entrance to the petrified forest in calistogaIt was the first sunny day after the longest winter in Northern California and I wasn’t  about to waste it on the massive mound of laundry piling up on the bathroom floor. I had just gotten my new bucket list mobile, a Jeep Wrangler, and it was begging for a day trip on the country roads and who am I to argue? The itinerary included the Calistoga Petrified Forest and Old Faithful Geyser, since I had been severely taking these backyard attractions for granted. I had no travel companion, which is par for the course when you are a restaurateur and have the oddest schedule. But, that doesn’t matter, I do a lot alone. I’m not petrified.

petrified forest historyThe seriously abridged history lesson: Three Million years ago a volcano erupted, the ash and rain that followed buried and preserved the forest that was once there and the Petrified Forest was formed. These trees, some over 150 feet long, are the biggest fossils in the world. Class over.

Calistoga petrified forestpetrified treesMe, Myself and just I, arrived at the petrified forest and there was ample parking. I suppose not too many people want to look at old trees on a Thursday. The entrance took me straight into the store where you are able to purchase your petrified wood, meteorites, rocks, fossils and jewelry. I passed through, sneaking pictures and touching things I probably shouldn’t have.

The entrance fee was $10 for the twenty minute main walk. Besides myself, there were only two older couples on the trail who I gladly offered to snap commemorative photos of while they posed with these massive trees.

The easy, peaceful trail took me past the “pit” (the only pine tree found in the forest),

the pit tree at the petrified forest

The 60 foot “Giant”,
the giant tree at the petrified forest

& other memorable sights at the Calistoga petrified forest:

petrified forest in Calistoga

 The Queen Tree at the petrified forest

Manzanita tree at the petrified forest

Annette White at the petrified forest

I turned what would normally be a twenty minute stroll through the Petrified Forest into an hour of personal serenity, sitting at each bench and observing. Really, just taking the opportunity of being in a “no cell phone” zone. No servers calling in sick, sales reps wanting to set up tastings or cooks calling to say they ran out of fennel. The peace was worth the ten bucks.

Off to Old Faithful Geyser…

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