I believe in storms. Storms come and we either pass through them or the storms pass on. The storms will continue to come, but sometimes we can seek things beyond the storms, too.
September has become my favorite time to visit the Painted Desert/Petrified Forest. It began when I went there one year for my birthday since it was a place I'd always wanted to visit. Turns out that September tends to be the best time to go, too. This year I went just a little early, at the very end of August. The difference? A tad fewer wildflowers and I drove through a storm to get there and through a storm to get back home--though the destination itself was free of the storm, save for a few raindrops towards the end of the day.
The clouds were great, though. Cloud coverage (and probably moisture, too) make the colors in certain sections much more vivid. The Blue Mesa Loop Trail, for instance, takes on an otherworldly look on a cloudy day but appears slightly more common on a sunny day.
I have taken to adventuring on my own these days. The long drives give me time for self-refection and contemplation, which I have a lot of to do lately. And I'm the type of person that can enjoy something just as well by myself as with others. I won't go out hiking by myself, but excursions and adventures I can do.
The Blue Mesa trail I mentioned is probably my favorite part of the Painted Desert. It's a one mile loop trail, perfect for a solo traveler. I happened to literally be the only person on the trail that afternoon, so I could walk around and smile to myself and enjoy it all just for me. Just me, the purple and white mesas, the petrified wood, a few flowers, the clouds, and lots of wind (that naughty wind tried to knock me over on the narrow downhill section, but I held my own). Nothing more peaceful and nothing better for a time of self-reflection and self-discovery.
I have so many pictures already of the park but I had to take a hundred more because it literally never looks the same way twice. The colors are always changing. Maybe that's part of why I love the Painted Desert; it is ever-shifting and yet always recognizably itself. It can transport you to a thousand places all in a single glance . . . and then you can come back later and discover a thousand new places in that same old glance.