Delmarva: A Shared Gem-Part 1

0

July 1, 2019, Onley, VA-

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The fitful man stood with his fists clenched and his body rigid, as I glanced over his son’s shoulder, for a split-second, whilst the boy was reading from a placard about flounder.  It occurred to me, momentarily, that a flounder was my my first caught fish, all those years ago, in Lynn Harbor.  I kept walking and found my own space, without any reaction to the father, who didn’t bother me further.

Such is Cape Charles, a magnet for tourists such as the above-mentioned, and a serene place for year-round residents. I came here, over the long bridge/tunnel from Hampton Roads, on the Virginia mainland.  This southern segment of the Delmarva region, more commonly called the Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay, is a mix of long peninsula and a myriad of islands.  Tangier, on the western (Chesapeake Bay) side, and Chincoteague/Assateague, on the eastern (Atlantic) side are the best known islands.

Cape Charles, at the tip of the peninsula, is the first place visitors see, once off the bridge.  It is, thankfully, not as commercialized as I had thought it would be, and great care has been taken to safeguard the “land’s end” area. This, and Hampton Roads, are the only places in Virginia where one can witness both sunrise and sunset, over open water.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The dunes are largely protected from foot traffic.  There is but one trail, along the periphery of the dunes and one trail over the mounds.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Bird nesting is encouraged, with the placement of platform buoys around the Bay.  Both piping plovers and gulls nest in the area.  Plovers, though, are ground nesters, and are endangered, so protective caging is placed around the nests, while the young are maturing.  Below, is a gull nest.

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Marsh grasses help filter runoff from creeks which empty into the Bay.

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This resort hotel is one of three in Cape Charles.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Cape Charles’ downtown did bustle, especially around the ice cream shops, on this sultry Sunday evening.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I found a comfortable, quiet little motel in the commercial center of Onley, in the middle of  Virginia’s portion of Delmarva.  A bit north of Onley is Accomack, one of the oldest settlements on the Eastern Shore.  Here is a view of the historic Court House.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I topped off the eastern Virginia excursion, with a visit to Assateague Island, part of Chincoteague National Seashore.  Chincoteague, in the language of the Delawarean (Lenape)  First Nations people who lived on the adjacent mainland, means “large stream” or “inlet”.  Assateague, in the same language, means “a river beyond” or “a running stream between”.  The two words were also used by Europeans to refer to two closely-related groups of Delawarean peoples.  The descendants of these nations are today living  in the area of Snow Hill, Maryland and in southern Delaware.

Two areas of interest on Assateague are the Lighthouse, which can accommodate groups of ten people at a time, and the Chincoteague Pony viewing stations.

Here are a few scenes of, and from, Assateague Light House.  It is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard, two members of which greet visitors, at the entrance and on the top viewing area.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Chincoteague ponies (feral horses) are well-known, around the world, in particular for their annual channel swims. This year’s is to take place on July 24.

Although it is now a human-coordinated event, the ponies probably swam without human encouragement, when the need arose for going between grazing areas on different parts of the island.  Humans may have contributed to the feral horses’ swimming behaviour, by erecting a fence between the Maryland and Virginia sections of Assateague.

 

Here are two scenes of the horses at the viewing point, early this afternoon.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

What appears to be a lone pony is actually a member of a group whose other members were on the move, when this was taken.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Finally, no visit to a resort in summer is complete without a visit to an ice cream parlour.  So, I stopped for a bit at Mister Whippy!

http://www.misterwhippy.com/

NEXT:  The First State’s Capital

 

 

The World In Harbour Town

2

June 27-28, 2019, Hilton Head Island-

I made it to Hilton Head Island, if only for a night and the better part of  a day.  Today was a very full day on the road, with a lunch stop at New Moon Cafe, in far-off Aiken.  I will go somewhat out of my way to visit New Moon, because it’s all about the ambiance. Today did not disappoint.

After a lengthy ramble through the Low Country, I spent an hour or so in Beaufort-first looking for the Gullah Geechee Cultural Center, only to find it had moved and was closed by the time I got to the new location.  The town’s renewed prosperity is reflected in its Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, named for the former mayor, whose passion was revitalizing the dockside area of this port city.  Time was, when “America First” advocates would point to Beaufort as a place where people fighting poverty and famine should “turn, first”, during the Africa Famine Relief campaigns of the late 1960’s.  That is not the case today.  Beaufort is coming back.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The sense of idyll is also found on Hilton Head Island, which I first visited with Penny and Aram, in 2007. On that particular day, torrential rain visited us, in the early morning. I opened the motel door, to find water at the level of the door stoop.  Fortunately, no alligators were present-as was the case earlier this year, with some other family members.  The property where we stayed in 2007 is now owned by Red Roof Inn.  The manager told me that drainage is still an issue for the property.  Tonight, though, the skies were clear and the ground dry.

I went over to Hilton Head Diner, where we had had pancakes for breakfast in ’07.  This time, I enjoyed dinner-a gourmet burger with waffle fries.  I sat at the counter, kibbitzing with one of the waitresses, Kim, and enjoying the tales of an island native named Mark.  His grandfather had built the causeway bridge that connects HH with the mainland.  After dinner, when I headed to my car, a local woman asked for help, in jump-starting her car. I found her battery had loose, rather poor connectivity. As Mark was a truck driver, I went back to the Diner and asked him for help.  He was able to rig a connection to her battery and we got her back on the road, in short order.

I found it necessary to pay admission to one of the staples of a Hilton Head visit:  Harbour Town, as the access is controlled by Sea Pines Resort- a golfer’s paradise.  I am not a golfer, but I like lighthouses and seaport areas and the day pass was reasonable, so in I went.  A light lunch at this relaxing patio bakery-cafe ensued.  The place was once the lighthouse keeper’s cottage.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Hanging moss abounds in the Low Country.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here is Hilton Head Lighthouse, now a gift shop, operated by Sea Pines, which charges admission for those wanting to climb to the top.  The woman on the left and her sons in front were willing to be included in the photo, for scale.

sam_2112.jpg

After walking around the area for several minutes, I came upon the same family looking at this unique boat.  Mystique is constructed almost entirely of teak and mahogany.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Hilton Head, like other parts of the Low Country, was once the domain of Gullah Geechee culture, which used a blend of several West African languages and English, and preserved much of the traditional culture of enslaved Africans in the area.  Scant traces of the culture remain on Hilton Head, save Mitchelville, on the northwest corner of the island.  There was not much going on in Mitchelville, as I headed towards Penn Center, the first school for freed slave children, after the Civil War.  That unique institution is still offering the children of the Sea Islands a solid and complete education, blending practical skills with state-of-the-art technology and consideration of today’s issues.

As for Mitchelville, I do not take photos of people, especially in impoverished areas, without their consent.  Penn Center, on St. Helena Island, was much more amenable to a photographic record.  It is the subject of the next post.

 

No Choo Choo In This Gig

2

June 24, 2019, Chattanooga-

I stopped here, “en route” from Crossville to Knoxville, as I have driven on through this fascinating city, several times, on the way to this or that appointment- when going from Atlanta to Nashville or Knoxville.  My idea was to visit at least one of Chattanooga’s Big Three:  Ruby Falls, Lookout Mountain Summit and Rock City. Ruby Falls got the nod, as it sits off by itself, whereas the other two are  closer together.  Of course, I could have walked the steps up to the Summit, after the two hours or so spent underground, but the heat was lingering-so, another time. Ruby Falls and Rock City are equally pricey-each is $21.95 for an adult; a package runs $43.50.  There is also the “obligatory” photograph, taken before one is allowed into the cave.  In the end, one can choose to purchase the photo ($40 per person/group) or, as I did, say “No thank you”.

The cave is privately-owned, thus the entrance fee.  It is, though, well worth the time and money, to see the deepest underground waterfall in North America.  ( I think VietNam has one that is actually deepest on the planet.)  Several tour options are available- I took the Classic Waterfall Tour, with a group of about twenty people.  Down we went, 26 floors, via elevator.

Here is some of what we saw, in Leo Lambert’s boyhood playground-which he later named for his wife, Ruby, after exploring professionally with a team of spelunkers.

Leo had to crawl, for seven hours, through places like this, to reach an area where he could actually stand.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Crystal deposits added a magical sense to his meanderings. (The blue lighting, of course, was added by the family, later.)

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It looks like this stalactite is actually holding up the cave, but it just kept on going downward, until it met the ledge.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here is where Mr. Lambert was first able to stand up, after seven hours of crawling.  I don’t know as my circulation would allow for that.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Below is one of the few formations which people are allowed to touch, and even sit.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Leaning Tower actually does resemble the landmark in Pisa, though it’s not subject to shifting ground.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This looks like it came out of a pasta maker.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Imagine tobacco, drying in the sun.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This looks like a frozen waterfall, but it’s more mineral deposit.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Falls!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It was for this, that the Lamberts opened the caverns to the public, in 1929- a year when Americans needed all the comfort they could get.  So this afternoon, 24 of us stood, 1,120 feet underground, and marveled at what nature has put together.  It’s not Niagara, but it’s subterranean.

This is one place that Chattanooga Choo Choo isn’t going.  Once off the mountain, though, I took an hour to check out downtown and get some fine ramen, with bubble tea on the side.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBack up to Knoxville it was, afterwards. I had seen a news report about a gas station robbery, on the east side, a day or so ago.  I ended up at a motel just down the street from that gas station.  No worries, though-people just did their own thing and left me alone, for a comfortable night’s sleep.

Life goes on.

NEXT:  The Little Town That Almost Became Home Base

 

 

Lighthouse, Shimmering In The Heat

0

June 18, 2019, Amarillo-

I made it a point to stop here today, for two reasons.  One was my old Xanga buddy, Wes, and his ties to the Amarillo that was.  The other was Lighthouse Trail, in Palo Duro State Park.  I always meet the most delightful people, through both Wes and Palo Duro.  Today was no exception.

Texas Tidbits (Wes’ old Xanga moniker) suggested a meet-up at Smokey Joe’s, which I recall as a most delightful spot.  The cutest, and toughest, little lady was our server last time.  Her co-worker, J, was our gracious and ever-attentive hostess, on this fine afternoon.  We sat around for about an hour, while I savoured a Tex-Mex burger, and solved at least some of the issues that plague mankind.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Now, I could sit in the presence of Wes and the ladies, for hours on end, but my hiking legs would not forgive me for such self-indulgence.  So, I bid pardner adieu and set off for Palo Duro.

Upon arrival, the lovely and friendly ranger pointed out that many folks had been their before me, snapping up all the campsites. No worries here, though.  The main point of my visit was that Light House in the desert, shimmering as it was, in the heat.  I brought enough water to fuel a truckload of cattle, and set off on the six-mile round trip.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Capitol Peak and an unnamed “human” figure loom in the near distance, before the trail to Light House Rock veers to the right.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Other magnificent formations grace the way to Light House.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The first close-up view of the Light House formation, came as I reached the crest of the only real ascent of the hike.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here they are, one at a time.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This shows the actual distance between the two rocks.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

As the first rumblings of a storm were heard, I took this last close-up.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Whilst I was doing this, another man was contenting himself with climbing a path to the top of the rock on the left.  He spent several minutes there, fortunately getting down, as the skies darkened and racing up the path, to avoid the rain.

As I was walking back, I met a young couple with a dog, and pointed out to them that the storm was getting much closer.  They deiced to head back and stayed with me to the parking area.  E and M are a delightful pair, reminding me of my son and daughter-in-law.  We noted the lushness of the surrounding area, as a sign of the copious rain that the Panhandle has enjoyed this Spring.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We got back to our cars, just as the rain was intensifying.  No sooner was everyone safely inside the vehicles, than hail started falling-furiously.   Yet, once we got to the park entrance:  Voila!  The sunshine returned.  With no camping site, I drove back to Amarillo, and have a room at Camelot Inn and Suites.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Yes, another good day was had in the desert!

NEXT:  When Armies Wear Each Other Out

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Day for Setting Example

4

June 16, 2019, Grants, NM-

I told myself that this summer, I would not zip through the astonishing red rocks and juniper of northern AZ and New Mexico, so today, I set a limit of the 62.4 miles that lie between Gallup and this old mining town, which is struggling to redefine itself.

I began Father’s Day, last night actually, with a roughly forty-minute conversation with my son and daughter-in-law, reassuring me that all is well with them, and vice versa.  This morning, a light breakfast of yogurt, from the grocery store across from Lariat Lodge, seemed quite sufficient.  Afterward, the first order of business was a visit to the lobby and garden of El Rancho Hotel, Gallup’s premier historical property and a favourite of many of Old Hollywood’s great figures- from James Stewart to Claude Akins.  Several photos line the wall of the second floor of the lobby.  Here is an introduction to El Rancho:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESGallup has made itself a haven for Dineh, Zuni, Acoma and Apache artists looking to sell their crafts.  Armando Ortega and his family were among the first to offer marketing services to First Nations artists in the area.  The Ortegas have sponsored this alcove display, in the center of the first floor lobby.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Even the outdoor benches are adorned with intricate design.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

From here, it was time to head towards the rocks, specifically El Malpais National Monument, just south of Grants. In 1985, Penny and I took two sons of a then-recently departed friend to this area, camping overnight at the privately-owned Bandera Volcano (extinct), as a respite for his widow.  In the years since, the road has been a shortcut, when I have driven between Phoenix and Albuquerque.

Today, it was my Father’s Day present to myself, to explore the eastern portion of the Monument, some forty miles past the volcano.  The sandstone formations near Zuni-Acoma Trail are as majestic as any in the southwest. Whilst taking in these marvels, I fixed and ate a sandwich. This would prove to be of dire consequence.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

After visiting the Ranger Station, I doubled back to Sandstone Bluffs Overlook.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Although the storm clouds looked threatening, the rain held off until I was back in Grants.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The series of holes, that are visible in the center of this frame, were actually bored by molten lava, during the last eruption of McCartys Crater, some 3000 years ago.  They are known, collectively, as Chain of Craters.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Of more ancient vintage is Mt. Taylor, seen to the north.  It is one of the Four Sacred Peaks which are revered by several First Nations in the area. Mt. Taylor has been inactive for millions of years.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Lichen have absorbed into the sandstone, over the centuries, giving some parts of Sandstone Bluffs the appearance of having been painted.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Whilst sandstone is not slippery, its delicate nature means it can be broken easily, especially close its seams.  All walking on rock surfaces requires close attention to what lies underfoot.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

While heading towards La Ventana Natural Arch, I spotted this remnant of an early rancher’s attempt at settlement.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

La Ventana is a continuation of Cebolita Mesa’s exquisite base, which we saw earlier, near Zuni-Acoma Trailhead.  This is older sandstone than that at the Bluffs.  There were several other people here, including a grandfather, his son and three grandchildren.  Grandpa was teasing the two younger kids about jumping off the rock on which they had climbed.  Of course, he and Dad each helped the kids get off, but it was amusing to watch the little ones’ initial reaction of “AWWW, GRANDPA!!”

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This balancing rock evokes a visitor from another world.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here are two views of La Ventana, itself.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

A close look at this wall of Cebollita Mesa seems to show two faces. I am curious as to what you, the reader, sees here.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The area west of Cebollita Mesa is covered with lava beds.  These range from just north of I-40 to the Lava Falls Area, thirty-six miles southward.  They extend, east to west, for about twenty-five miles.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Once back in Grants, I was starting to feel a drag on my system.  Nonetheless, being Father’s Day, I was determined to get one good meal.  There being no locally-owned cafe open,near the Sands Motel (another Route 66 establishment registered as a National Historic Site), I chose the reliability of Denny’s.  The salmon and vegetables were very nicely done, as was the cup of soup.  I hydrated plentifully, as well.

Back in the motel room, I will only say that I dealt with my ailment as I had always taught my son to do- in  mature and responsible manner. I felt much better afterwards and Father’s Day was only mildly interrupted.  I had maintained my example, though, even if no one was around to notice.  That is what the day really signifies.

NEXT:  A Return to the Duke City

 

The Treasure Road

4

June 15, 2019, Gallup-

The fine thing about a diverse landscape such as that of the Navajo Nation is that one can experience five forms of weather, as well as of scenery, in the span of thirty minutes.

I left Canyon de Chelly around noon, heading for the small college town of Tsaile.  This is the site of the main campus of Dine College, the Dineh’s highest resident institution of learning.  It offers eight Baccalaureate programs and is led by Dr. Charles Roessel, a member of one of the area’s most distinguished educational families.

The place today, though, was the realm of crickets.  Being a Saturday, in summer session, everyone except a lone security guard seemed to be elsewhere. Here are a couple of scenes of that splendid silence. First, the Library.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The centerpiece sculpture is of life-sustaining maize.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

There are two mountain ranges in this part of the Dineh Nation. Here is a view of the Lukachukai Range.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

As I left Tsaile, the road led to its sister village:  Wheatfields.  The two share a single Chapter, in terms of jurisdiction.  Wheatfields is home to one of the Navajo Nation’s most popular recreation sites:  Wheatfields Lake.  Along the way, there are the buttes and peaks of the southern flank of the Lukachukai Range and the norther flank of the Chuskas.  Below, is a view of Tsaile Butte.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Not far to the south is Red Butte.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here is  a  view of Wheatfields Lake.  It was crowded with fisherfolk and water’s edge vacationers.  Unseen here, a storm front was approaching from the west.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The road next led through a small sliver of New Mexico.  The two Chapters, Crystal and Red Mesa, were significant to Penny and me, as a vibrant and forward-looking family of Baha’is had branches in each community, in the 1980’s and ’90’s.  I fondly remember the Coes, their bread truck office and its early-model Word Processor; then, there were their elders, the Belshaws, with a wealth of natural foods knowledge and holistic health tips.

Here is Red Mesa, near the village of Navajo, NM (Red Mesa Chapter).

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Treasure Road (my term) comes to an end in Window Rock, the administrative seat of the Navajo Nation.  A serene park encompasses the town’s namesake.

Here are some views of this unique red sandstone promontory, with its signatory arch.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The park also feature a memorial to the Navajo Code Talkers, whose service during World War II was instrumental in the U. S. defeat of the Japanese Imperial Forces.  The Navajo contingent was the largest of several groups of Native American teams, who used their languages to convey information in a way that would not be decipherable by the enemy.  There are five living Navajo Code Talkers, as of this writing.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

With this, I headed to Native American Baha’i Institute, briefly saying a round of prayers and careful not to disturb several work projects, then headed here, to this bustling community that lies in the midst of the Navajo Nation.  It was time to sleep, at the Lariat Motel.

NEXT:  A Checkered Father’s Day

Canyon de Chelly:The Land Still Thrives

7

June 15, 2019, Chinle-

After a comfortable night in my tent, I spent the morning hiking White House Ruins Trail, the only unguided hike into Canyon de Chelly.  The route takes one down to a properly fenced off ruin, with various formations, images and a working farm (no photographs allowed) along the way.

Without further ado, let the pictures speak for themselves.  First, a couple of views from the overlook:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The trail starts flat, then quickly gets steep.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

There are two tunnels along the trail.  This is the smaller one.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The trail looks messy, but is actually well-maintained.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Some reinforcing has been needed, over the years.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The canyon is watching.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This verdancy allows many Dineh to farm here, at the Canyon’s bottom.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Caves abound-or they are watchmen?

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Grey gypsum and turquoise are embedded in the sandstone, at this particular spot.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here is the second tunnel.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Even ants need picnic benches.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Camellias add a nice touch to the canyon bottom.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This majestic tableau rises above the working farm I passed.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Chinle Wash is flowing mildly, but steadily.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

After a leisurely hike, here they were:  White House Ruin, built by Ancestral Puebloans, around 1060 A.D. and occupied continuously for 200 years afterward.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The walk back up was not at all hard, with a couple walking slightly ahead of me, and stopping for occasional conversation, then moving along for their own private reflections.

This was my fourth time hiking White House Trail ,and certainly the most well documented.

NEXT:  The Road to Window Rock

The Art of Encouragement

2

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESJune 14, 2019, Ganado, AZ-

During the course of the tortuous process of incarceration, known as The Long Walk, white America showed itself to be of two minds, regarding the Dineh (Navajo) people.  There was the idea that, by removing Dineh, the resources of the area in which they lived would be available to the “Greater Nation”.   President Lincoln also retained the distrust and dislike of First Nations people, which he had carried since his participation in the Indian Wars of 1818-20.  He did not have to be cajoled into signing off on this travesty.

In all of this, an even-handed, but not easily-swayed, Dineh leader named Totsohnii Hastiin (“Man of the Big Water”) resisted incarceration, initially, fleeing to the Grand Canyon and living among his paternal relatives, who were Hopi.  He learned of his people’s suffering at Fort Wingate, and so surrendered, after a time.

When the Dineh were allowed to return to their traditional homes, by President Andrew Johnson, in 1868, some Euro-American traders, especially those of Spanish or Mexican ancestry, were allowed to approach the First Nations people, to establish trading rights.

One of these was a New Mexico native, John Lorenzo Hubble.  He settled with his family in a small Dineh settlement called Pueblo Colorado.  There, Chief Totsohnii established a friendship with “Don” Hubble (Don is a Spanish term of respect for a man of means.) In time, the village of Pueblo Colorado became regularly confused with the large town of Pueblo, Colorado. The people chose to rename their village as Ganado, after Chief Totsohnii’s common title, Ganado Mucho (“many cattle”).  Both names stuck, and today the great leader is remembered as Ganado Mucho.  The village has become a thriving crossroads commercial center.

An essential part of Ganado’s growth has come from the trading post established here, by John Lorenzo Hubble, in 1878.  Hubbell lived here with his family and actively encouraged Dineh artisans to sell their jewelry and wool rugs, two trades they had learned from the Spanish and which they had perfected over nearly a century.  His trading post became a model for others, throughout the Navajo Nation, and nearby First Nations communities.

Today, Hubbell Trading Post remains a working concern, whilst also being preserved in the National Park System, as a National Historical Site.  Here are some scenes of this special establishment.  Below, is the side entrance to the Main Trading Post.

 

SAM_1640.JPG

On the ceiling of the “Jewelry Room”, one sees baskets of many First Nations, who traded them with Mr; Hubbell and continue to trade with the present-day proprietors.

 

SAM_1641.JPG

The cradle board, examples of which are shown below, was essential for Dineh mothers to carry their infants, both during their work in the fields and along the Long Walk.  It is still used today, by traditional Dineh women.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

In these corrals, the Churro sheep that are so essential to Navajo weaving, as well as for the mutton that is integral to the Dineh diet, are penned.  Churro mutton is one of the Heritage Foods, recognized by Slow Food International, in its work to maintain a diversity of foods for the human race.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Horses, also beloved of Dineh, as beasts of burden, are also corralled here.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I got a chance to briefly look inside the home of the Hubbell family, now preserved by the National Park Service.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The unique tree stump carving below, was commissioned by the  Hubbell family, as proof of  the range of Dineh artistry.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This hogan-like octagonal cottage housed artists who were commissioned by Mr. Hubbell.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Hubbell family members are buried on this hill, which is off-limits to the public.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The property also shares a Veterans Healing Trail, a serene walk of about 3/4 mile, with the Chapter of Ganado.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It ends at this Peace Tree, on Ganado Chapter property.

SAM_1673.JPG

This first real effort, at bringing heretofore inimical peoples together, has served as an ongoing example of just how our our interests, both common and divergent, can serve as an example of alternatives to conflict.

NEXT:  Canyon de Chelly, As Viewed From the Rims.

Where Affirmation Started

6

June 14, 2019, Keams Canyon, AZ-

Two months ago, after I left my full-time work, I got a text from a long-time friend, from the Navajo Nation.  Her uncle, another long-time friend, had died, and the family needed my help with his funeral.  I was to offer a final prayer, to which I agreed.  I did the service, in a small cemetery on this isolated, but starkly beautiful location.

Another member of the family lives near the cemetery and invited me to visit him, when I was next in the area.  There was no better time for this, than the start of the Summer, 2019 road trip, so I came up here yesterday evening and spent the night in his nicely furnished and solidly-built ranch style home.

It does my heart good to see Indigenous people have access to the same quality of life that people in other ethnic groups have.  I don’t see the point in anyone being left out.  For too long, First Nations have taken the leavings of the majority population.  This is changing, mostly for the better.

Coal Mine Canyon is one of the least-visited parts of Arizona. Infrastructure is non-existent though a graded road made it possible for me to take some photos of the canyon, from its south rim.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This last looks like the Earth is watching!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I continued on, this morning, to the Hopi Nation, visiting a former co-worker, briefly, then upon finding there was no social dance in her village, this weekend, I continued on over to Keams Canyon, where what has turned out to be one of the two really rewarding positions I ever held, started, in August, 1992.  It’s certainly arguable that I should never have left Cedar Unified, but here we are.  I felt affirmed as a school counselor, more than I did in any other position.  Affirmation began in Tuba City, near Coal Mine Mesa, and continued both at Jeju National University and here.  I still feel validated by my First Nations friends.

Here are a couple of views of the inner area of  Keams Canyon, now largely abandoned.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

There used to be a trail that led from Keams to a part of the nearby Dineh settlement of Jeddito, to which we moved in 1993, after living in Keams for a year.  The trail, like much of the settlement has been redirected elsewhere.

NEXT:  Hubble Trading Post and Its Impact on Navajo Arts and Crafts

Home Base

7

June 12, 2019-

Tomorrow, I will head up for a few days in another of my heart homes – Dineh/Hopi.  Yes, there are many of those, and this Home Base is one.  The road will then curve eastward.

In the meantime, life goes on here in Prescott-with a vengeance.  Many of you may be taking journeys of your own, over the next few months, and I can say time spent in this area is well worth the drive, or flight (Ernest A. Love Regional Airport is expanding its own “wings”, with more destinations offered by its tenant carriers).  So, let me go all Chamber of Commerce on you.

I’d offer my own Home Base on Airbnb, but it’s a tiny place and the landlord would not be happy.  So, I recommend either of two hostels:  Prescott International, on McCormick Street. (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g31323-d4309329-Reviews-Prescott_International_Travelers_Hostel-Prescott_Arizona.html) or House in the Pines Hostel, on Virginia Street, two blocks west of my place, actually(https://www.hiphostelaz.com/).  There are a couple of great boutique hotels:  The Grand Highland, right smack downtown, on Whiskey Row (https://www.grandhighlandhotel.com) and Hotel Vendome, one block south of downtown, on Cortez Street (https://www.vendomehotel.com/).  There are two grand hotels:  Hassayampa Inn, on the corner of Gurley and Marina, is a premier spot for jazz in the courtyard (https://www.hassayampainn.com/) and Hotel St. Michael, on the north end of Whiskey Row, at the corner of Montezuma and Gurley, is a prime meeting place for locals and visitors alike. (http://www.stmichaelhotel.com/).  The chains have fine reps here, as well:  Hampton Inn, Marriott and Spring Hill Suites are either downtown, or within a short drive.  An independent hotel, Forest Hills Suites, is near the Marriott, east of town.

Now, the entertainment part:  Nature calls, pretty loudly, here, if you’ve seen my earlier posts.  The man-made lakes- Goldwater, Lynx, Watson, Willow and Granite Basin are all great for fishing, kayaking, canoeing and picnicking.  Lynx Lake has a paddle boat concession, as well.  Each of these has good trail systems, so the hiker is bound to feel happy.  Speaking of which, mountain trails abound, at all levels of difficulty, from Peavine Trail (easy) to Granite Mountain and Mt. Union (strenuous).  In between, are Thumb Butte, Prescott’s signature landmark, west of downtown and Granite Dells, a warren of trails, north of town, and mostly on private land, but generously shared with the public.  I have enjoyed most of the trails available here, over the past eight years.

Indoors?  Lots of good stuff here, too.  We have Elks Theater, in a restored grand opera house and Prescott Center for the Arts, in a restored church.  Both are downtown.  The Courthouse Plaza has many evening concerts, during the warmer months and street festivals abound, particularly on weekends.  Yavapai College, on the east side of town, and Prescott College, slightly northwest of downtown, offer many artistic events, as well.  YC hosts Prescott Farmers Market, on Saturday mornings (7:30-12).  Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, 5 miles north of downtown, has an Observatory open to the public.  Sharlot Hall Museum is a must, for anyone seeking to understand Prescott’s history.

Now for the  brew.  I don’t imbibe alcohol, but there are more places to sit and hoist a few than this post has space.  A  few, for which I can vouch:  Matt’s, The Bird Cage, Rickety Cricket and Lil’s are all on Whiskey Row.  The Raven Cafe, one of my favourite restaurants and music venues, also has a full bar.  Brewery/Restaurants also are in no short supply:  Prescott Brewing Company, Granite Mountain Brewing, Coppertop Alehouse, Barley Hound-you get the picture.  Coffee is also in plethora:  Wild Iris, Ms. Natural’s (my absolute fave restaurant, as well), The Porch, Frannie’s (also has great frozen yogurt and pastries), Cupper’s, Firehouse Coffee, McQueen/Rustic Pie (also a  food fave), Method (on the north side of town) and Third Shot (in Gateway Mall, three miles east of town) are a few who come to mind.

Prescott’s Eats?- I mentioned Ms. Natural’s (The owner and a couple of the servers are personal friends and the name says it all, with regard to the fare).  Rustic Pie, Shannon’s Gourmet Deli, Dinner Bell Cafe, El Gato Azul, Rosati’s, Two Mamas Pizzeria, Chi’s Cuisine and Bill’s Pizza are all relatively small venues, but well worth a try.  So, too, are the larger places- Murphy’s, Gurley Street Grill, The Office, Rosa’s Pizzeria, Lone Spur, Bill’s Grill, Zeke’s Eatin’ Place (in Frontier Village, east of town), Park Plaza Liquor/Deli.  Other spots abound, so have fun exploring.

Finally, a few words about the periphery.  Prescott Valley, our sister town, is worthy of a day or two of exploration all its own.  It’s a lot of strip malls to take in, but they have a warm feel about them.  Rafter Eleven is a superb place for wine, coffee and dipping oils, located a block north of Highway 69, off Glassford Hill Road.  Backburner Cafe is on the north side of town, at the corner of Robert Road and Spouse.  Further east are:  Dewey-Humboldt, with Leff-T’s Steak House and Casa Perez Family Restaurant, plus a cute “Main Street”, at Humboldt; Mayer, with Flourstone Bakery and Arcosanti, a fascinating eco-architectural establishment.  Northwards is Chino Valley, with Danny B’s Seafood Cafe and the fascinating  Garchen Buddhist Institute, about seven miles east on Perkinsville Road (The access road is narrow, windy and steep in places).  Westward lie Kirkland, with its own steakhouse, replete with sawdust on the floor and bowls of unshelled peanuts on the table and Yarnell, with some interesting antique shops, Shrine of St. Joseph and, south of town, Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park, where one may hike five miles or so, to the site of the tragic 2013 fire, which claimed the lives of 19 Wildland Fire Fighters, paying respects along the way. Nichols West Restaurant, in Congress, at the base of Yarnell Hill, is a fine place to replenish oneself, after such an outing.  Finally, fifteen miles northeast, on Highway 89A, is the mountain town of Jerome, with Haunted Hamburger, Mile Hi Grill, Bobby D’s BBQ, Flatiron Coffee House, Jerome State Park and an inn that was once a brothel. The road, both east and west of town, is not for the faint of heart-yet the streets are routinely packed with visitors from Phoenix, Scottsdale and all over.  Get there early.

This is my longest post ever, I know, but Home Base is worth every word.