Sunday, August 25, 2013

Never, ever pass up fry bread

In a panicky flurry of day-tripping a few weeks ago to see all the places I'd put off, I made the return visit to Canyon de Chelly that I'd promised myself. The first time I went I didn't have the time or the water or the shoes for a hike into the canyon to see White House, but the second time I was prepared.

This trip was made on Highway 12, which crosses from Arizona to New Mexico and back to Arizona across Navajo land, and it got me wondering if there is a blah stretch of landscape anywhere in this part of the state. If so, I haven't seen it yet. I'm so grateful that there are usually wide shoulders to on which to pull over because otherwise, I'll tell you, I'd be sorely tempted to stop right in the lane with an eye on the rear view mirror. How could anyone pass up views like this?

Wild horses, I think. They're all over the area.

Knowing I was on Navajo land got me thinking about fry bread, and lo and behold, at the intersection of 12 and somewhere, there was a food truck selling just that. You betcha I stopped.

No turkey legs for me but plenty of people lined up behind me ordered them (at 8 bucks a pop!) and must have depleted the supply because by the time I left the sign was down.

The young woman forming the bread allowed me to photograph her tossing the dough into discs just like pizza makers used to do.

The discs were slapped into the grease in the pan over the gas burner one at a time and a short time later this is what I got for ten thin dimes. Yes, just one dollar for this most delicious fresh, hot disc of fry bread. I went back and bought another, which I definitely should not have done.

After eating way too much of the second piece I headed directly to the canyon just down the road. After nearly two pieces of fry bread... well, I had to try to work them off.

The trail is three miles round trip and in one of those weird circumstances that makes so sense whatsoever, it was much harder going down than coming up. From the rim, the trail looks somewhat steep but at least smooth - but they are faking you out.

This is what the trail really looks like, except this section is fairly level. Somehow it was easier to navigate the loose rocks leaving the canyon than it was going in.

Once on the canyon floor, a big disappointment was finding a fence all around the ruins. I know better than to climb all over but apparently enough other people do not, and a five-foot fence was the only way to get the message across.

I suppose the same ladders used to climb to the upper section were used to carve the petroglyphs.

The dark streaks are desert varnish, a mineral that's deposited slowly and often serves as canvas for rock art.

You can see how the upper level is somewhat protected from the elements.

This line of eroded rock was about thirty feet off the ground and interesting because of the stones piled up in a couple of the holes. Who? Why?

I met a nice young woman on the climb out, a traveling nurse from Alaska who was sightseeing before beginning her first assignment. She took this ever-so-flattering picture of me in all my sartorial splendor. In my world, dressing appropriately for the activity and dressing anywhere near fashionably are mutually exclusive conditions.

I expected to feel the spiritual 'pow' at White House that I've felt in other places, but didn't. Maybe it's like any other thing you expect to find or look for too hard - love, happiness, fulfillment -- whatever is missing in your life and think you desperately need to have right now - it's never where you think it should be. Just live, and it'll show up when you're ready. Maybe, probably, when and where you least expect it.

Thought of the day:

It's a good place when all you have is hope and not expectations. (Danny Boyle)