One Sunday Morning not too long ago, Erin and I looked at a map of the area around Rapid City where we’re living and picked almost at random an interesting destination. We chose the Petrified Forest, which turned out to not be a federal, state or city park but a little private place allowing guests to see ancient petrified trees.
Since we’re on the subject, I recently learned the subtle difference between petrified and fossilized wood. Fossilized wood maintains more fine details than petrified wood, to the point that the age of the tree (when it died) can be determined by counting the rings on a fossilized tree. Petrified wood on the other hand, although often beautiful and still recognizable as wood doesn’t maintain as many fine details as fossilized wood. The forest we saw was definitely a petrified forest rather than a fossilized one. Still, redwood trees could be identified as such and pieces of individual tree lay next to each other, outlining impressive tree trunks.
The living forest than surrounded the petrified one was just as nice as any fossil, a small but quaint patch of forest in which we enjoyed solitude and watched Northern Flickers searching for food with their beaks, tap tap tap. Woodpeckers like Northern Flickers have increased in numbers in the Black Hills in recent years, possibly due to the Pine Beetle epidemic.