Randy and Rob did such a great job with their descriptions of the hike... My strongest memories are of dusty reservation roads, sandy slopes, thorns and thistles, tunnels through the willows, and a grand sense of adventure. Sure, the threat of a dangerous wash crossing at Chinle Wash was non-existent, Mike didn't manage to sink into (or even find) ANY quick sand, and the most peril was actually to be had from getting whacked in the face by a tamarisk branch...
But the RUINS. Far more dangers and trials would have been acceptable to reach such a spectacular place. I was afraid to put down my foot for fear of crushing a pottery sherd. It felt as though the buildings had been abandoned only a few years ago, and the inhabitants may come back at any time, clear the willows, and begin again. Although we were disappointed that we had to share it at first, it wasn't long before the silence and solitude were complete.
The setting itself was wonderful, and would have been worthy of a hike all on it's own. The horseshoe bend of Chinle Wash around the red sandstone butte, the towering cliffs with streaks of desert varnish, the toothed texture of Comb Ridge.
Anne, Angela and I camped the night before at Navajo National Monument. It's a delightful campground with trees and lots of privacy (and it's free
) Definitely could have used my hammock, but sharing the HUGE cabin tent with the girls was just like an old-time sleep over - giggles, wine coolers and all. Temps the first night were down in the thirties, making it tough to get going in the morning. But Sat. night was delightful - had we been a little less tired, it might have been quite the party (no campfires at Navajo, though).
Other highlights: throwin' a Wendy with a wonderful bunch of people, full moonrise over Monument Valley, pork green chile Navajo Tacos, an ice-cold Boddington's at the trailhead (you're my hero Randy), a sandstorm in Tuba City and gale-force winds at Sunset Crater on the way home. Basically drove all but 100 miles of the whole length of the state in one long day... Arizona is SUCH an amAZing place to travel - we truly are blessed!