When we left the Four Corners area in the Navajo Nation in Colorado --see last blog post-- we drove on US 160 southwest and entered the Arizona border of Navajo Nation. There is so much to see and do in the entire Navajo Nation --see their tourism site on this link--but we were going to drive straight through, on our way to the Phoenix area, to visit my husband's sister and brother-in-law's home, where we were gathering for a family wedding that would take place the next day. We knew we had many miles of driving before us, but we were excited to see the unique and beautiful scenery in this part of the country, and I kept taking photos as we drove to share with all of you.
We passed many weathered red rock areas...
There were many areas with hoodoo formations.
We were driving parallel with the Monument Valley, area where I could see the most unusual and majestic looking sandstone masterpieces in the distance....
...and at times up close.
The colors of the desert and the shadows and light playing off the natural monuments gave them and other worldly appearance. We were tempted to take a rural road to get closer to the center of this valley, but knew we did not have the time on this trip to do so. In the future we want to take a guided tour of Monument Valley to see more of it up close.
In the Navajo creation story they believe they came to their land by emerging through four levels of worlds, to currently reside in the fourth level, the "glittering world." After seeing this spell blindingly beautiful area of Navajo Nation I feel as if I too, passed through a glittering world filled with the Navajo sacred colors.
We kept driving and marveling at the changing scenery.
We again passed beautiful red rock formations...
...until we saw two unusual sandstone formations in the distance near Tonalea, Arizona.
These formations are nicknamed "Elephant Feet." It is easy to see how they received that name!
We had driven a little more than two thirds of our route on US 160 through Navajo Nation, towards Tuba City, when I spotted men galloping by on horseback.
We passed many more horseback riders in this area
A good view from a high point on the road of the colorful dessert terrain.
We passed by exits that lead towards the Grand Canyon. Again, it was tempting to turn off for awhile to see some of the canyon, but we knew that would take too long and we did not want to drive at night. We had visited the Grand Canyon years ago on a trip to Arizona with our children, but I'd like to go back again one day and see the, less visited North Rim.
As we approached Tuba City, the largest community in Navajo Nation, we immediately recognized that we were now also in part of the Arizona Painted Desert
Again, the colors and formations of the land were other worldly in appearance. We would visit the Painted Desert as part of the Petrified Forest National Park before we return to Colorado on our way home, so I'll show you more of this natural wonder on a future blog post.
Another reminder that we were on Native American land was that some houses also had tepee structures next to them. They are most likely used for ceremonial or religious purposes. The Navajo. or Dine, as they call themselves, also used hogans, or mud style huts as shelter. They have been remarkably successful in preserving much of their unique culture, despite the modern day conveniences of an Anglo-American lifestyle. It is estimated that approximately 80% of the population speaks the Navajo language in addition to English. During World War II the Navajo language was used to create a secret code to battle the Japanese. Navajo men were selected to create codes and serve on the front lines in battlefield. These famous Navajo Code talkers exemplified the bravery and patriotism of the Navajo people.
The following is a YouTube video documentary that tells the story about the Navajo Code Talkers
Passing the town of Cameron, we were approaching the end of Navajo Nation in Arizona turning onto US 89 south, headed towards Flagstaff.
This area began to show more greenery....
...and storm clouds began to gather.
Soon, we saw ominous mammatus clouds forming overhead. It rained briefly, and then, happily, the sun began to shine again.
We had a wonderful time seeing my husband's sister and family, and my sister and her family, while in the Phoenix area. Young third cousins met for the first time and had a good time playing together. over our visit. The very best part of the get together was our niece's beautiful wedding! They have already celebrate their first anniversary--how time flies!
While in Arizona we took the opportunity to visit the Saguaro National Park--come back next time to see that amazing place!
I'm linking this post to the following blog events:
Seasons, Amaze Me Monday, Mosaic Monday. Blue Monday, Through My Lens Monday, Life Through the Lens Monday, Mellow Yellow Monday, Good Random Fun, Nature Notes, Grand Social, Our World Tuesday, Ruby Tuesday, You're Gonna Love It Tuesday, Wordless Wednesday, Oh My Heartsie Girl . Wordless Wednesday, Outdoor Wednesday, Warm Heart Wednesday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Friday Photo Journal, Skywatch Friday, Share It One More Time, Pink Saturday
Thank you to all the blog hosts!