Navajo Lands

2016-09-18-11-28-19We packed out of Flagstaff early, gassed up and headed straight north to find the Navajo National Monument. Once again we were driving through a variety of landscapes: coniferous trees and small volcanic peaks; small scrub brush and cacti; dirt, dirt, and more dirt; dust and rocks; jutting rocks that sat singly in the center of flat lands; and canyons gaping at the edge of flat lands. This is Arizona!2016-09-18-13-00-34



2016-09-18-10-29-43We made a comfort stop at the Cameron Trading Post and I walked through the store while Randy got his mid-day coffee. Then we were on the road again through uninhabited (and hot and dry) lands to the Navajo National Monument, home to the ancestral Puebloans. Although we lost GPS a couple of times, we did find the site 2016-09-18-14-39-58at last. We checked in with the ranger and set out on a mile hike to the overlook where we could see the place where the Puebloans built their dwellings in the face of the cliffs around 1100. It was pretty impressive. I took a lot of pictures, but the sides of the cave were half shading the structures because the sun was starting to move to the West. Still, I’m so happy to have stood at the rim and seen this amazing place, even if half of it was in the shadows.

I stopped into a Navajo shop on the site and bought two small souvenirs: a tiny dream catcher laden with beads and fringe, and a small zippered clutch (about the size of my cell phone) made out of a piece of Navajo blanket – in the colors of black and teal.  We also purchased a couple of books on the Pueblo People and a map to make sure we found our way back to civilization! It really was a beautiful and holy spot and I’m so glad we made the effort to drive all the way out to it.

Another long drive through the Navajo lands to find Antelope Canyon. I’d seen many, many beautiful pictures of Antelope Canyon and I wanted to see it for myself. But, we couldn’t find it! We found the Antelope Marina on the Colorado river and Lake Powell made by the Glen Canyon Dam, but no Antelope Canyon like the pictures I had seen. So, we drove on.

When we arrived at Glen Canyon National Recreation Site, we asked the ranger how to find the Antelope Canyon that is so popular. She said, “Oh, you drove right past it. It’s just a parking lot ((Well, we did see a bunch of cars parked next to some porta-potties along the side of the road in the dirt!)) and you have to pay a guide to take you into the canyon.” Oh, I responded. How must would that be? Well, it costs $28 per person if you are willing to climb down a ladder leaning on the face of the canyon walls; and $48 per person if you want a guide to take you on the route where no climbing is involved. And, perhaps even more than that if you want to see more than one spot! Antelope Canyon – for those who are interested.

So, we opted to enjoy other’s pictures of that beautiful spot and kept moving forward. No backtracking allowed on this trip. Maybe that will be another adventure on another day.

2016-09-18-16-22-06At the town of Page, AZ, we stopped first at the Visitor Center for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. It’s built on the site of the Glen Canyon Dam that stops the Colorado River and creates Lake Powell. This is actually a spot where one can cross the Grand Canyon. Needless to say, it’s not quite so grand right at this point.

2016-09-18-17-54-24And, that’s where we are headed tomorrow. But, first, dinner tonight. As we drove down main street in town we saw two large BBQ barrels spewing smoke that smelled heavenly! So, we stopped and enjoyed some of the best BBQ pulled pork I’ve ever had! Delightful! Melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork, smoked to perfection. Add a little ice cream for desert and we were set to roll up for the night.