Dancing in the moonlight

Trip Start Jun 30, 2010
Trip End Aug 15, 2010

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Where I stayed
Navajo Hogan

Flag of United States  , Utah
Sunday, July 11, 2010

This morning we said goodbye to the Grand Canyon and headed for our next destination, Monument Valley. Much of Monument Valley is within the Navajo nation, an ancient Native American tribal land which stands as a country within a country, with their own laws and Government operating with the support of the American Government.

Monument Valley National Park extends into 4 states and is famous for its unusual sandstone buttes, great pieces of rock protruding from the earth in irregular stand alone shapes which make you think they were just dropped there from above.

We were dropped off at the Visitor's Centre for a look around before we were picked up for our Jeep tour of the park, courtesy of our Navajo guide, Richard. We started off with a few stops for some amazing pictures of what is definitely my favourite park so far.

After a rocky ride over some rough terrain, with some excellent music blasting from our jeep, we stopped in a remote part of the park for dinner of steak, fried bread and beans. Next we were entertained by Richard and his brother performing some traditional Navajo Indian music and dancing. Toward the end of the performance everyone was asked to get on their feet and perform a traditional dance with a partner. Mine was a Japanese girl from one of the other Trek America groups which seem to be practically mirroring our journey across the country. The night was rounded off by the playing of music while everyone was asked to do a 15 second freestyle dance. Now anyone who knows me, knows I don't dance... certainly not when put on the spot in front of a large group of strangers, but I embraced the spirit and got involved when my turn came up... and even found myself doing star jumps at one point!

After the festivities had come to their natural end we were driven to our sleeping area for the night... a traditional Navajo Indian Hogan. A Hogan is a hut made of wood and mud and is a typical residence of the Navajo Indian. Our Hogan (one for the whole group) was owned by an elderly matriarch of the Navajo who had been displaced for the night to accommodate us. To round off our evening, those of us who had stayed awake were entertained by traditional Navajo stories from our guide Richard, incorporating the traditional Navajo values of family and spirit. Some of our group decided to sleep outside under the stars but I stayed in the Hogan and in no time at all had drifted off to sleep.
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