Today (April 10, 2014) I’m in an area of the Southwest that I’ve not spent much time in, after leaving Cedar Mesa and The Grand Gulch Primitive Area in Utah, yesterday morning (April 9, 2014).
I drove down the Moki Dugway off the mesa then down through Monument Valley and into The Navajo Nation so I could get groceries in Kayenta, which is a town within the Navajo Reservation.
I love driving roads like the Moki Dugway, and I especially love listening to the other folks talking about how their stomach was in their throat, and their blood pressure went up as they looked over the edge, it always makes me smile inwardly.
Anyhow, after getting groceries, I realized I’d have to drive a long way to camp that night, or stay at Navajo National Monument. I simply don’t feel comfortable driving into back roads on the reservation, not just for my own safety, but this is Navajo land and it is illegal for non-Navajo’s to camp on Navajo lands without a permit or in a campground. Also, many of these unmarked roads actually lead into their homes. It’s nothing like dispersed camping on BLM lands.
So I drove the nine-miles into Navajo National Monument, and was happy to see I had my choice of camp spots (and they are free).
Navajo National Monument has been a stop off for me a few times in the past, as there is such a long stretch of land with nowhere else to camp out here. When I turned into the camp ground, I felt a little release in my chest, and I heaved a sigh and relaxed. It was the same kind of feeling a person who lives in a house may feel when they get home after working all day, or after a busy day of hiking, or shopping. They walk into their familiar, safe and cozy home, kick off their shoes, and sit back to relax a while before making supper.
I always feel this when I pull into a familiar camp spot, even if it’s only a patch of dusty sand just off a dusty road.
At this camp ground I know there is a place to wash dishes, to dispose of trash. I know the bathroom is heated, and there is running water, and the best of all, I knew that when the sun set there would be a great view of it dipping behind the horizon, ready to light up someone else’s corner of the world.
It felt just like coming home, even if only for one night…
Roxy – a Nomad for Nature