Monday, March 14, 2016

Navajo Nation, Arizona


The Navajo, unlike most Native American tribes, continue to live on their ancestral lands. The Navajo Indian Reservation is 27,425 square miles large, and is located in parts of southwestern Colorado, northeaster Arizona, southwestern Utah and northwestern New Mexico. The 15 million acres of desert land ranges in altitude from 5,000 to 11,000 feet in altitude.  Navajo Nation--Dine Bikeyah--is larger than 10 of the 50 states in America.  It was established by treaty as a reservation with the United States in 1868. You can read more about the Navajo history on this link. (All photos, and photo collages in this post will eanlarge for easier viewing if clicked on)


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.


As we drove south in Arizona we began to see saguaro cacti. These cacti are only found in the Sonoran desert areas of Arizona, and in Sonora, Mexico.  We knew we were getting closer to our destination, and happy times ahead visiting with family.


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!

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71 comments:

ladyfi said...

Wow - I love those weathered rocks!

Michelle said...

You have posted about one of my favorite areas of the U.S. Such beauty!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Pat! I love all the rock formations and colors. What a beautiful area, so scenic. The elephant feet are cool. Lovely shots of your family and the wedding. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

From the Kitchen said...

Thanks again, Pat, for a nice tour with my morning coffee! Such an amazing area that we too often fly over and never see.

Best,
Bonnie

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

It is a beautiful part of our country and you got some wonderful photos. I lived in the reservation in NM for a few years and it's like living in another country. But it's a wonderful experience. Looks like you had a good trip! What a beautiful wedding. Hugs, Diane

Vee said...

Beautiful country! I had not realized how large the Navajo Nation is. How thrilling to see the horseback riders! Looks as if it was fun family time for all and the bride is so lovely.

Linda Kay said...

A great job with these wonderful photos of the Navajo country. Have a happy week.

Al said...

Beautiful photos - I do love this part of the country.

happywonderer.com said...

Such amazing natural monuments! Loved seeing them...

Cathy Keller said...

Such a wonderful post! Wishing you safe travels!!!!

Linda W. said...

It's beautiful country out there, isn't it? Great photos!

jeannettestgermain said...

Breathtaking country - reminding me of our vacations in Utah - I love the landscape and the spaciousness, not to mention the beautiful skies, sometimes changing from moment to moment...and weddings are always a great reason to make a trip:):)

Hope you like to add my new meme SEASONS to your link list of the week, and there's still time for this week, because the thumbnail photo link is open from Mon-Wed till 7pm, Pacific time.Hope to see yo there!

jeannettestgermain said...

Thank you so much - I appreciate your beautiful capture for Seasons, and hope to see you back soon!

Somehow these amazing clouds escaped me earlier. The weather in these areas are more severe than in the mild weather of California - but I like the marked differences though. Have a great week!

Jeanne said...

Hello Pat, Thank you for posting for Blue Monday as always. I am grateful that quite a few people have joined in today. Everyone is kind and happy to continue Sally's Blue Monday with Backyard Neighbor. This has given me a lot of encouragement to step up my blogging and visiting again.

The post you shared is interesting and the photos show the beauty of this part of our country. The Navajo Indians are a great study and I enjoyed reading about their culture. I enjoyed the wedding collage as well. There is nothing as wonderful as a wedding to bring loved ones together. How fast one year passes us by.

Thanks for joining in today. I am so pleased with the turnout. Sally would be smiling for sure.
Hugs,
Jeanne

Mitzi said...

Wonderful shots! Have to admit, I have never been, but would love to go someday.

Betsy Adams said...

Beautiful country out there for sure.. We have been to the Painted Desert and to the Petrified Forest (on our big trip to the Grand Canyon in 2011)--but there's SO much more to see...

Looks like you had a fantastic time in Phoenix with family/friends.

Hugs,
Betsy

Barb said...

I've taken many trips through this southwest landscape. My best friend lives near Phoenix. The rock formations are Nature's sculptures.

Tamar SB said...

Such gorgeous pictures of a beautiful part of our country!

carol l mckenna said...

Beautiful country and you photograph them so well ~

I saw more of the Navajo cultures in New Mexico ~ Skied Aspen Co and saw the Grand Canyon ~ love the reservations I saw in Utah ~

Love the family photos too ~

Happy Week to you ~ ^_^

Jeannie Marie said...

That is quite a magnificent trip!! Your photos are stunning! I loved the scroll through. Happy Blue Monday!

Pondside said...

What a trip!....all that and a family wedding at the end of it - perfect!
I remember watching a movie about Navajo code breakers - unsung heroes, really.

Rajesh said...

Beautiful shots of the place. The landscape is amazing

firaszphotography said...

Truly the photos are absolutely fabulous! You presented great views worth looking.

Cheers )

Lorrie said...

Those sandstone formations do look otherworldly - like something from another planet. Amazing.

aktuellabilder said...

Really eye catching rock formations.

Margaret Adamson said...

the rock foramtions arefabulous

NC Sue said...

Fantastic photos - I love these images. We spent a little time in Navajo country, but not nearly enough. It's truly beautiful.
Thank you for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-fight-continues.html

bettyl-NZ said...

What wonderful scenery! I never visited that part of the country, so I'm glad you shared your photos with us.

The French Hutch said...

Pat, I always enjoy your photos but this post was special, it brought back memories of the time my husband and I traveled through Arizona. So many of the same sights and highways, the painted desert, the drive to Flagstone, the rock formations and we did enjoy going to Tuba City. We were fascinated with the beauty of the land. Thanks for taking us along, I'm sure it was hard to not detour! Great photos, love your collage photos. Thanks Pat……...

DrillerAA09 said...

Some of the individual formations are just stunning. Makes you want to photography all sides. Nicely done.

colleen said...

I also remember seeing prayer huts (I forget the name) outside homes in Navaho land. They were roundish. So glad to see the people on horses like I would imagine in the old days.

Claudia said...

We drove through their years ago when our kids were actually kids. I remember gasping when we turned into the painted desert. Such a beautiful landscape! An inspiring part of the country.

Karen R said...

Beautiful photos! We drove through here many times when I was a child, and while I enjoyed the road trip, I didn't fully appreciate the beauty back then. Now I'm dreaming of one day taking my husband through this part of the country someday. Thanks for sharing these beautiful images!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Oh my. Those rock formations and your photos are spectacular. I have been to Arizona several times, but never to Monument Valley. I definitely have a yearning to see it in person now that I've seen these stunning photos of yours.

Sharon said...

These are stunning images of red rock formations in the desert. I've enjoyed visiting red rock areas outside of Las Vegas. I love the photos of the men on horseback, too. You've inspired me to visit this area!

Susanne said...

Such fascinating landscape, so incredibly different from here. I'd like to go there some day.
Those clouds look kind of scary.

Villrose said...

A beautiful and spectacular landscape, but not very fertile...
I went trough many years ago, by Greyhound bus. Unforgettable.

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Fabulous scenery.....lovely photos.....thank you!
Enjoy your week!

Carol said...

As a resident of this beautiful state for 30+ years, it is so nice to hear nice comments instead of complaints about the "heat." We've done lots of exploring since we moved here, and always find it to be very fascinating. I'm so glad you enjoyed your trip.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Pat, your photography is wonderful! I enjoyed this visit so much! The formations look out of this world and so different from my east coast scenery. The Navajo reservation is an amazing place. Thank you for the great tour! ♥

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Loved seeing these places through your lens! We traveled many of those roads a few years back...and this post brings back the memories.

CountryMouse said...

Amazing landscape and those clouds look pretty cool.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Isn't it beautiful country? And so much history to think about. I'm still confused about how we've seen most of what you show here, and yet missed Four Corners. Looks like the family celebration was fun...and perfect as that day should always be!

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

Hi Pat
I am aware of the Navajo code talkers but had no idea their reservation was this big or beautiful.

Marie C said...

You got some incredible photos! Fabulous post filled with wonderful info and pictures! Glad you had such a great trip and such a sweet time with family. You will LOVE Monument Valley when you make it there!

Pat Tillett said...

Very interesting narrative and great photos, make for a fantastic post!
Very nice...

Powell River Books said...

You trip photos are wonderful. I am totally amazed by your cloud shot. We are in Arizona for a short Spring Training baseball vacation. Love all this sun and warm weather. At home it is cold and rainy still. - Margy

Powell River Books said...

You trip photos are wonderful. I am totally amazed by your cloud shot. We are in Arizona for a short Spring Training baseball vacation. Love all this sun and warm weather. At home it is cold and rainy still. - Margy

diane b said...

Thanks for the lovely drive through the Navajo Nation lands. The desert topography is stunning. Even though we stayed at North Rim on our great trip across USA, I would have loved to seen the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest and the Monument Valley. So I will look forward to seeing them on your blog.

handmade by amalia said...

I enjoyed coming along for the ride. What an interesting place to visit. And you did it justice with your photos.
Amalia
xo

Donna said...

Fabulous visit. I was just in PHX seeing family while on break. I have always wanted to get to the Four Corners and hope to on my next visit. Thanks for showing me the splendor of this wonderful area and what a great time with family!!

Bonnie said...

What a scenic drive through beautiful country. Your pictures are fabulous and I bet most were made from the car. You captured everything well.Thank you for the interesting tour and I enjoyed learning about the Navajo code during the war and their service.
Weddings are a wonderful way to enjoy a good family visit. Looks like a great time was had by all.
You may not have flowers for a while but what a glorious pleasant summer you will have. When we lived In Alaska I well remember break up was toward the middle to end of May. We didn't plant anything until Labor Day.
Thanks for your visit.

Ida said...

What an awesome trip! The rock formations are just amazing and so beautiful. I enjoyed your photos very much.

Judie said...

Pat, as you may remember, we lived in Tucson for 14 years and have seen many of the sights that you photographed so beautifully. It was a delightful trip down memory lane!!! Oh, and thanks for your comment on my post a couple of weeks ago! I really appreciated it.

Gracie said...

Always so amazed by your travels photos, and more and more willing to see those places with my own eyes...For now thank you for taking me along....

Parsimonious Perfection said...

I always learn something interesting here! Those photos, particularly the seventh one down are gorgeous, just wow!

Rambling Woods said...

Oh my...It has been a dream to get out west and to see some of these wonderful places.... Thank you for your kind comment in light of my Dad's passing...Michelle

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Thanks for the tour of the Navajo nation. It has been years since I have been there.

Art and Sand said...

I haven't been to the Navajo Nation in ages. Thanks for a little walk down memory lane.

We appreciate that you share each week at SYC.

Jim said...

Beautiful scene.

Jane said...

Thank you for sharing your trip through Navajo land! very beautiful and very informative!

Kalantikan said...

The more i see more of your photos of those areas, the more i realize of what i missed to see in this lifetime. They are amazing monuments to the story of the earth.

Jarek said...

Beautiful, beautiful captures.

Lisa Kerner said...

What a fun post... travel and fun family times, that's a double plus in my book.

Lisa @ LTTL

Jann Olson said...

This is a beautiful area. Hubby and I have driven through it. It's been some time since we were in the Grand Canyon and would like to return again. Love the Elephants feet! Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos with SYC.
hugs,
Jann

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

What spectacular pictures! I had no idea it was so big.

edenhills said...

Gorgeous scenery! Those clouds are truly amazing. Glad you had a good visit with family.

Florence said...

It's been several years since we were in that beautiful part of the country. Just spectacular, almost everywhere you look.

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

what a beautiful land...the colors, natural formations, etc. all quite amazing. I watched the movie about the Code Talkers years ago; forgot all about that until I saw your link! :)

Photo(Geo)grapher said...

A gorgeous photos!

Jenny said...

What a gorgeous trip you took us on!

I love the wild, wild wilderness and the horses travelling it.

What a wonderful place you took us to for week 17.

This warmed my heart AND made me want to take a trip!

Thank you for linking.

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