Kayenta, AZ: Monument Valley

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Somebody painted this desert!

Funny thing: We—my co-pilot Jan and I—were looking at just abut everything, from dirt to rocks to mesas, being deep red when we realized we had been transiting the Painted Desert!

Monumental.

Monument Valley is loaded with rock formations reminiscent of Devil’s tower, albeit most of them not as big.

You’ve seen this place many times in photos but, being there is a horse of a different color!

Highly recommended, if you have the inclination to explore this part of the country.

I found it!

I even located the monument I used on my business card:

Created by erosion from ancient waters and winds, these worn rocks are the only thing left of what were once great mountains—or even mountain ranges.

Mexican Hat, UT

Yup, there’s a town called Mexican Hat—as it is common practice to name places after what is nearby. Not exactly your big city bustling with people and industry, there are some pretty landscapes nearby—and a small hotel—should you be drawn to El Sombrero Mexicano!

Indians!

The Navajo Nation has had a history of pain—inflicted by us—but, they have managed to keep their culture and language (Diné bizaad) alive and thriving despite all attempts to destroy them.

“The hogan (hooghan, literally, “place home”) was the basic Navajo dwelling. Piñon or ponderosa pine logs serve as the larger timbers for the framework, with juniper often taking a minor role in the construction.”—navajopeople.org

Not a proud American moment.

In the mid-1800’s, the U.S. government decided to wipe them out—hiring Kit Carson to hunt them all down and kill them. Many were killed but, the Navajo survived because they were, in many ways, smarter than their oppressors!

The Long Walk

Those that were rounded up were forced to relocate—in a manner similar to the Trail of Tears some thirty years earlier, with a horrid journey of some 300 miles designed to relocate them. The “Long Walk” of the Navajo was, like the Trail of Tears, a disaster as the government failed to provide provisions necessary for the 9,000 victims.

Thousands died from starvation or by freezing to death—on the trip and once they arrived at Bosque Redondo.

Eventually, the U.S. government decided to stop this genocide and instead, started to provide the tribe with supplies, mostly flour, from trading posts like the oldest and longest continuously operated post, Hubbell’s, near Ganado, Arizona.

Canyon de Chelly

Near Chinle, Arizona, is the Canyon de Chelly. It’s no Grand Canyon but, it’s a sight to see and home to thousands of wall paintings (pictographs) and numerous ruins.

We also tried to see the Petrified Forest heading back to Phoenix but, it was closed (really? how can you close a forest!?).

Happy trails my friends!

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