Monday, October 26, 2015

PETFO: Up to Canyon de Chelly.

  A change of scene as some friends flew in to meet us at Hubbell Trading Post and head North to Canyon de Chelly.  I'd chipped away at a few images, worked the 5X7 a bit, foot-walked around the desert, trapped mice, made coffee, watched light, binoc-ed up into the midnight Milky Way and begun to get a taste of the desert...but I hadn't really gotten traction yet.  Trying to find the right place to put my feet, if that makes sense.

  Friday morning, up the road to Hubbell we went.

  AIR at Hubbell last Spring.  A terrific two weeks though solo.  Katie didn't come.  I'm quite attached to the place.

  I've gotten used to it: that once I leave Texas, I never know what time it is.  New Mexico is an hour earlier than Tyler.  Arizona, in the Navajo Nation, observes Daylight Saving's time.  The rest of Arizona doesn't.  At the casita on the mesa at PETFO, your iphone would change time depending on where you were.  The North side of the mesa picked up reservation towers and went roaming.  Move around a peak to the South and you were off Daylight Savings on the tower from Holbrook.  The computer would have one time, the iphones another, the digital clock on the bedside table differed and the clock in the 4-Runner kept Texas time.  Not that it mattered much, as we were on the celestial clock, but I did begin every phone conversation to friends near and far by saying: "What time do YOU think it is?

Upstairs haybarn door at the Hubbell Trading Post.

Edison Eskeets, the Trader at the Hubbell lays out the rug lore.

In the Hubbell Residence.  They knew the importance of art and artists and have an incredible collection.  Every politician and important businessman that was in the territory came by to kiss the ring of Don Lorenzo Hubbell.

The residence kitchen.

  Fed the chicken sisters, climbed into the barn talked to the sheep and checked my local favorites.  Everything changes a little, all the time, so I could see it.  Hubbell has suspended AIRs but ought to be back in business next year.  It's a pretty good gig.

  At Chinle we were staying at the Best Western, partly because it is pretty good and partly because the Junction Restaurant is the best place to eat for a few hundred miles in any direction.  Once we were all in, off the White House trail we went.


Since 1972 I've packed up and down this trail.  It leaves me wide-eyed and visually staggered every time.   Never made the walk without a major fi;m camera...until today.

Trailside.  This is one of the most beautiful and spectacular trails in the Southwest.  Comparable but more human-scaled than the Mist Trail at Yosemite or Kaibab off the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  It's one of the few places you can enter the canyon without a guide.

Always catches my eye and has accumulated some sheet film over the years, but never printed.

Coming out of the tunnel at trail bottom.

Anasazi route up the rocks.

Canyon de Chelly system like the Louvre: A masterpiece around every corner.

Sam and Robert McKinney along the wall.

Root-sitting in slack-jawed amazement at White House.

White House.

Katie and I under an old friend and nemesis.  Never gotten a satisfying print of this shape, but always good to see it.

White House in last light.  Just a bare remnant of the magnificent structure that once stood here.  The Park Service keeps moving the fence out and trying to save what is left.  The wash has taken most of it.  When I first came here you could walk around in the lower ruin.  The wash has channelled itself, or the Park Service cut it deeper, on the far side of the canyon.  It used to be a wide and braided flow.  One Spring break, I had to take off my shoes, roll up my pants and wade the six-inch-deep water breaking ice with my bare feet while carrying my girlfriend piggy back along with all our gear.  Now there is a gorge and a bridge.

   Wish I'd made a 5X7 negative of that last late October light on White House.

Last light in the canyon.

The last bit as we switchback out way out.

Creative software running in the background.  Waiting for the scenery to start cracking open to see what else is possible.  As I was standing in the labyrinth at PETFO, underneath the mountain crust, cracking open cast owl pellets to examine little bones and skulls inside I had the feeling that I was just about to learn something new.

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