Our next move was eastward into Arizona, north to Page and on to the huge Navajo Reservation that takes in parts of northern Arizona, southern Utah, Colorado and an New Mexico. Our first stop that day was at the Navajo National Monument, where we walked a trail to look at Betatakin, the first of many Pueblo ruins we were to see on this long trip. In many senses, the name of this place is a misnomer, since the structures were created by a people now generally known as the Anasazi. One translation of this term, a Navajo word, is 'those that were here before us', another translation is 'ancient enemy.' Like many terms in this area, it has come into general use, and is hard to depose, since many sites are said to be 'Anasazi' sites. The reality is that the Navajo came into this area much after the original Pueblo peoples were there and raided them, and were one of the factors generally cited for the decline of the northern mesa cultures. The other main factor seems to have been drought and depletion of resources, like trees. Some of these people went south and east it seems to the more better watered Rio Grande, while others went west to the lands of the Hopi on the mesas of northern Arizona.
|Candace adopts animals everywhere we go. This is Rez, one of the cats at the campground in Monument Valley. He is shown here skillfully blending in with one corner of our car. He liked our canned salmon a lot. There were quite a few dogs as well, a sure sign of Indian Country.|
We camped out that night (10/13) at Monument Valley, Getting up during the night at Monument Valley was an event in itself. Never had we seen such a display of stars, each one so clear and luminous and bright, each point in the dense Milky Way seemed like a part of a pointalistic display. Such clarity, such light! I forget who said it, Edumnd Wilson, I think, but it seemed we were in the real Arizona how, geology by day, astronomy by night.
The next morning, (10/14) we drove through the Valley, astonished again at the prospects and views and the towering cliffs and bluffs.
Near the entrance to Monument Valley, Navajo merchants and artisans have set up shacks made of plywood and OSB, where they sold jewelry, pottery and rugs. We talked with one silversmith, whose work we liked and bought a few items from him. Then, we had lunch at a little stand near the entrance to the valley: Navajo tacos and roast mutton.Proceed to Part 4: Hovenweep and Mesa Verde