Monday, September 30, 2013

Navajo Nation

Today Caroline and I traveled across the Navajo Nation, from Page in the north of Arizona, south to Flagstaff. The trip took us directly past the Grand Canyon, so we were obliged to take some spectacular pictures.

Grand Canyon from the eastern Desert View.
Our first stop was in Tuba City. Never heard of it? Neither had we until we started looking into this trip. Actually, there is a very cool Navajo Museum there, but unfortunately it doesn't open on Sundays. Is it Sunday? We've lost track of time, date, day and even time zone on this trip. In fact, we go through a daily ritual of trying to remember things that have happened before on this trip. When we realise that we can't recall what happened the day before yesterday we give up and just go with the flow for another day. At the end of the day we check our journals, and ooh and aah about the things that we've done and learned.

The Navajo have an interesting philosophy on life, including the desire to learn something new every day. They feel that we are one with the earth and that life and death are all part of the same thing. When we die, we become one with the earth and help to rejuvenate the land. Their outlook on life is very organic, down to earth and reflects their surroundings. Navajo art and jewelry is equally representative of their surroundings, with animals and dreamlike stories depicted. Community is important and activities like weaving and rug making are deemed communal and therefore important.
Tuba City Navajo rug representing Storms
From Tuba City it is a short hop to Flagstaff which seems a really cool little town which I'll talk more about in days to come. Suffice to stay we're staying in an iconic hotel (thanks to Caroline's booking skills) which has housed stars like Humphrey Bogart, Gary Cooper, Debbie Reynolds and Jon Bon Jovi. The Hotel is an amazing old building which is apparently haunted if you're into that sort of thing, and after passing through the spiritual Navajo Nation, one can believe almost anything. But before getting to Flagstaff we took a short trip to the Grand Canyon. Actually, we didn't go the whole way, partly because we were exhausted and partly because Caroline is freaked out by heights, But she braved some views from the eastern Desert View of the Canyon especially for me. It is an amazing spectacle, about 10-12 miles wide where we were, but getting up to 18 miles across in places. One of the bonuses of travelling in from the east is that you get to see the canyon of the Little Colorado River that, to me, was just as spectacular.

The Little Colorado River Canyon

Grand Canyon, grand view!

Watchtower at the eastern end of the National Park
What more is there to say about this trip? Well, I'm currently sat in the bar of the historic Monte Vista Hotel drinking another great American beer, oak amber creek. I'm absolutely exhausted physically, but totally invigorated spiritually and mentally. I remember saying about 2 weeks ago that this sort of holiday is not for everyone, but for me it has been perfect: stimulating, invigorating, challenging, educational, and spectacular from a sensory point of view.

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