JamesMcGillis.com

HOME - SEARCH - SHOP - ABOUT - CONTACT

Chapter #107: The Four Corners States - Part 5 - December 30, 2008


The author's rig at Sunset Campground, Navajo National Monument, Arizona - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)

The Magic Gate - Part 5

Living in Harmony With the Natural World

 
Navajo National Monument
 
In Northeastern Arizona, fifty miles south of Kayenta, we stopped at the lightly visited Navajo National Monument.  Even today, with the lure of free camping, it rarely draws a crowd.  Leaving Highway 160 during our 1965 visit, we encountered a newly paved road covering the thirteen miles to the monument.  Like most National Park Service (NPS) roads of the era, the engineers designed it for minimum impact on its environment and for speeds of less than forty-five miles per hour.  Upon arrival at the monument, we found a new visitors’ center and a campground with about thirty spaces.  The older, more rustic campground remained unimproved.
 
Navajo National Monument is a misnomer, honoring the fact that early Anglo-American visitors associated its ruins with the Navajo Nation, within which its boundaries lie.  Craig Childs, in his 2007 book, House of Rain, identifies the area’s early occupants as the “Kayenta Anasazi”.  By 1300 CE, after only fifty Wild stallion at Navajo National Monument, Arizona - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)years of occupation, the Kayenta Anasazi abandoned these, among the last of their alcove dwelling sites.  Thus, the monument’s Betatakin and Keet Seel ruins rank with Mesa Verde and Hovenweep as the last redoubts of a vanished culture.  The spring-fed, relict forests in the monument’s canyons attest to the relatively recent drying of a once abundant environment.
 
In 2008, I again visited Navajo National Monument.  While camped there, I reflected on Edward Abbey’s words about the place, as written in, Desert Solitaire.  At the time, Abbey decried what he identified as the destruction of primitive areas throughout the Southwest.  This he blamed on the U.S. Department of the Interior, which had opened many new areas to automotive visitation.  Here are his words:
 
“Navajo National Monument.  A small, fragile, hidden place containing two of the most beautiful cliff dwellings in the Southwest – Keet Seel and Betatakin.  This park will be difficult to protect under heavy visitation, and for years it was understood that it would be preserved in a primitive way so as to screen out those tourists unwilling to drive their cars over some twenty miles of dirt road.  No longer so: the road has been paved, the campground enlarged and modernized and the old magic destroyed.”
 
Edward Abbey, author, anarchistTimes change, people change, but after his death in 1989 at age 62, Abbey's consciousness on earth evolved no further.  Abbey was both a naturalist and a sometimes naturist.  His gift was an ability to describe for his readers the natural wonders of America’s deserts and the Colorado River.  As a self-proclaimed anarchist, he waxed poetic in his fight with the federal government, which he saw as either disinterested or incapable of conserving those unique and unspoiled natural resources. 
 
Although his only documented anarchistic act was to pull up some road survey stakes at Arches, Edward Abbey often receives credit for inspiring such troglodytic and destructive groups as the Earth Liberation Front.  The counterculture energies of the 1960s coalesced around protest, as exemplified by the movement against the Vietnam War and “tree-spikers” in the Northern California Redwoods.  It was an age of “pushing against”, whose legacy is with us still.  Our “wars” on poverty, terror, drugs and teenage pregnancy are but a few examples of our vain attempts to fight against that which is intangible.
View of a golden sunset, Sunset Campground, Navajo National Monument, Arizona - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com) 
That morning, I sat quietly in the campground that Abbey decried as a modern abomination.  There, I opened a channel to Abbey’s non-physical consciousness.  Feeling that angst and anger at the time of his death may have trapped him in the near-earth realms, I asked his spirit to accompany me on a tour of the area.  Although there was no verbal or visual communication between us, I like to think that I allowed his spirit to see Navajo National Monument as I knew and loved it.
 
Bypassing the visitors’ center, we walked along the pathway towards the Betatakin (ledge house) Ruin, about a mile away.  In an attempt to protect these fragile alcove dwellings, the NPS placed its only Betatakin viewpoint on the rim of the canyon opposite the ruins.  If you visit, remember to take your field glasses.  Since Betatakin’s natural amphitheater amplifies sound energy, signs admonish visitors not to make loud noises.  As with the Walls of Jericho, a single loud noise could weaken or destroy this well-preserved pre-Puebloan settlement.
 
Returning on foot to Abbey’s despised campground, we found its thirty spaces artfully sited near the western edge of Sunset Mesa.  From its 7500-foot elevation, the terrain falls away gently for fifty miles, all the way to Lake Powell, Arizona.  The aptly named Sunset Campground provides among the longest views in the Four Corners.
Author Jim McGillis,  while traveling in the High Southwest, Colorado Plateau - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com) 
Even today, the campsites accommodate rigs no longer than thirty feet, so the larger RVs must go elsewhere.  Tap water is available, but there is no store, public shower or RV sanitary dump.  During his two summers at the old Arches National Monument, Abbey lived in a thirty-foot house trailer.  I smiled in disbelief that his spirit might wish to deny others a brief but similar physical experience in this beautiful place.
 
Later, as I drove away from Navajo National Monument, I reflected on the term “arrested decay”, coined to describe preservation activities at Bodie, a ghost town in California.  By limiting direct access to these sites, the NPS has done what it can to arrest the decay of ruins at Navajo National Monument.  From its visitors’ center to the roads, trails and campground, the NPS seems to have listened to Edward Abbey’s spirit.  After its 1960s improvements, the monument has changed very little over the past forty-five years.
 
As I departed Navajo National Monument, I found myself in agreement with Abbey on one thing.  Despite its supposed ruination in his time, I hoped that this serene and beautiful place would enjoy its current state of arrested decay long into the future.  Thank you, Edward Abbey for the true spirit of your work
 
Author's Note - December 2012: Thanks to filmmaker ML Lincoln, we shall soon hear again from the spirit of Edward Abbey in her new feature documentary, titled "Wrenched". For a synopsis of the movie, click HERE.
 
The Magic Gate
 The Santa Fe Railroad, old Route 66 Magic Gate, Flagstaff, Arizona - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)
In 1965, after two weeks in the Four Corners, my father and I again crossed through the magic gate, represented by the Santa Fe Railroad grade crossing at Flagstaff.  From there, we retraced our route back to Los Angeles.  After returning home, I entered my senior year in high school, then on to college and work life.  For the next forty years, as did our old snapshots, memories of the Four Corners faded from my mind.
 
Each year since 2004, I have made it a point to travel and live for a time somewhere in the Four Corners.  While writing this personal history at my home, near Los Angeles, I could feel the Four Corners calling to me.  Three months from now, I shall pack my belongings and enter again through the magic gate to what some call Indian Country and others call the Four Corners.
Email James McGillis
Email James McGillis

By James McGillis at 01:05 PM | Travel | Comments (0) | Link

Blog Search


 →  Recent Posts

BLM & SITLA - URLEA Subterfuge
Moab Pile to be "Moab Pit" - 2029
Moab in Springtime - May 2014
Old Mesquite, NV - Gone For Good
I-15 North - Mojave Desert Tour
Grand Co. Plans to Desecrate Site
Moab - County Plans Fail the Test
2014 - Quantum Leap in ATM Theft
Moab Kiley - Peaceful BLM Protest
Stop The BLM-SITLA Land Swap
Utah Recreational Land Exchange
Burro Cranes - A Complete History
Moab Burro at Seven Mile Canyon
Brightsource Solar's Flawed Design
Trend - Horsepower Mitigation Fees
2014 - Moab Rim Campark For Sale
Durango, CO - Engine #478 - 1965
Durango, CO - Engine #476 - 1965
Red Lake Trading Post, Tonalea, AZ
Deconstruction at Cow Springs, AZ
Cow Springs, Navajo Art - 2013
Navajo/Hopi, New Energy Dilemma
Peabody Coal Stripmine Disappears
An Arizona River Dies in the Desert
Black Mesa Coal - Water & Power
2013 - The Great Western Drought
Homolovi State Park, AZ - No Ruins
C.Proietto Paints at Lago Maggiore
American Bison Herd Threatened
I-40, Twin Arrows - Both Old & New
Interstate I-40 E. Highway Robbery
Simi Valley Brush Fire - Air Power
I-40: Highway Tax Dollars At Work
Kristi Frazier - World Citizen Award
Sierra Nevada, CA - 2013 Drought
Desolation Canyon Wilderness Area
The Holbrook Basin Potash Project
Moab - Revisit Seven Mile Canyon
Moab - Greater Canyonlands N.M.
Thomas Kinkade - Yosemite Valley
C.Proietto Paints Lugano, Gandria
Paso Robles, CA - Wine Adventure
Colorado River Dine & Unwind Moab
Kodiak 100 --> Moab Charter Flight
The True Cost of Mineral Extraction
Moab Truck - 1950 Chevy 3100
Disappearance --> Reemergence
Edward Abbey - His Spirit Returns
Edward Abbey - Monkey Wrenching
Edward Abbey - Lake Powell 1965
Edward Abbey - Desert Solitaire 65
A New Message From AAMikael
C.Proietto Paints Bad Kreuznach
New Jersey - The New Atlantis?
Moab - A Rare Beech B-45 (T-34A)
Howell Mountain, CA - Winemaking
Oakville, CA - Robt. Mondavi Wines
Crescent Junction, UT - in 1955
Craig Childs - Apocalyptic Planet
Mammoth Lakes, CA - 1st. Snowfall
Mesquite, NV - A Disappearing Act
The Mystery of Hovenweep Road
Moab Airport - Canyonlands Field
Moab, UT - Save Ken's Lake Puddle
Jeeps & Downtown Abbey in Moab
Moab Valley vs. Spanish Valley, UT
Moab, Utah - Go Behind the Rocks
Moab Adventure Xstream Race '12
Face on Mars - Is it John Lennon?
C.Proietto - Paints The Dolomites
Moab Tower - The Wireless Story
Brendel, Utah - A History Mystery
C.Proietto - New Mystery Painting
Tsunami Risks Up in Crescent Bays
"Moab Native" Potash Comments
C.Proietto - And The Glory of Rome
L.A. to Australia, by 34-ft. Sailboat
Interstate I-70 East through Utah
Mesquite, NV - Opportunity Lost?
Las Vegas, NV "Drive-by" - I-15N
Ivanpah Valley, CA - Mega-Solar
Pearblossom Hwy. - Palmdale Road
C.Proietto - Venice Sunset, Sunrise
24-Hours of Moab 2012 to Happen
C.Proietto - A Portrait of the Artist
AOL & Yahoo Mail Getting Hacked
ATM Retail Technology - New & Old
C.Proietto - Solving An Art Mystery
Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles, CA
Hollywood - To The Sign & Beyond
Hollywood - Legendary Paul Pink's
Kokopelli Credit Union - New ATM
#1 Google Ranking & How to Get It
C.Proietto - Two New Oil Paintings
LACoFD Truck 8 at Hollywood Bowl
I-405 Golden Crane Air Hazard
Beware: Hoax/Scam Phishing Sites
A Quantum Leap in Super PAC $$$
I-405 Mulholland Bridge Update
Moab Skydiving Video - May 2011
Tonopah Desert, AZ Thunderstorm
Anticline Overlook - Ancient Spirit
ATM Bank Robbery Now Easier Still
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Chaco Canyon - Kin Klizhin Sunset
Chaco Canyon - Kin Klizhin Ruin
Chaco Canyon, Spirit of Lizard Man
Chaco Canyon, NM - Campground
White Mesa, Utah - Uranium Mill
Hidden Costs in Biofuels Revealed
Arches National Park Threatened
Moab Rail - The U. P. Potash Local
Toxic Purple Dust Covers Moab, UT
U.S. Highway 191 in Moab, Utah
Kindle Fire Tablet vs. Nook Tablet
Ken's Lake 2011 Update, Moab, UT
24-Minutes of Moab Kids Bike Race
24-Hrs. of Moab, The Final Sunset?
24-Hours of Moab 2011 Race Start
24-Hrs. of Moab Race Live Webcam
The Long Run - Eagles Tribute Band
Petrified Forest, Going, Going, Gone
Nuclear Dust Storm Hits Moab, UT
Moab Rainbow - August 1, 2011
C.Proietto - The Man From Amalfi
I-405 UCLA Rampage - 11/22/66
Moab Rim RV Campark - 2011
C.Proietto Paints the Amalfi Coast
C.Proietto - Modern Impressionist
I-405 Mulholland Drive Bridge
Moab Pile - Countdown to Disaster
Wigwam Village - Holbrook, AZ
New Live Webcam from Moab, UT
Kathy Hemenway - World Citizen
Desert View Mobil - Needles, CA
Mojave Desert Transit in May 2011
Colorado River Basin At Risk - Ch.4
Holbrook, AZ Water Crisis - Ch. 3
Holbrook Basin, AZ Potash - Ch. 2
Little Colorado River Basin - Ch. 1
Port Orford, Oregon - Tsunami
Hope for Atlantis - Chapter 4
Future of Atlantis - Chapter 3
The New Atlantis - Chapter 2
Atlantis, Myth or Fact? - Chapter 1
Kevin Rutherford - Freightliner RV
WindSong - Ericson 35 Sailboat
Moab Pile - The Mill Tailings Train
Moab Pile - Here Comes the Flood
24-Hours of Moab 2010 - The Race
24-Hours of Moab 2010 - The Start
24-Hours of Moab 2010 - Pre-Race
Moab, Utah - Winter Snowstorms
Happy New Decade - 2011
Save Ken's Lake, Moab, Utah 2010
UPS Air - Moab, Utah Style
Crescent Junction & Brendel, Utah
Green River to Floy, Utah - Video
Moab Ranch - The Movie & Webcam
An Oregon Cascades Range Sunset
The Port at Port Orford, Oregon
Simi Valley, CA Two Live Webcams
Two New MoabLive.com Webcams
Ave. of the Giants, Humboldt, CA
Port Orford, OR - Of Bears & Deer
Goodbye Arizona - We'll Miss You.
Port Orford, OR - Home For Sale
Sun, Moon and the Chakras of Gaia
2010 Super Bowl Advertising
Navajo National Monument Sunset
California Redwoods Elk Herd
A New Decade - The 2010's Begin
Moab - Could Floods Happen Here?
Spanish Valley, UT - Wine & Water
24 Hours of Moab Race - 2009
CA - Rainforest or Dustbowl?
Edward Abbey House, Moab, UT
Kayenta, AZ to Blanding, Utah
U.S. Highway 89 N. to Navajoland
Quartzsite - Black Canyon City, AZ
Simi Valley, CA to Quartzsite, AZ
Phoenix, Moab, The Grand Canyon
Colorado River - A New Challenge
Moab, Utah - The Shafer Trail
2009 - Moab Live Webcam Update
Moab, Utah - Potash Road, Part 2
Moab, Utah - Potash Road, Part 1
SITLA Deal Threatens Uintah Basin
Wildfire Near La Sal Mountains, UT
Moab Ranch - Plasma Flow Event
Mill Creek Canyon Hike - Part Two
Mill Creek Canyon Hike - Part One
Memorial Day 2009, Burbank, CA
A Happy Ending for the Moab Pile?
The Old Spanish Trail - New Again
Mesquite, Nevada - Boom or Bust
Larry L. Maxam - An American Hero
Winter Camping in the Desert 2009
Theory of Everything - Part Four
Theory of Everything - Part Three
Theory of Everything - Part Two
Theory of Everything - Part One
Canyonlands Field, Moab, Utah
Access New Energy Now - 2008
The Four Corners States - Part 5
The Four Corners States - Part 4
The Four Corners States - Part 3
The Four Corners States - Part 2
The Four Corners States - Part 1
Moab Live - Streaming Webcam
Elton John T-shirt, Now Available
Arches National Park Threatened
BC Buckaroos Are Heading South
San Francisco, A New Energy City?
Seven Mile Canyon, Craig Childs
Matheson Wetlands Fire, Moab, UT
24-Hours of Moab Bike Race Finish
24-Hours at Moab Bike Race, Start
It is Time to Follow Your Passion
New York - The New Atlantis
Translate to Any Language Now
Marina del Rey, Summer Weekend
Seattle Shines in the Summertime
Oregon Battles With Itself - 2008
The Motor Yacht, Princess Mariana
Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park
The Mojave National Preserve, CA
Navajo National Monument, AZ
La Sal Mountains Loop Road, UT
Meet Krista and Mrs. Tipperwillow
The Moab Rim, Above and Below
Colorado Riverway Recreation, UT
Hovenweep - Twin Towers Standing
Aztec, New Mexico - Ancient Ruins
Kin Klizhin Ruin at Chaco Canyon
The Spirit of Pueblo Bonito, NM
Chaco Canyon, NM Sand and Rain
Homolovi Ruins State Park, AZ
Quartzsite-Salome-Wickenburg
ATM Bank Robbery Made Easy
Outstanding World Citizens, Fiji
Planning an Archetype Party
Sir Elton John - The Lost Concert
Start Writing Your Own Blog
My Unification Theory - 2008
Frito-Lay Beach-Trash Explosion
The Great Attractor, Revealed
Vibrational Thought & String Theory
The Long Run - Eagles Tribute Band
2006 Midterm Elections, Revisited
The Lost Mural of Denis O'Connor
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 -Part 10
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 9
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 8
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 7
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 6
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 5
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 4
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 3
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 2
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 1
MedIT Search Website, New eBook
Save Natewa Bay, Fiji Islands
The Fiji Islands - Paradise Lost?
Face on Mars - Is it John Carter?
How Water Helped Make The West
Yahoo! - Fighting Its Last Battle?
Helium Gas, Neither Earth nor Mars
Megatrend vs. Meganiche - 2007
German Hydrogen Bomb Ready
Passing The $100,000 Bill
Google Wins - Microsoft Withdraws
A.Word.A.Day, You Ought to Know
San Fernando Valley Winemaking
WindSong - The Book - Updated
Divine Inspiration, Or Nearly So
Going Down to the Depot
Japanese Win The "Space Race"
2007 eCommerce - Made Easy
Discovering The Great Reflector
Navajo National Monument, Arizona
Moab, Utah Memories - 2007
Fall Color, Silverton, Colorado
Autumn Equinox in the Rockies
Hasta la Vista, Taos, New Mexico
Megatrends 2010 - The Book
The Quantum Leap, New Mexico
Chaco Canyon Memories 2007
Flame-Out in Phoenix, Arizona
Annals of Homeland Security '07
Quartzsite, AZ - RV Camping
WindSong eBook - Now Ready
The Quantum Leap Celebration
Welcome to my new weblog 2007!

Categories:
Current Events
Environment
Fine Art
Moab, Utah
Personal Articles
Technology
Travel

‹‹ September 2014 ››
Wk M T W T F S S
36 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
37 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
38 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
39 22 23 24 25 26 27 28
40 29 30          


Please visit our other sites in the MoabLive network.

http://2guns.la - http://2guns.us - http://3dtsr.biz - http://3dtsr.com - http://aamichael.com - http://aamikael.com - http://burrocrane.com - http://carriemccoy.com - http://carriesmccoy.com - http://carriesmccoy.info - http://chacojim.com - http://cproietto.com - http://durangojim.com - http://durangorv.com - http://durangosteam.com - http://fijijim.com - http://g4mac.com - http://jamesmcgillis.com - http://jimmcgillis.com - http://jimmymcgillis.com - http://jmcgillis.com - http://kauaihike.com - http://kauaijeep.com - http://kauaijim.com - http://kauaimist.com - http://kauaipage.com - http://kauaipeak.com - http://kauaisea.com - http://kauaiview.com - http://kokopelli.tv - http://kundalinai.com - http://meditsearch.com - http://moab24live.com - http://moab4wheel.com - http://moababbey.com - http://moabaccess.com - http://moabairlines.com - http://moabapp.com - http://moabapple.com - http://moabasp.com - http://moabbank.com - http://moabbar.com - http://moabbeat.com - http://moabbest.com - http://moabbey.com - http://moabblue.com - http://moabbooks.com - http://moabboy.com - http://moabbud.com - http://moabbug.com - http://moabburro.com - http://moabcam.com - http://moabcamp.com - http://moabchic.com - http://moabcloud.com - http://moabcoast.com - http://moabcomp.com - http://moabcon.com - http://moabcondo.com - http://moabconey.com - http://moabcreek.com - http://moabdata.com - http://moabdeal.com - http://moabdrive.com - http://moabdub.com - http://moabdust.com - http://moabearth.com - http://moabestates.com - http://moabevent.com - http://moabfall.com - http://moabfan.com - http://moabfire.com - http://moabflex.com - http://moabfloat.com - http://moabgas.com - http://moabgirl.com - http://moabgold.com - http://moabgrid.com - http://moabgrill.com - http://moabguitar.com - http://moabhelp.com - http://moabhike.com - http://moabhot.com - http://moabhybrid.com - http://moabideas.com - http://moabinn.com - http://moabist.com - http://moabjava.com - http://moabjet.com - http://moabjim.com - http://moabjob.com - http://moabjog.com - http://moabkid.com - http://moablab.com - http://moablake.com - http://moablands.com - http://moablink.com - http://moablive.com - http://moabmini.com - http://moabminute.com - http://moabmoon.com - http://moabmove.com - http://moabmovie.com - http://moabnew.com - http://moabnow.com - http://moabold.com - http://moabpad.com - http://moabpage.com - http://moabpile.com - http://moabpipe.com - http://moabplay.com - http://moabpond.com - http://moabpool.com - http://moabportal.com - http://moabpot.com - http://moabpotash.com - http://moabpro.com - http://moabpub.com - http://moabradio.com - http://moabrail.com - http://moabrain.com - http://moabranch.com - http://moabrockart.com - http://moabronco.com - http://moabrun.com - http://moabrv.com - http://moabsaas.com - http://moabsand.com - http://moabsign.com - http://moabsite.com - http://moabsoap.com - http://moabspot.com - http://moabstory.com - http://moabsuite.com - http://moabsun.com - http://moabsurf.com - http://moabtalk.com - http://moabtent.com - http://moabtime.com - http://moabtoday.com - http://moabtop.com - http://moabtown.com - http://moabtrail.com - http://moabtrek.com - http://moabtruck.com - http://moabuzz.com - http://moabview.com - http://moabvip.com - http://moabvm.com - http://moabvpn.com - http://moabvw.com - http://moabwalk.com - http://moabwear.com - http://moabweb.com - http://moabwest.com - http://moabwild.com - http://moabwind.com - http://moabwine.com - http://moabwire.com - http://moabwired.com - http://moabwoman.com - http://moabyou.com - http://moabyou.info - http://moabyou.net - http://moabyou.org - http://niceroadtrucker.com - http://old-66.com - http://portorford.biz - http://renojim.com - http://sewerpac.com - http://simicam.com - http://twoguns.la - http://yumajim.com - http://zinfused.com




© 2007 JamesMcGillis.com - All rights reserved. | Contact Me | Privacy Policy | RSS | Atom | Admin | Design: Nicholas Savalas | Author | Publisher | Top