Indian Country

Trip Start Nov 17, 2006
Trip End Nov 25, 2006

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Thursday, November 23, 2006

We arrived early in Gallup, to get on the road to drive through New Mexico and Arizona Indian Country. One of our first stops in the morning was at Window Rock, Arizona, the capital of the Navajo Nation. The rock formation is impressive...

Several years ago we traveled this road and much to our surprise, everything looks much better...the roads are greatly improved and the homes and overall conditions that our Native Americans live in appear to have improved.

Although we have seen the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert several times, it still amazes me as to the history and beauty of the area. To think we are walking among the remains of trees that are millions of years old that once grew near the equator, is awe inspiring. The colors of rock and sand ranged from black to all shades of gray, pink, orange, green and blue. As sunset approached the Painted Desert became an even pinker landscape.
Besides beautiful rocks, we were greeted by many ravens...impressively large black crows that seemed to be waiting for a handout...which they did not receive, at least from us.

As we headed back east again, we stopped at the Hubble Trading Post, which today is a National Historic Site, but still operates as a trading post for the locals. While we were there, many Indians came in to visit and buy staple goods that Hubble still carries. In addition, Hubble sells jewelry, pottery, crafts, and many Navajo rugs, which are exquisitely woven and and from $400 into the $1000s.
If we hadn't had a guide book with directions on how to find Coal Mine Canyon,
we would have driven right by. We looked out for a milepost and then sighted a windmill in the distance...took a gravel road across a pasture and then the earth opened up into a gorgeous canyon of pinks, reds, whites, and charcoal. Other than a few picnic tables, the canyon was abandoned and silent.

As we approached the Grand Canyon from the west, we traveled along the Little Colorado River, which by standards other than the Grand Canyon, was quite an impressive canyon. As you approach the entrance you are greeted by dozens of Native American vendors selling jewelry, pottery, and other souvenirs. Fortunately for us, most of them had gone home to prepare for Thanksgiving, since it was nearly dusk, as we neared the National Park entrance.
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