Day 4: 7:54 AM Chaco Canyon 1906 miles

This morning was beautiful. It was cool in the shade about 60°. People shuffling around about an hour before I got out of bed. I didn’t sleep too well last night, moon cramps and discomfort of my sleeping pad. I had too much Air in it so I let some out. Yesterday evening I went for a nice short hike on the canyon Overlook Trail. At the end of my hike, Fajada Butte was standing there, solitary in the sun rays. This Particular piece of rock is extremely magical to me. I could stare at it for days. I can’t remember the whole story, but I will find out here in a little bit once I get to the visitor center.  Ha there’s an information piece right here.
“Fajada Butte dominates the landscape. Expose rock layers reveal the regions geologic and human history.
Cliff House Sandstone forms the upper layer with deposits of fossil shells, clams, shark teeth, and marine sand. Menefee Formation forms the lower layers, combining silt stones and mud stones interbedded with sandstone, shale, and thin coal beds. This easily eroded formation undercuts the harder sandstone layer above, causing unsupported boulders to break off and continue the erosion process of Fajada Butte.
The Chacoan People used the various rock layers in their daily lives. They quarried sandstone for building materials, tools, and food processing (manos and metates). Cliff faces provided a place to record symbols and images. Fossils, shale, jet, and argillite where used for jewelry.
Fajada means belted or banded in Spanish and describes the black seam of lignite coal exposed midway up the Butte, dividing the Cliffhouse sandstone from the Menefee formation.”
… And this is my favorite part:
“The Chacoan People we’re ancient astronomers. Atop Fajada Butte, skywatchers commemorated the movement of the sun in the seasons. Sunlight passed between three Boulder slabs onto a spiral petroglyph to mark the sons position on the summer solstice, winter solstice, and the equinoxes.
The Chacoans had sophisticated knowledge of the sun and moon as shown by this and other sites. Sun watching continues to play an integral part in the Pueblo world. Pueblo people use such markers to plan their agriculture, to set the ceremonial calendar, to integrate the physical and spiritual world, and to seek balance and harmony for all people.
Our modern interest in this site may have forever impacted it. In 1989, researchers noticed that the light pattern on the spiral had shifted, due to the slight slipping of the slabs. This may have resulted from human caused erosion to the base of the rocks.”

9:40 AM sitting atop Una Vida, The closest petroglyph site to the visitor center here at Chaco. This particular site is largely unexcavated. It is much like it was in the late 1800s when it was first noticed by white man. Notice that I did not say discovered because it wasn’t discovered it was just noticed.
I met some people from San Diego on this trail. An older couple and told me that they might The opening up Chaco for speculation. I’ll be damned, Is nothing sacred? Obviously not to people who want to drill for oil. It’s absolutely disgusting because there’s so many other viable and renewable resources that we could use for electricity. Greedy bastards. I’m not all about preservation for the sake of preservation, but I am not about degradation for the sake of money. It’s just disgusting.

On a better note, I’m so glad to be here right now. Feels really good not to be driving, I have about a 5 1/2 hour drive in front of me today towards Page, Arizona, where I will meet up with Martin and we will have some dinner and catch up on old times. Martin was my roommate on my second southwest trip. He’s one of the most amazing and positive people I have ever met. His adventurous spirit has led him out here to the desert to live. He was an archaeology student in the anthropology program at Appalachian State with me. I’m really excited to spend some time and catch up with him.

Right now I’m watching a crow or Raven fly over me. I think out here they’re called ravens, because they’re really big. Which reminds me that I plan on getting a tattoo of a mountain, a raven/crow, and the moon and sun. My grandmother’s not gonna like where I want it on my forearm. But it’s not for my grandma. It’s for me and my happy places. The Raven on the mountain with the moon and the sun represent a part of my life. I know it’s all symbolic and shit, but I’ve learned that I need to center myself through my happy spaces in order to see that everything is temporary. Sometimes I can get lost in negative thoughts and visions intermingled with memories. Having those images on my forearm where I can see it them the time will help to remind me of where I’ve been. Where have been and all that I have come through with a strong and courageous spirit. Sometimes I need a reminder of my worth and that spirit. *sniff sniff*

10:05 AM MST man if there was water around here, still water, I’d be skipping stones like a champ.

10:50 AM MST so Chacoans had a creation story, story about where they come from, and I was thinking about what my story is. Where do I think I came from? I supposed my answer is scientific, it’s evolution I guess. I came from my ancestors who are as far as I know Scots Irish, English, and Cherokee. I don’t know how much of me makes up from any of those groups of people but that’s where I come from.

11:35 AM walking on Wijiji trail, got about halfway and decided to turn around. Two things: 1. Martin said he saw a bobcat here once 2. the sign said that it is not recommended to hike alone. I got a little spooked and didn’t want to take any chances. Smart people staying alive making smart decisions hopefully. Also when I was in the visitor center this lady asked about mountain lion mother who had cubs, she was seen just this December.  I’m not trying to be dinner today.

11:37 AM MST The song stuck in my head right now is “blonde in the bleachers” by Joni Mitchell. I was singing it earlier as I was walking back-and-forth from my car to the water area of the visitor center. Guy with long white hair got out of his truck and walked toward the waterhole while I was back at the car and he said “you have a beautiful voice thank you so much.” I don’t think I sang more than two or three lines… That was very sweet and encouraged me to continue planning on busking or performing in Bend or Portland or Seattle.

Well… Here comes the craziest road I’ve ever driven on.  20 miles.. well 8 miles shitty washboard dirt road. 21 miles to US 550 and 8 to 10 of those shitty wash for dirt road. I don’t think I can say enough how shitty this thing really. And when I told the camp host and I didn’t really really remember the road being so bad he said, “you should see it when it’s bad.”  Made me think how grateful I am that it has not been raining.
So I slept in talking again. That was one of my main goals for this trip, sleeping and waking up in Chaco and hiking a few miles. Siri keep saying taco which makes me laugh, but in the end I have to edit everything one of those tacos… I should make a video about how shitty this road is.
I just got a good chuckle I was going to speed of a bee.  I was keeping up with it or it was keeping up with me one or the other.

11:45 A.m. MST I’m still on the shittiest road. There was a sign back there please it said “livestock on the road please slow down” I’m going 10 mph if that, maybe five mostly. I don’t expect that they would want me to stop. Anyway that made me laugh. My stomach is hurting a little bit right now, could be because I decided to eat two packets of oatmeal this morning. A lot of sugar that I’m not used to eating.  …that could also be why my head hurts and hasn’t stopped hurting for a while. I think I need to change my road food diet.

1235 MST still on the road out of Chaco. Unfucking believable. I’m not trying to trash my car while driving on a shitty road so I’m going really slowly. My grandfather would be proud of me.

1240 MST p.m. finally back on a paved road, sort of. I’ve seen some ponies and some donkeys. I’m sure that none of them are wild but one would like to think that there are wild ponies out there

2:02 PM MST I am on highway 64 going west towards Shiprock,  just went through Farmington, New Mexico. I stopped for coffee and a bag of salt and vinegar potato chips. My back hurts, I’m not sure if it’s from not sleeping well or sitting in the car without proper lumbar support. I have a little pillow behind me now hopefully that will alleviate some of the problem. Spoke to Maw Maw today yesterday. I didn’t get to talk to her before I went to bed because I had no service at all. Today she has diarrhea. For the week and a half before yesterday she had not pooped since her surgery.  I know everybody probably doesn’t want to read about this but it’s really important to me! I hope that she feels better, I hope that she eats a lot of cheese and chills on that diarrhea nonsense.
I’m glad that I have Siri to spell diarrhea, it’s one of those words I can never get right.
So tonight will be the deciding factor about what happens next. I have to lay out the rest of my time out here on the West End of the country and look at how many days I have left and how much driving I want to do. San Francisco is the furthest west goal that I have I think. However Man that’s a lot of driving! I have a half a mind to skip San Francisco and go straight to Redwoods.

You guys are probably all like ha ha I knew she get tired of driving! Well you’re right. I get to take three or four days off in Bend Oregon. Looking forward to that.

2:10 PM excellent radio station outside of Farmington New Mexico, oldies 92.5. Damn fine station.

2:45 PM MST song title “I’m afraid I’m a dusty stone.” About not growing Moss, and about never knowing real love, and about never finding a life partner. Because of Wonderlust, because of fear of not being free.

Never mind that stations not as good as I thought, they play Rush.

104.1 is kicking ass right now at classic country music.

5000 feet elevation

64 W. just turned in the 160 W. I am now in Arizona. I’ve been everywhere man!

4:10 PM MST I am driving just south of Monument Valley. All of the mountains seem to be facing the same direction as if they’ve been windblown. It’s incredible to see, from a distance I’m sure that it’s different than being up next to them. I am blown away by this country side, everything is so big feeling, my body has the extreme fear of death, reminds me of the first time I got off the ski lift at a basin in Colorado. I can feel my feet tingling from the height. Out here the excitement is the same, everything is so huge that it makes me feel sort of indescribably small. I wish my grandparents were here to see this, I bet you five dollars my grandfather would say “now who do you think made that?” *big grin*

It’s hard to imagine an inland sea that is as high as some of these mountains are. Deep as the ocean is I’m sure.

I just had a craving for McDonald’s. I’m looking at the golden arches right now. But I am refusing my urge. I not only politically hate the fact that I have urges like that, but I also am going to have dinner soon. I don’t want to spoil my dinner with a fillet of fish sandwich no cheese extra tartar sauce…. yes I would like a small side of fries with that.

Mile marker 383 hwy 160… Sissy Hankshaw’s roadside attraction… tee hee ho ho

5:05 PM MST a while back I turned onto 98 which is about 65 miles to page Arizona. The sun is creeping in and out from behind the clouds, very nice there’s a huge mess of them in front of me.

6:20 PM MST I just decided on a Conway Twitty inspired voicemail message. For those of you who are interested and have my phone number you may call me and I won’t answer just so you can be entertained.

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