Kayenta – Arizona – Navajo Indian Hogan

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4th Ocotber 2015

….Continuing the whirlwind road trip through California, Arizona, Colorado, Texas,New Mexico, Louisana, Mexico and back to California.

We left Arcosanti and arrived in Kayenta in the evening . My daughter had booked a camping site  at a Navajo Indian reservation in Kayenta, Utah, with the intention of camping under the stars and watch the sun go down and rise in the morning  with the most spectacular views of Monument Valley. She had also planned a horse ride on this Navajo Indian reservation.

The property   owned by a Navajo Elder Emma  Becenti, now over 80 years old also has a ‘Hogan’  pronounced ‘Ho Gawn’) built entirely of logs  and covered with earth, that is  typical of a dwelling place built by the Navajo Indians in those early days. It has no windows and just one door. For those uncomfortable with no lights after sunset, a temporary electric extension is available.

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A  Navajo Indian Hogan

 

It is an interesting construction as you see from the inside. It has nine wooden pillars that  support the roof, represent the 9 months of a woman’s pregnancy. The ceiling is made up entirely of interlocking logs placed one over the other. I was told by one of its inhabitants who lived here, that this Hogan housed a family of 15!  He added, there was never a communication problem with us. Hogans are probably the only solution to end communication problems in families and between people. I tend to agree as in our family of 8, back in India where I come from, before moving to Australia, we just had one common large room  which served as a study and dormitory.

There are no attached  toilets or showers. You have to go outside come rain, sun or snow to a similar construction like an Australian ‘Dunny’.  WE were cautioned not to take personal belongings, like car keys phones, wallets etc, as the posibilty does exist of it disappearing down the well of a pit and irretrievable.

The pot belly stove has replaced a wood fire with smoke and fumes exiting through a large opening in the the roof of the Hogan. The floor is a hard clay.  There is a temporary  electric connection to this Hogan via a very long extension cord that connects to the dwelling nearby. Water is collected from a distribution centre about 6 kms away. So, taking lots of bottled water to a location like this is a must.

We came prepared with the usual must have camping gear, stove, head lights, air mattresses, etc.

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The weather  forecast for the night was not good with high winds and rain expected.  Did not look promising for camping .  The Hogan had already been taken and the prospect of a cold wet and windy night was not something we were  looking forward to.   We parked the Honda CRV and took an hour long walk  around the property to  take in the fantastic  views of the iconic sandstone Buttes  surrounded by red sands,  that dot Monument Valley. The clouds were building up thick and fast with occasional bursts of thunder and lightning. I took as many photos as I could  in the fading light. So the beautiful colours of the surrounding scenery may not look that good with the ISO and exposure beefed up a bit.

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Agathla Peak

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Soon after sunset we returned to where we were supposed to camp. The lady who runs the place said, that the booking for the Hogan had been cancelled and that we could have it for the night if we wanted to. We took it, as the storm clouds were getting close.. Mu daughter cooked up a  dinner on the portable stove we brought along,  and  shared it with the lady who manages the place.  The rain, lightning, and thunder  started just as we moved our things into the Hogan. Outside, amidst the thunder and lightning the horses and the dogs  were restless and looking for some place to shelter.

After breakfast we set off to Monument Valley in pouring rain.

Watch out for photos of Monument Valley  in the next post.

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The next morning we had a typical Navajo breakfast at the Navajo Elder’s home

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Emma, a Navajo Elder, with the jewelry she makes.

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Time for Breakfast

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