleeping amongst the petrified wood under the stars, miles away from anything.
This picture below shows our camping spot. Yes, that is moon-flare, not sun-flare.
To see more roadtrip pictures, visit the National Parks Galleries!