Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Monument Valley, Utah ~ Part One ~ Wednesday ~ 08-25-2010

Today started out early as we had decided to take a tour of Monument Valley. We walked over to McDonalds where Big Daddy promply spilled a cup of hot coffee all over himself. Back to the room he went as I finished breakfast. We left for the tour and right away started seeing some beautiful sections of Monument Valley. The Navajo Nation is one very large Reservation. It is actually the size of the whole state of West Virginia.
As we entered the Navajo State Park the sandstone formations got closer together and larger - it was amazing. The roads in the park are unpaved with some sections being very loose sand and gravel. We were very glad we had decided to take the tour and not the bikes. The roads are so bumpy that at times riding in the suburban was a bit dicey. Our guide was of course Navajo and she spoke with a heavy accent. I loved hearing her speak to the other tribe members in their language. Upon entering the park the booth attendent asked her where we were from. When she told him Texas he let out with a chorus of "All my exes live in Texas...". Along the way she told us about the different movies, commercials and music videos that have been made at each formation. It's interesting what your mind retains and will then recognize when someone points it out. At John Ford Point there were a lot of tourists from different Countries. I am not sure why I am still amazed that so many people will travel so far to see this great land we live in. It always reminds me to be thankful that we have such beautiful places and that we have the freedom to throw a leg over or hop in the four fenders and go and see it anytime we choose.
Only one family is allowed to live in Monument Valley in the Navajo Park. There is no electricity, water, gas, or in most places there, cell phone reception. The nearest store is about 25 minutes away in Kayenta, Arizona. This is where the family in the Navajo park must go to get their water and propane. Just imagine, no lights at night, no television, radio, phone, running water, air conditioner or internet. And then imagine you're broken down right there in the middle of it at almost midday.
It started when our tour guide, Jeanine, told me that we could visit a Hogan and a lady there would do a rug weaving demonstration for us. Of course I wanted to do that! We went to Susie Assazi's hogan and went up to her door. She wasn't there but someone called for her very loudly. Jeanine explained that Susie was hard of hearing as she was 94 years old. Across the way came walking a wizened looking Indian woman in a colorful skirt and top with beautiful jewelry. We were invited into her hogan and she sat at her weaving chair. She took the hair from a black sheep and spun it into yarn. As we sat there Jeanine told us a bit of Susie's life and showed us some traditional Indian items. Our visit with Susie in her home was one I will always remember. The hogan was very nice and although it was getting hot outside it was cool in her home. We went out to the Suburban and it wouldn't start. This is where the primitive life of a true Indian Reservation will really strike you. No way to call for help. Period.

To be continued....

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