We headed out in Land Rovers to see the petrified forest near Bahia Bustamante, in a remote area of Patagonia. We knew it would be interesting, but, in a fairly arid landscape, what could we see other than the old forest, now turned into rock? Then we arrived and started to look around.
You might be wondering – just what is petrified wood? It’s wood that has gone through the process of turning into stone. Long ago, there were volcanoes here in Patagonia, and the ash from an eruption buried the wood cutting off all oxygen so the wood did not decay in the usual way, but turned into mineral rock.
One of the first gems we found was a petrified piece of tree branch with something petrified inside (mineral or salt?) – which looked like little crystal beads.
Not far away someone found an armadillo’s tail, not a fossil.
Most Patagonian animals and bugs hide in plain sight – like the bug in the photo. Can you find it? We only saw it when it leaped like a grasshopper. (Hint: it’s just to the right of the center.)
Our group of 8 adults and 4 children – all guest at Bahia Bustamante – hiked up to the base of a tower.
Our guide, Nicolas, confirmed that birds safely nest at the top of the tower, and the evidence could be found at its base. He searched on the ground and within a few seconds showed us the bones of a tuco tuco (a small rodent), regurgitated by the raptors that nest at the top of the tower. What a find!
Nicolas spotted a little lizard which stopped long enough for a photo.
Here’s a closeup to admire the lizard’s skin coloration and to show how easily it blends into the rocky setting.
Seeing a petrified forest was a rare sighting for us. The treasure trove of everything else we saw – and were able to photograph – was totally unexpected.