I’m back in Illinois for the summer, and I’m sure I’ll have many more adventures here. Before I left my adopted home, I had to go exploring one more time. I had never wandered far beyond the Toes, so now was as good a time as any.
And I’ll be back in Kayenta soon. Plenty more places to explore in the great southwest.
Who: Marshall, the dogs, and I
Where: The Toes and beyond..
Time: Four hours, there and back
Now, I’ve talked about the Toes, that’s my normal hiking ground. And when I look at it, normally this is what I see, and what I show.
However, on this hike, I got to see a very different perspective of the dominate landscape of Kayenta.
The backside of the Toes
As always, I’m shocked by how photogenic my home is, almost always.
I hate climbing up the slate rock, so instead we decided to go around the base. Much more enjoyable, as we scrambled up several sand rocks. We would take breaks along the way. Typically we would go for a place shaded by the trees. The dogs would get drinks of water, and so would we.
Diesel almost caught a lizard. Marshall had pointed it out, and Diesel launched himself at it. For a second, the tail was underneath the paw. Slightly panicked at what would happen, Marshall got Diesel to let him go. For the rest of the hike, Diesel was convinced that he would catch one.
Once we got over the sand rocks, we reached a very different portion of the Toes. One that has more vegetation and a few more trees. And rocks, lots and lots of rocks. That Marshall insists on collecting. The joke between us is that typically during a hike, one’s pack grows lighter as they drink their water and eat their snacks. Marshall’s grows heavier as he finds chert and other rocks he wants to make into arrowheads.
I let him go on, and I took a break. I’m not the only one who has used the area as a place to rest. Or enjoy our beautiful weather. I don’t know who put the stone their, but I’m thankful to them.
We all did something interesting. Diesel continued to look for lizards while Bentley played spider dog. For a dog that hates heights, she likes to run up sandstone, and run back down it again.
Also, I fell in love with these trees, they smell like cinnamon. Marshall told me it’s name. I forgot it already.
After we were done playing in the ravine, we began hiking up to the top of the rock. Originally, I did not know it’s name. A friend had promised that the view was spectacular. Josh, told us the name once we were back with the rest of the civilization. However, we could have guessed.
Don’t they look pretty?
This slate rock was not much different than the slate rock up to the Toes. But on we climbed. We had fun doing it. Getting to the top felt like a huge accomplishment.
And we found out how Metallica rock received its name. Most of the structure is sand stone. Very easy to dig into. People felt the need to carve in their accomplishments, so that everyone else knew that they had gotten there. One man left a lengthy message, that he had travel from California, and dated it before the creation of the state of Arizona. Families carved in their initials. Locals, who have had practice in carving in the stone got a little more creative. The Metallica carving is the highest carving, giving the rock it’s name.
We left our own mark. Just our initials, no date. Leaving a date would mean I could never go back. I’m going back if just for the view.
There is a lot to see in the area, and it’s absolutely beautiful. Obviously the Toes can be seen, but also a few others as well. You can see El Capitan, the exact central location of the Navajo Nation. You can also see Owl Rock, way out there. I love to see both on my drives to Monument Valley. Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of accidents.
Owl Rock on the left and El Cap on the right
There is just a slight problem. Diesel loves climbing, he’s a little bit of a mountain goat. He’s spent some time in California running after a pack of dogs on Marshall’s family farm. Bentley still hates heights. Literally, we are enjoying the view, carving our initials in, and Bentley spent the entire time freaking out.
When it was time to start climbing down, Diesel would launch himself off the rocks. Bentley, we had to drag her off. I would push her, and Marshall would lift her up. Then my little, nervous dog would wrap her legs around his neck. Then she would whine, whine, whine, as if she was saying “Daddy, I’m scared. Take care of me please!”
When it was time to go home, we took another way out that we’ve never tried before. It worked, until we realized we were not very close to the bottom and had to slide down the side of some sand stone. Bentley and Diesel had fun running up and down. Marshall had an easy enough time sliding down, me not so much. Marshall has some better pictures, but I haven’t gotten them yet.
Of course we took our usual couple picture.
At the end of the day, this is what I got from my hike. A very tired puppy. I love my puppy