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Navajo National Monument, AZ

About 80 miles from Page through rugged and open Navajo country has led us to Navajo National Monument.   I can only post a quick blog right now because we are going to head off for a 5-hour ranger-led hike to Betatakin Ruins, which you can see in the photo below.   Getting to the canyon involves a lot of backcountry hiking on switchbacks and sand, to across the top of the plateau shown in the photo, then down into this deep canyon, and back to the overhang where the ruins can be explored.

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Navajo NMON is one of those little-visited park sites, but it is beautiful, open, peaceful, and engaging.   The weather is spectacular: sunny days in the upper 70s, clear dry nights in the 50s.   We found a spot for our trailer in the small campground (length limit 28 feet), and immediately decided to stay two nights at least.     (It doesn’t hurt that camping is free here, up to 7 days. Bathrooms and water available, no hookups, no dump station.)

The campground is very pretty, with wonderful day and night views.   The stars are almost as good as at Hovenweep, which is not surprising since we have come around almost full circle in our Four Corners tour, and are not that far from Hovenweep. I am really starting to love this part of the Four Corners.

In the visitor center there are Navajo women making rugs and sashes, which you can buy.   The 2.5 ft x 4 ft rugs run $600, so we didn’t get one, but from all accounts they last forever.   Since these women rely on tourists for their income, they also charge to take pictures of them working ($5).   The work they do is intricate and beautiful, and I wish I could buy something just to support the tradition.   From what I hear, it is dying out as fewer Navajos choose to learn these techniques.

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I experimented last night with nighttime star photography for the first time.   The results were not great — I got a reddish flare in the upper left corner of all my long exposures, and lots of “noise”.   I need to read up on the right settings to use, because the night sky here is too stunning to let pass by without some more photos.

I am also amazed I’m able to get online with my Verizon card (for the record, from site #4).   I’ll post again tomorrow with photos from the Betatakin hike.

5 Responses to “Navajo National Monument, AZ”

  1. Ag Sag Says:

    Rich, I’ve been lurking since just before you hit Hovenweep. That’s our destination today. Thank you so much for alerting us to some great sites. We look forward to meeting you in Albquerque as we’ll be joining the rally there.

    Couple of things about cameras. It looks as tho you used a tripod as the A/S seemed sharp and the stars were in motion for a time exposure. A tripod is a must. Check your ASA/ISO. The lower the better. Below 200 is preferable. Though I doubt that light standards were nearby they can contribute to the kind of flare you experienced.

    Thanks again for what you share.

    Bill

  2. leigh + brian Says:

    that trailer pic is AWESOME!!!!! …even with the red flare

  3. terrie Says:

    I loved the Airstream Stars photo even before I knew Brian and Leigh liked it…..love it…..

  4. Leïla & Bruno ACCART Says:

    Don’t buy in the visitors center; it’ s really too much expensive …
    wait to meet them on the side of the road, when visiting the canyons…
    the best way is to stop at their little shops… and try to bargain ( but they are hard in busyness.)
    Don’t believe them when they say that is made by themselves or by the brother ( not there)… they know how to lie for vending.Check the initials ( BA for me) in the back of the jewels…for the authenticity and where they are from…

  5. Tin Can Says:

    I think that’s a great picture! My pictures NEVER turn out that cool looking.

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