Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Beaver Dam & Kayenta, AZ and Bluff, UT (3/24/2017)

I would have stayed longer in Beaver Dam in order to make another trip to Gold Butte.  Unfortunately, the campground had reserved my site for someone else, and they had explained this when I checked in.  Having no choice but to leave, I decided I would return to Page, where there is always something else worth doing.  At least my last night in Beaver Dam had a decent sunset.

Driving toward Page, I crossed into UT and then back to AZ, then into UT again and once more into AZ.  Not that it mattered to me, but each time I crossed the state line, it was a different time zone.  A quick phone call to the campground in Page revealed that it was all booked up, too.  Bluff, UT was next on my list. so I kept driving.  Passing through the Navajo town of Kayenta, I pulled off the road just long enough to grab a photo of the volcanic plug known as Aglatha Peak.  Of course, the Navajo have their own name for it, and the Spanish called it El Capitan.  While there are many such formations scattered across Northern Arizona and New Mexico, owing to the volcanic activity of 25 million years ago, Agathla Peak and Shiprock (see April 19, 2016 Travelogue) are the most prominent.  In fact, this entire region has countless formations, canyons and mesas that I would love to explore, but most of it is on private property or would require crossing private property.  Only a few places have been made accessible by the Navajo.
Once more I crossed the state line into Utah and was tempted to stop at Monument Valley.  For some reason, I just didn't want to do that, so kept going until I reached Bluff.  I had called the campground where I normally stay and found they were also full up.  Did I mention that there seems to be increasing tourism in the Southwest?  A call to another campground in Bluff secured a spot, much to my relief. 

I've been through Bluff many times, and stayed there on several occasions.  Still, there are places there I had not seen and I wanted to check them off the list.  Even after driving 350 miles, there was time for a little exploration before dark.  A dirt road took me to an interesting canyon formed of unusual sandstone, which I ended up driving across to the rim.  On the way there, however, I stopped to see St. Christopher's Mission and School for the Navajo.  It still surprises me how many Christian denominations have been adopted by the various Indian tribes.

It was such a beautiful evening, I postponed making dinner until after watching the sunset.

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