Monday, January 5, 2009

Arizona trip continued, Day 4

Hi Everyone,

Someone on TripAdvisor was asking about how to get from 4 Corners to Holbrook. I had to chime in with my answer which was to detour via New Mexico and at least pass by Shiprock. Once I added my opinion I had to back it up with photos. So here they are.

On day 4 of our Arizona trip we drove the North rim of Canyon de Chelly to Tsaile and then headed north to Lukachukai. At Lukachukai we headed east through an incredible mountain pass and into the desert valley to see Shiprock. This wasn't part of our original planning, but at the Hubbell Trading Post my husband noticed a book with a photo of an amazing rock outcropping. We asked the park ranger if this was anywhere near where we were driving and it turned out that with only a two hour detour we would be able to add this to the trip. He assured us that we were in for a treat on the drive and we absolutely were not disappointed.

One of the advantages to this detour was that it allowed us to combine the North Rim of CdC without having to backtrack onto roads that we had already travelled.

The first photo in this set is of our approach to the mountain pass. The speed limit through the pass is 10 miles per hour and it's well deserved for the switchbacks. Our ears were popping as we climbed a few thousand feet in elevation.

Just as soon as we were up we were on our way down. Part way down we got our first view of Shiprock. I think the second photo might be one of my favourites and captures the essence of Shiprock.

As with CdC, we're not sure what drew us to this formation. We pulled off at the gravel road at Shiprock and spent a half hour taking photos. In the third photo of this set if you look close on the very right you'll see what looks like a small speck just above the ridge line - that's me.

Shiprock is a spiritual place among the Natives and perhaps we sensed some of that. There are many other rock formations that could be considered prettier, but this one just had a somber power to it.

For more information on Shiprock, check out the following websites:

We also stopped at 4 Corners on our way to Monument Valley. This last photo is the three Geocaching travel bugs that we had with us managing to be in four states at once. It's a fun little detour, souvenirs are reasonably priced and the fry bread is delicious.

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