Friday, September 3, 2010

The Canyons, Grand and Rio Grande

Leaving Taos, we continued across Indian lands and to no surprise it was rough country. Looking a what they have to work with I can understand a bit of bitterness.  While there is little water and soil, The land is stunning in its stark beauty.  The brilliant blue sky is a contrast to the rich browns and reds of many of the rocks though it was hard for me to appreciate the grey areas that looked like volcanic ash left in rounded mounds.

This gray area was one of the few places we saw tracks from four-wheelers, a common phenomena in the rural east. I don't know if it is because the ground is hard so it doesn't leave tracks from the tires, or because the open areas are so vast that people seldom travel the same place enough to leave tracks,  but we seldom saw evidence of four-wheelers used for play.  The mound in this area is an exception.
Today we again passed by many traditional Native American homes with a round hogan.  "Hogan" is a Navajo word that roughly means "home place"  but it is more than that. The hogan is shelter but is also a place for family activities, the center of their religion.

There are several projects currently happening that cause modern relocation of large amounts of Indians, both by the United States government and by the Indian government. This causes a housing shortage.  The United States government has responded by providing square houses which are currently more efficient to be built.
Navajo ceremonies must be held in a round building with the door facing east. While we saw hogans built out of a variety of materials, we also saw built out of adobe, both sides and roof.
A few roadside stands enticed us to stop and buy some jewelry or other crafts.  I am not a shopper so it didn't take long to get  tired of looking.  Some of the crafts were nicely done but many of the necklaces were similar to ones friends made back home.

One roadside stand was set up beside the bridge across the Rio Grande, a small bridge that shook with each car that crossed.  As it was a very windy day and a deep gorge, I chose to hand the camera off to Jeff for photos.

Rio Grande Arizona
You can see how windy it is.  I had to hold my shirt or it would be cheap thrills for the southwest.So finally we made it to the world famous, the One, the Only, Grand Canyon.

There is little to say about the Grand Canyon that you haven't read, heard or thought yourself. It was beautiful. It was big.  It was awesome.  Did I write big, yet?
We stopped at the East end of the South Rim where we took the pictures 
Then went inside the observation tower to see it.

The observation tower was built to blend in with the surrounding environment in color, texture and style.  The architect, Mary Jane Colter, oversaw its building meticulously, even as far as deciding which stone would go where.
Looking at the ceiling of the first floor is almost as good as looking at the canyon.  logs are laid, interlocking, to form the roof.

The ceiling of the top floor is painted with traditional Hope drawings and was done by Fred Geary, copying paintings from ancient Pueblos and cliff dwellings.

From the ground floor store you could buy all kinds of overpriced stuff, much of it made in foreign countries.
We drove around and settled on a large rim rock from which to view the sunset as it it up the east wall with reds, yellows and sparkling whites.

We left just before dark to park our RV about a mile away a  RV park amid tourist stores and pizza shops. It was a long day and we were glad to sleep.
I will put a slide show of the Grand Canyon on the home page of this blog if you wish to see more.


rebeccainthewoods said...

Lovely! Hope you're enjoying your trip. Visiting the Navajo reservation is like traveling to a foreign country, what with the hogans and the language and everything.

Naturedigital said...

Amazingly beautiful landscapes.

Beyond The Garden said...

Whoops, This was meant to be posted on my Waverly to Tahoe blog. I get confused blogging while traveling and visiting with family. I guess I'll leave it on here.Thanks Costas and Rebecca for the comments.