Much of the northeast quadrant of Arizona is both mostly barren desert, and also land under the independent domain of the Navajo Tribe. We had passed through it once before on the way to the Four Corners and Colorado. The Four Corners is that rather unique cross-hair boundary of four states that meet in a single point. The road to there from Flagstaff, Arizona is one of the most beautiful of the uncrowded highways of the USA.
Our original plan was to park on BLM, US government owned, land in southeast Utah, at the correct azimuth to put both the Mexican Hat rock formation and the eclipse in the camera frame. When we tried to pull in there, some lady had put up a road block and insisted on collecting forty dollars toll.
She claimed that she had mineral rights there and BLM didn’t have a right of way to their own land. We weren’t about to give that lying bitch forty dollars. On the other hand, we didn’t want to start an arguement with rural, Trump-supporting, southeastern Utah, rednecks.
We turned around and crossed back over into the Arizona Navajo Nation.
At the northern edge of the Navajo Nation desert, erosion has carved incredible sculptures from the once jutting peaks. This area is known as Monument Valley because it does look like someone has carved huge stone monuments and put them in a garden.
There, we found an awesome Native American who was trying to create a different experience with real Teepee accommodations. He also happened to have a few RV parking spots with hook-ups that he had just finished putting in. He turned out to be a spiritual, interesting man that we liked.
We felt so much better giving him the forty dollars. Like someone once told Ivan many years ago, “Trust the Universe. You are always exactly where you are supposed to be.”
Even better, we discovered an amazing place a short hike from his TP Village that would frame the eclipse beautifully. What Ivan failed to do though, was test his filter before hand. The variable neutral density filter he already owned just made a miserable, unnatural blue image that really sucked. So no pictures.
Oh well. Aaron sat in our van and sang us his Navajo welcome song. We were where we were supposed to be!