Machala: The Petrified Forest Puyango



October 21, 2013

We New Yorkers are not timid.  We confront.  We question. 

 So, long, long, long ago when my Fifth Grade primary school class traveled from the Bronx to Manhattan to the Museum of Natural History and stood before the skeletal recreation of Tyrannosaurus Rex, it should come as no surprise to anyone when I challenged the tour guide, “Doesn’t this display contradict what we read in The Bible?”  (Imagine the chutzpah of that ten year old boy!)   The docent gave some inane response and we proceeded on to the diorama of Neanderthal Man.

For some reason, I recalled that museum incident during my stroll through El Bosque Petrificado Puyango (Petrified Forest) in the south of Ecuador.  Once again we are confronted with a remarkable natural process: How in the world is organic material transformed into inorganic material – tree trunks to solid rock!  And how does a fossil of an ancient sea creature end up a mile high in the mountains?

Geologists, biologists and paleontologist provide some answers of course.   But on this perfect day in the Cordillera de Camas with my new friend Di and her teenage daughter Bianca, I passively take the tour, admire the scenery, breathe some fresh air, and thank G-d for His grand creation and for my good fortune.

Here’s a preview of my next encounter, not in the mountains but in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.   My question, “Why does the Blue-footed Booby have blue feet?”

PS During my drive to Machala, I took a stroll, a hike really, up a steep hill to visit the El Chorro waterfall (60m) in Girón, just outside Cuenca.   I was completely alone so I couldn’t ask anyone any questions.   I only needed to avoid the mud and the spray!

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