Navajo National Monument

http://www.nps.gov/nava/index.htm

It’s amazing how time flies, but I’ve been in Kayenta for almost a year and a half.  To celebrate, Marshall and I went and recreated one of my earlier hikes.

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One of the first pictures Marshall saw of me.

Haha, not really.  To get to Kayenta, Marshall always passes the sign to Navajo National Monument.  Hoping that the ruins were open for the season, and looking for a short hike, we piled in to go visit.

Upon arriving, we learned that the guided tours to Betatakin were not opening for another month or so.  Still, we hiked around, having fun looking at the ruins from a distance.  One of my favorite trails, hands down, is Aspen Trail

Aspen Trail

DSC00756Who: Marshall and I

Where: Navajo National Monument

Difficulty: Depends on who you ask

Time: About half an hour

Navajo National Monument is worth the drive.  For one, it’s FREE!  (We love free in my family.) Secondly, they’ve done a good job building a museum to learn more about the area.  Third, they have some great books about the area, people, and wild life to buy.

Overall, the park has done a great job blending in how the natural scenery influenced the local people, from the Ancient Publoneans (to learn more about them visit the Butler Wash Hike) to the current Navajo people.

Overall the trail is a little more than a quarter mile long and starts off like this.

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Every trail I seem to go on starts like this.  It’s wonderfully smooth.  Blessedly level.  Then it becomes this.

DSC00762

 

Though this time I knew what I was getting myself into.  I’ve been to Navajo National Monument before, and I’ve hiked the Aspen Trail all the way down to the bottom of the canyon.  Due to seasonal closers, we would only be hiking about half way.

We couldn’t see the ruins at the bottom, but we did get a look at the Aspen relict forest.

DSC00768

 

The relict forest is a left over from glacier days.  Within the desert of the surrounding area, it looks like an oasis.  The forest provided many resources for the local peoples.

Overall, a fun hike.  I’m looking forward to hiking all the way to the bottom once the trail opens.  Stay tune!

Look familiar?

Look familiar?

BTW:  Marshall wants me to note that there are few inaccuracies about the plant labeling within the park.  Douglas-fir’s scientific name is Pseudotsuga menziesi, not whatever they have written down on the sign.

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