Into the Canyon
We got an early start and met outside in the parking lot. No one was there! That is unusual for our guides, as they are not only there, but there early.
I called, and they were on their way. With slim cell service in and around Canyon de Chelly, it is difficult to communicate.
“They closed the Canyon,” one of our guides reported.
“When will it reopen?”
“We’re not sure, but we are checking.”
Finally, news came in that the National Park Service has reopened the Canyon, and we piled into the 4WDs and took off.
It was muddy, no question. These drivers know the canyon and where the quicksand is.
We bumped and jounced along until finally, and with no surprise, we got stuck. We got carefully out of the car and picked our way to dryer ground. No one wanted to lose a shoe in the mud while the three drivers worked to free our guide’s 4WD. In the photo above, our driver is assessing the situation.
It didn’t take that long. After all, this isn’t the first time a car has gotten stuck in the canyon. We made it to our first location, First Ruins, and for the Navajo, “Last Ruins” when you are on your way out of the canyon.
Because of our late start, the light was too hot, but since we were there, we showed out group how to turn day into night.
We talked to the guides, and we agreed that it made much more sense to turn around and wait until things had dried out during the day. We would return late in the afternoon when the light would be good again. Our group all agreed, and we returned to Sacred Canyon Lodge to do our imaging and critiquing.
The light was, indeed, much better in the afternoon, and everyone practiced capturing the light. I worked with some to do some interesting images of mud.
The light shining off the wet surfaces was terrific, and I showed them a quick example.
Some people had the Navajo fried bread, cooked this time in olive oil. Arnie said it was the best he had ever had. Others also wanted to try it, but another small group had taken the last of it!
We loaded up and started back.
“Stop,” I said to our driver, “This is gorgeous.”
I walked back to the other two vehhicles, “Does this interest any of you?”
At first, it didn’t, but as more people took their cameras and tripods out, the rest couldn’t resist.
We wanted to save some of our contracted hours for the next morning, so we continued on. Everyone was in for a surprise treat.
Along the river, our guide gathered everyone around and said we should look at the water while he sang a song he wrote of The River Going Nowhere and beat his shallow drum. As he explained it, in the old days, no one knew where the river went. No one knew that eventually, it would go into the Colorado. In those days, it came and passed by where they lived. That was all they needed to know.
Everyone loved it and thought it was a great way to end the day.
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