Updated: Apr 25
Canyon de Chelly National Monument while on contract in Fort Defiance Arizona (staying in Gallup, NM)
CAIRN TRAVELER VLOG | EP 35
Enjoy some vicarious adventure by following me this week to several National Parks sites on the Navajo Nation (now finally open since being closed for a very long time with COVID 19 restrictions). A brief stop by Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site and then some beautiful stops along the south and north loop roads at Canyon de Chelly - a truly astoundingly beautiful and unique place!! I also give some big updates on my running goals and progress.
Be creative and find your adventure this week!! ✌️😎
The Navajo Nation was hit incredibly hard by the COVID 19 pandemic and stringent precautions were taken under the guidance of public health to try to abate deaths - curfews, social distancing, public masking (in many cases remaining in effect long after surrounding states and municipalities had dropped this requirement), and vaccination campaigns. In any given pre-pandemic year, a drive through this jaw-dropping area would find the desert highways dotted with vender stalls selling food, jewelry, rugs, pottery, baskets, etc.; now these stall lay empty and quiet, tattered flags blowing in the wind. Annual gatherings and festivals much anticipated by the locals and by greater tourism were postponed indefinitely - The Gathering of Nations, the Navajo Nation Fair, and many yearly rodeos to name a few. Tribal-operated tourist sites and monuments closed for over a year, including National Park sites that lay within The Nation - these included some fairly well known locations such as Monument Valley, Havasu Falls, Antelope Canyon, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, and many others.
Towards the end of 2021 with COVID statistics finally improving some sites re-opened, including several fairly close NPS sites on the Nation that I had been unable to visit - Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site and the famous Canyon de Chelly National Monument - so coming towards the end of my contract in the area, I decided to seize the opportunity to visit these amazing sites.
Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site
Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site was a bit underwhelming. The visitor’s center was closed with almost no one in site. I felt a little self-conscious to walk around the trading post itself with no intention of buying anything - living full-time on the road and in an RV, I am very deliberate about what I buy to take home and try to keep to a minimalist aesthetic. That being said, gifts to send home to family are always an option. That being said, I just stopped to take a quick look around and hit my NPS passport stamp (which was conveniently kept outside) and then moved on. On that note, I never could figure out the passport book published by the NPS - I was always unsure if the intent was that you get a new one for every calendar year or just use the same one - I end up just using my pocket Moleskine calendar. I love this calendar, and have used it for the last 10+ years because it has the week on one side and a notes page on the other, conveniently letting you make notes next and in relation to the date.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Canyon de Chelly National Monument was truly a magnificent site and well worth the visit. While managed under the National Parks Service, this site also lies on the Navajo Nation (closest to the town of Chinle), with my homes, farms, and livestock areas in the canyon. The main hiking opportunity is the White House Overlook and Trail but as of the time I visited, this was closed due to safety concerns.
The monument has a scenic drive with a North and South Rim route. The South rim takes you past Tunnel Overlook, Tsegi Overlook, Junction Overlook, White House Overlook, Sliding House Overlook, Face Rock Overlook, and ends with the famous Spider Rock Overlook (which is one of the revered formations to be found on the “Welcome to the Great Navajo Nation” sign below as found in Window Rock).
The North Rim Scenic Drive will take you to Antelope House Overlook, Mummy Cave Overlook, and Massacre Cave Overlook. As with most national monuments (versus national parks), dogs are welcome on leash at the campground and at the overlooks so Hiker accompanied me for most of this visit. I highly recommend this site if you are in the area - these sites were the last of the closest NPS sites for me to visit but soon I will be taking a great road trip into southern New Mexico and Arizona to finish up the remaining NPS sites in that region as well.
Updates on Running Goals
Earlier in this week I ran the furthest I had ever run at 3.6 miles which technically completed the Couch to 5K program (App) I had been working on. However, I finished up with week with a 6.7 mile night run (and thus technically a 10K). It’s still my goal to actually run in a race by the end of the year #2021Goals but it’s awesome to know I can actually do it.
(The last five videos)
Editing: Adobe Premier Pro (Creative Cloud)
Music: Epidemic Sound, MUSICBED, Soundstripe, YouTube Music Library
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