Thursday, August 5, 2004

The Cow Walked Over the Moon


Time to get shiny.

Back in the late 1980s, a former next door neighbor of ours from 13th Ave in Columbus, Ohio was the hippie, holistic veterinarian to the Hopi Nation.  He lived in Polacca, Arizona, over by First Mesa. His house smelled of animals and herbs. I was so allergic to something in there that I couldn't breathe (major asthma) by the time we left in the morning. Mark had a lot of friends among the Hopi.  They'd come over to his place and listen to rare Beatles records.

The Hopi Reservation is in northeastern Arizona, basically surrounded by Navajo territory. From Holbrook on I-40 / Route 66, there's a road (SR 87) that goes north.  Eventually you get to Hopi land that way. It's an interesting trip, full of mesas and big sky, and not many people. When we were up on first Mesa with Mark, it was like a trip back in time, except for the modern trash and the Hopi in t-shirts. It is a very old place, and by and large it hasn't changed all that much, as far as I can tell.  One man came out of his home carrying a kachina he hadn't quite finished making.  It was wonderful, but I didn't have the money.

If you go up there someday, you may want to make a brief stop along the way, to see a place nobody's heard of. Just 13 miles north of the Holbrook exit is the turnoff for the Little Painted Desert.  A visit to this obscure Navajo County park is like a day trip to the moon.

The Little Painted Desert doesn't have the (relatively) bright colors of its more famous National Park namesake, which is south of I-40. The county park version is basically gray.  That just makes it look more alien. The ground is caked and cracked, and hardly anybody goes there.  The day we found the place, for part of the time it was just John, me, Jenny Dog, and a cow.  The cow didn't venture down into the dunes and craters, or whatever you want to call them, but we did. I don't know whether you can find him, but John is in the lower left picture above. 

What else can I say?  It's an amazingly amazing place.


Welcome to Tucson!
Route 66 in 1986
Had Dog, Did Travel

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