From Kayenta, Arizona to Utah

Wednesday, April 16

The crew and I break camp early.  I take a photo of our campsite before pulling away.  The two campgrounds at Navajo National Monument (free) are an inexpensive stop on the way through northeast Arizona.

1-DSC03641We drive around the campground loop in order to drop off our collection of plastic into the recycling bin next to the restrooms.

1-DSC03638It’s cold this morning and the campground is empty except for one other camper.

1-DSC03639I decide we won’t walk the Sandal Trail as we did last spring.  The Betatkin ruins are in shadow in the morning and it’s too darn cold to hike.

We return to Highway 160 and turn northeastward.

1-DSC03643The rock hills are dotted with pinyon pines.

1-DSC03645With no place to pull off the road, I slow down and take these photos either through the windshield or through my open window.

1-DSC03647We motor through Marsh Pass and come to Tsegi.

1-DSC03648Tsegi consists of the Anasazi Inn and few structures set in front of dramatic rock formations.

1-DSC03650The photo above doesn’t completely capture how grand these cliffs are!  To give a sense of proportion, the green dots are trees taller than a person.

At Kayenta I shop at Basha’s.

If you travel around the West, after a while you can tell where you are simply by looking at the inventory at the grocery store.  At Kayenta it’s blue corn in sacks on shelves and mutton in the meat case.  The prices are very high, close to $30 for a pack of baby back beef ribs.  No wonder people eat mutton!

Before leaving the parking lot I fill up two water jugs at a dispenser (25 cents a gallon).

Decision time!

Do I retrace our route of last spring and go through Monument Valley on Highway 163 going north?  Or do I take a new route, Highway 160 east to Highway 191 north?

My driving pleasure this morning has been lessened by pressured drivers wanting to pass, one after another.  It’s the week before Easter and people are on their way to Monument Valley and beyond.  For this reason I choose the less-popular and new-to-us route and head east.

Yes, less traffic!

Eight miles past Kayenta the dramatic Church Rock appears.  Unfortunately I don’t get a good photo due to clouds and the road side being in shadow.  I’ll leave that for you to discover!

Next we come to the strange shapes of Baby Rocks Mesa.

1-DSC03655Past the settlement of Dennehotso, I stop to take photos of free-range horses. 

The sky is becoming increasingly overcast, thus the dark photos.

1-DSC03654(I lightened the pics somewhat in photo editing which makes the sky color weird.)

I don’t know if these are wild horses or horses belonging to Native Americans (We’re still on the rez) that are set loose on the range to graze.

1-DSC03663For those unfamiliar with the West, the fence you see in the photo above is not to fence in a pasture.  (What a lot of fence it would take to do that!)  I assume the fence is to keep animals off the highway.  The horse above is between the fence and the highway, evidence that one needs to be alert anyway for animals on the road.

1-DSC03662

I’m glad I chose this route!

Next post:  The crew and I enter Utah and camp at Sand Island Campground west of Bluff!

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