NORTHERN NAVAJO NATION FAIR - SHIPROCK, NEW MEXICO
The first week of October signals the start of one of the oldest and most anticipated traditional events on the Navajo Nation, the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock, New Mexico.
Started 102 years ago by the Northern Navajo Nation Agency and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the fair began as a harvest celebration. It has grown well beyond its simple beginnings, and now brings in crowds in excess of 50,000 from around the Four Corners and all over the country  to engulf the normal population of just over 8,000.
The four-day fair schedule showcases what makes the area so unique; from the crowning of this year’s Miss Northern Navajo, the tarp and plywood restaurants of traditional and contemporary foods, powwows, an Indian arts and crafts market, and the occasional Yeti sighting. The biggest draws are the Ye’ii Bi’ Chei ceremony, a nine day healing ritual held on the edge of the fairgrounds, and the legendary parade.  
Running for several miles through the heart of Shiprock, the parade is a gigantic affair. With more than 400 entries, it lasts over four hours. For the two days prior to the fair, people stake out their parade spots with pickup trucks, caution ribbon and tents.   
On the morning of the parade, Shiprock is covered in a sea of people and the atmosphere is absolutely euphoric as the first banner comes down the highway leading a marathon of floats, politicians, bands, royalty and endless showers of candy.
Editor’s note: For more on the event from James, see more parade pictures, more fair pictures, and some great band videos.
Guide note: For more information on the annual, Northern Navajo Nation Fair, visit their website, www.nnnfair.com. For more news from the Shiprock Navajo community, check out Jinii Newz Channel 00.
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NORTHERN NAVAJO NATION FAIR - SHIPROCK, NEW MEXICO
The first week of October signals the start of one of the oldest and most anticipated traditional events on the Navajo Nation, the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock, New Mexico.
Started 102 years ago by the Northern Navajo Nation Agency and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the fair began as a harvest celebration. It has grown well beyond its simple beginnings, and now brings in crowds in excess of 50,000 from around the Four Corners and all over the country  to engulf the normal population of just over 8,000.
The four-day fair schedule showcases what makes the area so unique; from the crowning of this year’s Miss Northern Navajo, the tarp and plywood restaurants of traditional and contemporary foods, powwows, an Indian arts and crafts market, and the occasional Yeti sighting. The biggest draws are the Ye’ii Bi’ Chei ceremony, a nine day healing ritual held on the edge of the fairgrounds, and the legendary parade.  
Running for several miles through the heart of Shiprock, the parade is a gigantic affair. With more than 400 entries, it lasts over four hours. For the two days prior to the fair, people stake out their parade spots with pickup trucks, caution ribbon and tents.   
On the morning of the parade, Shiprock is covered in a sea of people and the atmosphere is absolutely euphoric as the first banner comes down the highway leading a marathon of floats, politicians, bands, royalty and endless showers of candy.
Editor’s note: For more on the event from James, see more parade pictures, more fair pictures, and some great band videos.
Guide note: For more information on the annual, Northern Navajo Nation Fair, visit their website, www.nnnfair.com. For more news from the Shiprock Navajo community, check out Jinii Newz Channel 00.
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NORTHERN NAVAJO NATION FAIR - SHIPROCK, NEW MEXICO
The first week of October signals the start of one of the oldest and most anticipated traditional events on the Navajo Nation, the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock, New Mexico.
Started 102 years ago by the Northern Navajo Nation Agency and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the fair began as a harvest celebration. It has grown well beyond its simple beginnings, and now brings in crowds in excess of 50,000 from around the Four Corners and all over the country  to engulf the normal population of just over 8,000.
The four-day fair schedule showcases what makes the area so unique; from the crowning of this year’s Miss Northern Navajo, the tarp and plywood restaurants of traditional and contemporary foods, powwows, an Indian arts and crafts market, and the occasional Yeti sighting. The biggest draws are the Ye’ii Bi’ Chei ceremony, a nine day healing ritual held on the edge of the fairgrounds, and the legendary parade.  
Running for several miles through the heart of Shiprock, the parade is a gigantic affair. With more than 400 entries, it lasts over four hours. For the two days prior to the fair, people stake out their parade spots with pickup trucks, caution ribbon and tents.   
On the morning of the parade, Shiprock is covered in a sea of people and the atmosphere is absolutely euphoric as the first banner comes down the highway leading a marathon of floats, politicians, bands, royalty and endless showers of candy.
Editor’s note: For more on the event from James, see more parade pictures, more fair pictures, and some great band videos.
Guide note: For more information on the annual, Northern Navajo Nation Fair, visit their website, www.nnnfair.com. For more news from the Shiprock Navajo community, check out Jinii Newz Channel 00.
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NORTHERN NAVAJO NATION FAIR - SHIPROCK, NEW MEXICO
The first week of October signals the start of one of the oldest and most anticipated traditional events on the Navajo Nation, the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock, New Mexico.
Started 102 years ago by the Northern Navajo Nation Agency and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the fair began as a harvest celebration. It has grown well beyond its simple beginnings, and now brings in crowds in excess of 50,000 from around the Four Corners and all over the country  to engulf the normal population of just over 8,000.
The four-day fair schedule showcases what makes the area so unique; from the crowning of this year’s Miss Northern Navajo, the tarp and plywood restaurants of traditional and contemporary foods, powwows, an Indian arts and crafts market, and the occasional Yeti sighting. The biggest draws are the Ye’ii Bi’ Chei ceremony, a nine day healing ritual held on the edge of the fairgrounds, and the legendary parade.  
Running for several miles through the heart of Shiprock, the parade is a gigantic affair. With more than 400 entries, it lasts over four hours. For the two days prior to the fair, people stake out their parade spots with pickup trucks, caution ribbon and tents.   
On the morning of the parade, Shiprock is covered in a sea of people and the atmosphere is absolutely euphoric as the first banner comes down the highway leading a marathon of floats, politicians, bands, royalty and endless showers of candy.
Editor’s note: For more on the event from James, see more parade pictures, more fair pictures, and some great band videos.
Guide note: For more information on the annual, Northern Navajo Nation Fair, visit their website, www.nnnfair.com. For more news from the Shiprock Navajo community, check out Jinii Newz Channel 00.
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NORTHERN NAVAJO NATION FAIR - SHIPROCK, NEW MEXICO
The first week of October signals the start of one of the oldest and most anticipated traditional events on the Navajo Nation, the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock, New Mexico.
Started 102 years ago by the Northern Navajo Nation Agency and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the fair began as a harvest celebration. It has grown well beyond its simple beginnings, and now brings in crowds in excess of 50,000 from around the Four Corners and all over the country  to engulf the normal population of just over 8,000.
The four-day fair schedule showcases what makes the area so unique; from the crowning of this year’s Miss Northern Navajo, the tarp and plywood restaurants of traditional and contemporary foods, powwows, an Indian arts and crafts market, and the occasional Yeti sighting. The biggest draws are the Ye’ii Bi’ Chei ceremony, a nine day healing ritual held on the edge of the fairgrounds, and the legendary parade.  
Running for several miles through the heart of Shiprock, the parade is a gigantic affair. With more than 400 entries, it lasts over four hours. For the two days prior to the fair, people stake out their parade spots with pickup trucks, caution ribbon and tents.   
On the morning of the parade, Shiprock is covered in a sea of people and the atmosphere is absolutely euphoric as the first banner comes down the highway leading a marathon of floats, politicians, bands, royalty and endless showers of candy.
Editor’s note: For more on the event from James, see more parade pictures, more fair pictures, and some great band videos.
Guide note: For more information on the annual, Northern Navajo Nation Fair, visit their website, www.nnnfair.com. For more news from the Shiprock Navajo community, check out Jinii Newz Channel 00.
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NORTHERN NAVAJO NATION FAIR - SHIPROCK, NEW MEXICO
The first week of October signals the start of one of the oldest and most anticipated traditional events on the Navajo Nation, the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock, New Mexico.
Started 102 years ago by the Northern Navajo Nation Agency and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the fair began as a harvest celebration. It has grown well beyond its simple beginnings, and now brings in crowds in excess of 50,000 from around the Four Corners and all over the country  to engulf the normal population of just over 8,000.
The four-day fair schedule showcases what makes the area so unique; from the crowning of this year’s Miss Northern Navajo, the tarp and plywood restaurants of traditional and contemporary foods, powwows, an Indian arts and crafts market, and the occasional Yeti sighting. The biggest draws are the Ye’ii Bi’ Chei ceremony, a nine day healing ritual held on the edge of the fairgrounds, and the legendary parade.  
Running for several miles through the heart of Shiprock, the parade is a gigantic affair. With more than 400 entries, it lasts over four hours. For the two days prior to the fair, people stake out their parade spots with pickup trucks, caution ribbon and tents.   
On the morning of the parade, Shiprock is covered in a sea of people and the atmosphere is absolutely euphoric as the first banner comes down the highway leading a marathon of floats, politicians, bands, royalty and endless showers of candy.
Editor’s note: For more on the event from James, see more parade pictures, more fair pictures, and some great band videos.
Guide note: For more information on the annual, Northern Navajo Nation Fair, visit their website, www.nnnfair.com. For more news from the Shiprock Navajo community, check out Jinii Newz Channel 00.
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NORTHERN NAVAJO NATION FAIR - SHIPROCK, NEW MEXICO
The first week of October signals the start of one of the oldest and most anticipated traditional events on the Navajo Nation, the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock, New Mexico.
Started 102 years ago by the Northern Navajo Nation Agency and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the fair began as a harvest celebration. It has grown well beyond its simple beginnings, and now brings in crowds in excess of 50,000 from around the Four Corners and all over the country  to engulf the normal population of just over 8,000.
The four-day fair schedule showcases what makes the area so unique; from the crowning of this year’s Miss Northern Navajo, the tarp and plywood restaurants of traditional and contemporary foods, powwows, an Indian arts and crafts market, and the occasional Yeti sighting. The biggest draws are the Ye’ii Bi’ Chei ceremony, a nine day healing ritual held on the edge of the fairgrounds, and the legendary parade.  
Running for several miles through the heart of Shiprock, the parade is a gigantic affair. With more than 400 entries, it lasts over four hours. For the two days prior to the fair, people stake out their parade spots with pickup trucks, caution ribbon and tents.   
On the morning of the parade, Shiprock is covered in a sea of people and the atmosphere is absolutely euphoric as the first banner comes down the highway leading a marathon of floats, politicians, bands, royalty and endless showers of candy.
Editor’s note: For more on the event from James, see more parade pictures, more fair pictures, and some great band videos.
Guide note: For more information on the annual, Northern Navajo Nation Fair, visit their website, www.nnnfair.com. For more news from the Shiprock Navajo community, check out Jinii Newz Channel 00.
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NORTHERN NAVAJO NATION FAIR - SHIPROCK, NEW MEXICO
The first week of October signals the start of one of the oldest and most anticipated traditional events on the Navajo Nation, the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock, New Mexico.
Started 102 years ago by the Northern Navajo Nation Agency and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the fair began as a harvest celebration. It has grown well beyond its simple beginnings, and now brings in crowds in excess of 50,000 from around the Four Corners and all over the country  to engulf the normal population of just over 8,000.
The four-day fair schedule showcases what makes the area so unique; from the crowning of this year’s Miss Northern Navajo, the tarp and plywood restaurants of traditional and contemporary foods, powwows, an Indian arts and crafts market, and the occasional Yeti sighting. The biggest draws are the Ye’ii Bi’ Chei ceremony, a nine day healing ritual held on the edge of the fairgrounds, and the legendary parade.  
Running for several miles through the heart of Shiprock, the parade is a gigantic affair. With more than 400 entries, it lasts over four hours. For the two days prior to the fair, people stake out their parade spots with pickup trucks, caution ribbon and tents.   
On the morning of the parade, Shiprock is covered in a sea of people and the atmosphere is absolutely euphoric as the first banner comes down the highway leading a marathon of floats, politicians, bands, royalty and endless showers of candy.
Editor’s note: For more on the event from James, see more parade pictures, more fair pictures, and some great band videos.
Guide note: For more information on the annual, Northern Navajo Nation Fair, visit their website, www.nnnfair.com. For more news from the Shiprock Navajo community, check out Jinii Newz Channel 00.
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NORTHERN NAVAJO NATION FAIR - SHIPROCK, NEW MEXICO
The first week of October signals the start of one of the oldest and most anticipated traditional events on the Navajo Nation, the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock, New Mexico.
Started 102 years ago by the Northern Navajo Nation Agency and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the fair began as a harvest celebration. It has grown well beyond its simple beginnings, and now brings in crowds in excess of 50,000 from around the Four Corners and all over the country  to engulf the normal population of just over 8,000.
The four-day fair schedule showcases what makes the area so unique; from the crowning of this year’s Miss Northern Navajo, the tarp and plywood restaurants of traditional and contemporary foods, powwows, an Indian arts and crafts market, and the occasional Yeti sighting. The biggest draws are the Ye’ii Bi’ Chei ceremony, a nine day healing ritual held on the edge of the fairgrounds, and the legendary parade.  
Running for several miles through the heart of Shiprock, the parade is a gigantic affair. With more than 400 entries, it lasts over four hours. For the two days prior to the fair, people stake out their parade spots with pickup trucks, caution ribbon and tents.   
On the morning of the parade, Shiprock is covered in a sea of people and the atmosphere is absolutely euphoric as the first banner comes down the highway leading a marathon of floats, politicians, bands, royalty and endless showers of candy.
Editor’s note: For more on the event from James, see more parade pictures, more fair pictures, and some great band videos.
Guide note: For more information on the annual, Northern Navajo Nation Fair, visit their website, www.nnnfair.com. For more news from the Shiprock Navajo community, check out Jinii Newz Channel 00.
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NORTHERN NAVAJO NATION FAIR - SHIPROCK, NEW MEXICO
The first week of October signals the start of one of the oldest and most anticipated traditional events on the Navajo Nation, the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock, New Mexico.
Started 102 years ago by the Northern Navajo Nation Agency and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the fair began as a harvest celebration. It has grown well beyond its simple beginnings, and now brings in crowds in excess of 50,000 from around the Four Corners and all over the country  to engulf the normal population of just over 8,000.
The four-day fair schedule showcases what makes the area so unique; from the crowning of this year’s Miss Northern Navajo, the tarp and plywood restaurants of traditional and contemporary foods, powwows, an Indian arts and crafts market, and the occasional Yeti sighting. The biggest draws are the Ye’ii Bi’ Chei ceremony, a nine day healing ritual held on the edge of the fairgrounds, and the legendary parade.  
Running for several miles through the heart of Shiprock, the parade is a gigantic affair. With more than 400 entries, it lasts over four hours. For the two days prior to the fair, people stake out their parade spots with pickup trucks, caution ribbon and tents.   
On the morning of the parade, Shiprock is covered in a sea of people and the atmosphere is absolutely euphoric as the first banner comes down the highway leading a marathon of floats, politicians, bands, royalty and endless showers of candy.
Editor’s note: For more on the event from James, see more parade pictures, more fair pictures, and some great band videos.
Guide note: For more information on the annual, Northern Navajo Nation Fair, visit their website, www.nnnfair.com. For more news from the Shiprock Navajo community, check out Jinii Newz Channel 00.
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info

NORTHERN NAVAJO NATION FAIR - SHIPROCK, NEW MEXICO

The first week of October signals the start of one of the oldest and most anticipated traditional events on the Navajo Nation, the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock, New Mexico.

Started 102 years ago by the Northern Navajo Nation Agency and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the fair began as a harvest celebration. It has grown well beyond its simple beginnings, and now brings in crowds in excess of 50,000 from around the Four Corners and all over the country  to engulf the normal population of just over 8,000.

The four-day fair schedule showcases what makes the area so unique; from the crowning of this year’s Miss Northern Navajo, the tarp and plywood restaurants of traditional and contemporary foods, powwows, an Indian arts and crafts market, and the occasional Yeti sighting. The biggest draws are the Ye’ii Bi’ Chei ceremony, a nine day healing ritual held on the edge of the fairgrounds, and the legendary parade. 

Running for several miles through the heart of Shiprock, the parade is a gigantic affair. With more than 400 entries, it lasts over four hours. For the two days prior to the fair, people stake out their parade spots with pickup trucks, caution ribbon and tents.  

On the morning of the parade, Shiprock is covered in a sea of people and the atmosphere is absolutely euphoric as the first banner comes down the highway leading a marathon of floats, politicians, bands, royalty and endless showers of candy.

Editor’s note: For more on the event from James, see more parade pictures, more fair pictures, and some great band videos.

Guide note: For more information on the annual, Northern Navajo Nation Fair, visit their website, www.nnnfair.com. For more news from the Shiprock Navajo community, check out Jinii Newz Channel 00.

* * *

At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.

NAVAJO RUG AUCTION - TOTAH FESTIVAL - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Navajo weaving is the mother of all Native American trade in the Southwest. Every year, from metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, to tiny and remote Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo artisans take part in the tradition of rug auctions.
After the failed Pueblo Rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, many Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico fled Spain’s brutal retaliation by going to live among the Navajo. The Pueblo Indians brought with them weaving technology and sheep, specifically the Churro, a small sheep with long clean wool—perfect for weaving—that the Spanish had introduced.
The 1800s brought the arrival of Anglo settlers, trading posts and the railroad to the Western frontier. Soon enough, the rest of the world discovered the beauty and complexity of Navajo weaving.
Today the Navajo Nation can be divided into 13 weaving regions, each with a distinctive style. ”Two Grey Hills” rugs reflect the muted colors of the desert. These rugs are often made with hand carded wool and dyed using local plants. ”Pictorial” rugs portray day-to-day life. “Tree of Life” rugs are thought to be derived from sand paintings and show birds perched on corn or trees. The most widely known style is “Ganado” rugs with their red backgrounds and terraced diamonds and zigzags.
Rugs at these auctions can go from as low as $25 for a small piece to tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more intricate designs. Many people on the Navajo Reservation derive some portion of their income from the sale of arts and crafts and these events are a direct way to expose an often geographically isolated seller to buyers from around the world.
Guide Note:
See the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction for yourself in Crownpoint, New Mexico. 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO RUG AUCTION - TOTAH FESTIVAL - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Navajo weaving is the mother of all Native American trade in the Southwest. Every year, from metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, to tiny and remote Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo artisans take part in the tradition of rug auctions.
After the failed Pueblo Rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, many Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico fled Spain’s brutal retaliation by going to live among the Navajo. The Pueblo Indians brought with them weaving technology and sheep, specifically the Churro, a small sheep with long clean wool—perfect for weaving—that the Spanish had introduced.
The 1800s brought the arrival of Anglo settlers, trading posts and the railroad to the Western frontier. Soon enough, the rest of the world discovered the beauty and complexity of Navajo weaving.
Today the Navajo Nation can be divided into 13 weaving regions, each with a distinctive style. ”Two Grey Hills” rugs reflect the muted colors of the desert. These rugs are often made with hand carded wool and dyed using local plants. ”Pictorial” rugs portray day-to-day life. “Tree of Life” rugs are thought to be derived from sand paintings and show birds perched on corn or trees. The most widely known style is “Ganado” rugs with their red backgrounds and terraced diamonds and zigzags.
Rugs at these auctions can go from as low as $25 for a small piece to tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more intricate designs. Many people on the Navajo Reservation derive some portion of their income from the sale of arts and crafts and these events are a direct way to expose an often geographically isolated seller to buyers from around the world.
Guide Note:
See the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction for yourself in Crownpoint, New Mexico. 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO RUG AUCTION - TOTAH FESTIVAL - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Navajo weaving is the mother of all Native American trade in the Southwest. Every year, from metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, to tiny and remote Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo artisans take part in the tradition of rug auctions.
After the failed Pueblo Rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, many Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico fled Spain’s brutal retaliation by going to live among the Navajo. The Pueblo Indians brought with them weaving technology and sheep, specifically the Churro, a small sheep with long clean wool—perfect for weaving—that the Spanish had introduced.
The 1800s brought the arrival of Anglo settlers, trading posts and the railroad to the Western frontier. Soon enough, the rest of the world discovered the beauty and complexity of Navajo weaving.
Today the Navajo Nation can be divided into 13 weaving regions, each with a distinctive style. ”Two Grey Hills” rugs reflect the muted colors of the desert. These rugs are often made with hand carded wool and dyed using local plants. ”Pictorial” rugs portray day-to-day life. “Tree of Life” rugs are thought to be derived from sand paintings and show birds perched on corn or trees. The most widely known style is “Ganado” rugs with their red backgrounds and terraced diamonds and zigzags.
Rugs at these auctions can go from as low as $25 for a small piece to tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more intricate designs. Many people on the Navajo Reservation derive some portion of their income from the sale of arts and crafts and these events are a direct way to expose an often geographically isolated seller to buyers from around the world.
Guide Note:
See the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction for yourself in Crownpoint, New Mexico. 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO RUG AUCTION - TOTAH FESTIVAL - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Navajo weaving is the mother of all Native American trade in the Southwest. Every year, from metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, to tiny and remote Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo artisans take part in the tradition of rug auctions.
After the failed Pueblo Rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, many Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico fled Spain’s brutal retaliation by going to live among the Navajo. The Pueblo Indians brought with them weaving technology and sheep, specifically the Churro, a small sheep with long clean wool—perfect for weaving—that the Spanish had introduced.
The 1800s brought the arrival of Anglo settlers, trading posts and the railroad to the Western frontier. Soon enough, the rest of the world discovered the beauty and complexity of Navajo weaving.
Today the Navajo Nation can be divided into 13 weaving regions, each with a distinctive style. ”Two Grey Hills” rugs reflect the muted colors of the desert. These rugs are often made with hand carded wool and dyed using local plants. ”Pictorial” rugs portray day-to-day life. “Tree of Life” rugs are thought to be derived from sand paintings and show birds perched on corn or trees. The most widely known style is “Ganado” rugs with their red backgrounds and terraced diamonds and zigzags.
Rugs at these auctions can go from as low as $25 for a small piece to tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more intricate designs. Many people on the Navajo Reservation derive some portion of their income from the sale of arts and crafts and these events are a direct way to expose an often geographically isolated seller to buyers from around the world.
Guide Note:
See the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction for yourself in Crownpoint, New Mexico. 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO RUG AUCTION - TOTAH FESTIVAL - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Navajo weaving is the mother of all Native American trade in the Southwest. Every year, from metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, to tiny and remote Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo artisans take part in the tradition of rug auctions.
After the failed Pueblo Rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, many Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico fled Spain’s brutal retaliation by going to live among the Navajo. The Pueblo Indians brought with them weaving technology and sheep, specifically the Churro, a small sheep with long clean wool—perfect for weaving—that the Spanish had introduced.
The 1800s brought the arrival of Anglo settlers, trading posts and the railroad to the Western frontier. Soon enough, the rest of the world discovered the beauty and complexity of Navajo weaving.
Today the Navajo Nation can be divided into 13 weaving regions, each with a distinctive style. ”Two Grey Hills” rugs reflect the muted colors of the desert. These rugs are often made with hand carded wool and dyed using local plants. ”Pictorial” rugs portray day-to-day life. “Tree of Life” rugs are thought to be derived from sand paintings and show birds perched on corn or trees. The most widely known style is “Ganado” rugs with their red backgrounds and terraced diamonds and zigzags.
Rugs at these auctions can go from as low as $25 for a small piece to tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more intricate designs. Many people on the Navajo Reservation derive some portion of their income from the sale of arts and crafts and these events are a direct way to expose an often geographically isolated seller to buyers from around the world.
Guide Note:
See the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction for yourself in Crownpoint, New Mexico. 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO RUG AUCTION - TOTAH FESTIVAL - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Navajo weaving is the mother of all Native American trade in the Southwest. Every year, from metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, to tiny and remote Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo artisans take part in the tradition of rug auctions.
After the failed Pueblo Rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, many Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico fled Spain’s brutal retaliation by going to live among the Navajo. The Pueblo Indians brought with them weaving technology and sheep, specifically the Churro, a small sheep with long clean wool—perfect for weaving—that the Spanish had introduced.
The 1800s brought the arrival of Anglo settlers, trading posts and the railroad to the Western frontier. Soon enough, the rest of the world discovered the beauty and complexity of Navajo weaving.
Today the Navajo Nation can be divided into 13 weaving regions, each with a distinctive style. ”Two Grey Hills” rugs reflect the muted colors of the desert. These rugs are often made with hand carded wool and dyed using local plants. ”Pictorial” rugs portray day-to-day life. “Tree of Life” rugs are thought to be derived from sand paintings and show birds perched on corn or trees. The most widely known style is “Ganado” rugs with their red backgrounds and terraced diamonds and zigzags.
Rugs at these auctions can go from as low as $25 for a small piece to tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more intricate designs. Many people on the Navajo Reservation derive some portion of their income from the sale of arts and crafts and these events are a direct way to expose an often geographically isolated seller to buyers from around the world.
Guide Note:
See the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction for yourself in Crownpoint, New Mexico. 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO RUG AUCTION - TOTAH FESTIVAL - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Navajo weaving is the mother of all Native American trade in the Southwest. Every year, from metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, to tiny and remote Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo artisans take part in the tradition of rug auctions.
After the failed Pueblo Rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, many Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico fled Spain’s brutal retaliation by going to live among the Navajo. The Pueblo Indians brought with them weaving technology and sheep, specifically the Churro, a small sheep with long clean wool—perfect for weaving—that the Spanish had introduced.
The 1800s brought the arrival of Anglo settlers, trading posts and the railroad to the Western frontier. Soon enough, the rest of the world discovered the beauty and complexity of Navajo weaving.
Today the Navajo Nation can be divided into 13 weaving regions, each with a distinctive style. ”Two Grey Hills” rugs reflect the muted colors of the desert. These rugs are often made with hand carded wool and dyed using local plants. ”Pictorial” rugs portray day-to-day life. “Tree of Life” rugs are thought to be derived from sand paintings and show birds perched on corn or trees. The most widely known style is “Ganado” rugs with their red backgrounds and terraced diamonds and zigzags.
Rugs at these auctions can go from as low as $25 for a small piece to tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more intricate designs. Many people on the Navajo Reservation derive some portion of their income from the sale of arts and crafts and these events are a direct way to expose an often geographically isolated seller to buyers from around the world.
Guide Note:
See the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction for yourself in Crownpoint, New Mexico. 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO RUG AUCTION - TOTAH FESTIVAL - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Navajo weaving is the mother of all Native American trade in the Southwest. Every year, from metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, to tiny and remote Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo artisans take part in the tradition of rug auctions.
After the failed Pueblo Rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, many Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico fled Spain’s brutal retaliation by going to live among the Navajo. The Pueblo Indians brought with them weaving technology and sheep, specifically the Churro, a small sheep with long clean wool—perfect for weaving—that the Spanish had introduced.
The 1800s brought the arrival of Anglo settlers, trading posts and the railroad to the Western frontier. Soon enough, the rest of the world discovered the beauty and complexity of Navajo weaving.
Today the Navajo Nation can be divided into 13 weaving regions, each with a distinctive style. ”Two Grey Hills” rugs reflect the muted colors of the desert. These rugs are often made with hand carded wool and dyed using local plants. ”Pictorial” rugs portray day-to-day life. “Tree of Life” rugs are thought to be derived from sand paintings and show birds perched on corn or trees. The most widely known style is “Ganado” rugs with their red backgrounds and terraced diamonds and zigzags.
Rugs at these auctions can go from as low as $25 for a small piece to tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more intricate designs. Many people on the Navajo Reservation derive some portion of their income from the sale of arts and crafts and these events are a direct way to expose an often geographically isolated seller to buyers from around the world.
Guide Note:
See the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction for yourself in Crownpoint, New Mexico. 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO RUG AUCTION - TOTAH FESTIVAL - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Navajo weaving is the mother of all Native American trade in the Southwest. Every year, from metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, to tiny and remote Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo artisans take part in the tradition of rug auctions.
After the failed Pueblo Rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, many Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico fled Spain’s brutal retaliation by going to live among the Navajo. The Pueblo Indians brought with them weaving technology and sheep, specifically the Churro, a small sheep with long clean wool—perfect for weaving—that the Spanish had introduced.
The 1800s brought the arrival of Anglo settlers, trading posts and the railroad to the Western frontier. Soon enough, the rest of the world discovered the beauty and complexity of Navajo weaving.
Today the Navajo Nation can be divided into 13 weaving regions, each with a distinctive style. ”Two Grey Hills” rugs reflect the muted colors of the desert. These rugs are often made with hand carded wool and dyed using local plants. ”Pictorial” rugs portray day-to-day life. “Tree of Life” rugs are thought to be derived from sand paintings and show birds perched on corn or trees. The most widely known style is “Ganado” rugs with their red backgrounds and terraced diamonds and zigzags.
Rugs at these auctions can go from as low as $25 for a small piece to tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more intricate designs. Many people on the Navajo Reservation derive some portion of their income from the sale of arts and crafts and these events are a direct way to expose an often geographically isolated seller to buyers from around the world.
Guide Note:
See the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction for yourself in Crownpoint, New Mexico. 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info

NAVAJO RUG AUCTION - TOTAH FESTIVAL - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO

Navajo weaving is the mother of all Native American trade in the Southwest. Every year, from metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, to tiny and remote Crownpoint, New Mexico, Navajo artisans take part in the tradition of rug auctions.

After the failed Pueblo Rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, many Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico fled Spain’s brutal retaliation by going to live among the Navajo. The Pueblo Indians brought with them weaving technology and sheep, specifically the Churro, a small sheep with long clean wool—perfect for weaving—that the Spanish had introduced.

The 1800s brought the arrival of Anglo settlers, trading posts and the railroad to the Western frontier. Soon enough, the rest of the world discovered the beauty and complexity of Navajo weaving.

Today the Navajo Nation can be divided into 13 weaving regions, each with a distinctive style. ”Two Grey Hills” rugs reflect the muted colors of the desert. These rugs are often made with hand carded wool and dyed using local plants. ”Pictorial” rugs portray day-to-day life. Tree of Life” rugs are thought to be derived from sand paintings and show birds perched on corn or trees. The most widely known style is “Ganado” rugs with their red backgrounds and terraced diamonds and zigzags.

Rugs at these auctions can go from as low as $25 for a small piece to tens of thousands of dollars for larger, more intricate designs. Many people on the Navajo Reservation derive some portion of their income from the sale of arts and crafts and these events are a direct way to expose an often geographically isolated seller to buyers from around the world.

Guide Note:

* * *

At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO - STATION TO STATION

NEW MEXICO GLOSSARY (abridged)

BIG LOOP - The lasso of a cattle-thief.

CALABOZO (kah-lah-bo’so) - Jail.

CREASED - To be slightly injured by a knife or bullet.

DOS REALES (dōs-rā-ah’lās) - Twenty-five cents; two bits.

FLAME THROWER - Cowboy term for gun.

FOFARRAW - Trailsmen’s term for fancy dress.

FUZZIES - Poor quality horses.

HILL-NUTTY - An eccentric miner or prospector.

JORNADA DEL MERTO (hor-nah’-day moo-ār’to) - Journey of death.

MOUNTAIN CANARY - Nickname for a burro.

RIDE THE RIVER WITH - Cowboy term for trustworthiness.

SHALAKO (shah’lah-ko) Zuni rain messenger. Zuni dance of the new house ceremonies.

SIMPLE AS A KIT BEAVER - Trailsmen’s term of stupidity.

VALSE DESPACIO (vahl’sā dās-pah’sē-o) - A slow waltz.

ZACATÓN (sah-kah-tōn’) - Tall wild grass.

New Mexico, A Guide To the Colorful State (WPA, 1940)

Image - Reredos of Our Lady of Light, Library of Congress

* * *

THE AMERICAN GUIDE is joining STATION TO STATION for a cross-country train ride. Stop: Santa Fe.

Follow your guide along the rails and see America. [Track A/G’s trip here] 
BURNING OLD MAN GLOOM - AZTEC, NEW MEXICO 
Each June, people gather to burn an effigy of Old Man Gloom in Aztec, New Mexico. The event is a symbolic way to banish the worries and cares of the previous year, which are written on slips of paper and burned along with the Old Man.
The burning of Old Man Gloom has been part of Aztec Fiesta Days for at least forty years. It was inspired by the burning of Zozobra, also sometimes called Old Man Gloom, an annual event in Santa Fe since 1924. The Zozobra is nearly 50 feet tall with moving arms. (The one that burned in 2007 found a place in the Guinness World Records as the biggest marionette in the world, though it was displaced by a taller Canadian marionette the following year.) Aztec’s Old Man Gloom is smaller and not animated. But it is still an impressive 14 feet tall: a metal frame wrapped with chicken wire and mounted on metal poles for lifting and carrying. Before it is burned each year, it is dressed and decorated by members of the Aztec High School Key Club, with help from faculty advisor Debbie Klein. The Key Club in Aztec participates in all kinds of civic events, particularly fundraisers for charities benefiting kids. Dressing and burning Old Man Gloom is just one more way for the Key Club to give back to the community.Tens of thousands of people attend the annual burning of Zozobra in Santa Fe. Aztec draws more like a hundred people, which means you can put your gloom directly in the figure and stand right in the front row for the lighting. The whoosh of heat when it catches fire is startling. People bang drums and cheer while it burns away. Then they go home.Aztec Fiesta Days also features a carnival, a car show, a community breakfast and a parade for children and pets.  Guide Notes: 
Several of the photos of Old Man Gloom burning were taken by fellow At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf. You can see more of his work at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Read more about the record-setting Zozobra.
Read more about Aztec Fiesta Days 2013.  
* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
BURNING OLD MAN GLOOM - AZTEC, NEW MEXICO 
Each June, people gather to burn an effigy of Old Man Gloom in Aztec, New Mexico. The event is a symbolic way to banish the worries and cares of the previous year, which are written on slips of paper and burned along with the Old Man.
The burning of Old Man Gloom has been part of Aztec Fiesta Days for at least forty years. It was inspired by the burning of Zozobra, also sometimes called Old Man Gloom, an annual event in Santa Fe since 1924. The Zozobra is nearly 50 feet tall with moving arms. (The one that burned in 2007 found a place in the Guinness World Records as the biggest marionette in the world, though it was displaced by a taller Canadian marionette the following year.) Aztec’s Old Man Gloom is smaller and not animated. But it is still an impressive 14 feet tall: a metal frame wrapped with chicken wire and mounted on metal poles for lifting and carrying. Before it is burned each year, it is dressed and decorated by members of the Aztec High School Key Club, with help from faculty advisor Debbie Klein. The Key Club in Aztec participates in all kinds of civic events, particularly fundraisers for charities benefiting kids. Dressing and burning Old Man Gloom is just one more way for the Key Club to give back to the community.Tens of thousands of people attend the annual burning of Zozobra in Santa Fe. Aztec draws more like a hundred people, which means you can put your gloom directly in the figure and stand right in the front row for the lighting. The whoosh of heat when it catches fire is startling. People bang drums and cheer while it burns away. Then they go home.Aztec Fiesta Days also features a carnival, a car show, a community breakfast and a parade for children and pets.  Guide Notes: 
Several of the photos of Old Man Gloom burning were taken by fellow At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf. You can see more of his work at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Read more about the record-setting Zozobra.
Read more about Aztec Fiesta Days 2013.  
* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
BURNING OLD MAN GLOOM - AZTEC, NEW MEXICO 
Each June, people gather to burn an effigy of Old Man Gloom in Aztec, New Mexico. The event is a symbolic way to banish the worries and cares of the previous year, which are written on slips of paper and burned along with the Old Man.
The burning of Old Man Gloom has been part of Aztec Fiesta Days for at least forty years. It was inspired by the burning of Zozobra, also sometimes called Old Man Gloom, an annual event in Santa Fe since 1924. The Zozobra is nearly 50 feet tall with moving arms. (The one that burned in 2007 found a place in the Guinness World Records as the biggest marionette in the world, though it was displaced by a taller Canadian marionette the following year.) Aztec’s Old Man Gloom is smaller and not animated. But it is still an impressive 14 feet tall: a metal frame wrapped with chicken wire and mounted on metal poles for lifting and carrying. Before it is burned each year, it is dressed and decorated by members of the Aztec High School Key Club, with help from faculty advisor Debbie Klein. The Key Club in Aztec participates in all kinds of civic events, particularly fundraisers for charities benefiting kids. Dressing and burning Old Man Gloom is just one more way for the Key Club to give back to the community.Tens of thousands of people attend the annual burning of Zozobra in Santa Fe. Aztec draws more like a hundred people, which means you can put your gloom directly in the figure and stand right in the front row for the lighting. The whoosh of heat when it catches fire is startling. People bang drums and cheer while it burns away. Then they go home.Aztec Fiesta Days also features a carnival, a car show, a community breakfast and a parade for children and pets.  Guide Notes: 
Several of the photos of Old Man Gloom burning were taken by fellow At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf. You can see more of his work at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Read more about the record-setting Zozobra.
Read more about Aztec Fiesta Days 2013.  
* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
BURNING OLD MAN GLOOM - AZTEC, NEW MEXICO 
Each June, people gather to burn an effigy of Old Man Gloom in Aztec, New Mexico. The event is a symbolic way to banish the worries and cares of the previous year, which are written on slips of paper and burned along with the Old Man.
The burning of Old Man Gloom has been part of Aztec Fiesta Days for at least forty years. It was inspired by the burning of Zozobra, also sometimes called Old Man Gloom, an annual event in Santa Fe since 1924. The Zozobra is nearly 50 feet tall with moving arms. (The one that burned in 2007 found a place in the Guinness World Records as the biggest marionette in the world, though it was displaced by a taller Canadian marionette the following year.) Aztec’s Old Man Gloom is smaller and not animated. But it is still an impressive 14 feet tall: a metal frame wrapped with chicken wire and mounted on metal poles for lifting and carrying. Before it is burned each year, it is dressed and decorated by members of the Aztec High School Key Club, with help from faculty advisor Debbie Klein. The Key Club in Aztec participates in all kinds of civic events, particularly fundraisers for charities benefiting kids. Dressing and burning Old Man Gloom is just one more way for the Key Club to give back to the community.Tens of thousands of people attend the annual burning of Zozobra in Santa Fe. Aztec draws more like a hundred people, which means you can put your gloom directly in the figure and stand right in the front row for the lighting. The whoosh of heat when it catches fire is startling. People bang drums and cheer while it burns away. Then they go home.Aztec Fiesta Days also features a carnival, a car show, a community breakfast and a parade for children and pets.  Guide Notes: 
Several of the photos of Old Man Gloom burning were taken by fellow At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf. You can see more of his work at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Read more about the record-setting Zozobra.
Read more about Aztec Fiesta Days 2013.  
* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
BURNING OLD MAN GLOOM - AZTEC, NEW MEXICO 
Each June, people gather to burn an effigy of Old Man Gloom in Aztec, New Mexico. The event is a symbolic way to banish the worries and cares of the previous year, which are written on slips of paper and burned along with the Old Man.
The burning of Old Man Gloom has been part of Aztec Fiesta Days for at least forty years. It was inspired by the burning of Zozobra, also sometimes called Old Man Gloom, an annual event in Santa Fe since 1924. The Zozobra is nearly 50 feet tall with moving arms. (The one that burned in 2007 found a place in the Guinness World Records as the biggest marionette in the world, though it was displaced by a taller Canadian marionette the following year.) Aztec’s Old Man Gloom is smaller and not animated. But it is still an impressive 14 feet tall: a metal frame wrapped with chicken wire and mounted on metal poles for lifting and carrying. Before it is burned each year, it is dressed and decorated by members of the Aztec High School Key Club, with help from faculty advisor Debbie Klein. The Key Club in Aztec participates in all kinds of civic events, particularly fundraisers for charities benefiting kids. Dressing and burning Old Man Gloom is just one more way for the Key Club to give back to the community.Tens of thousands of people attend the annual burning of Zozobra in Santa Fe. Aztec draws more like a hundred people, which means you can put your gloom directly in the figure and stand right in the front row for the lighting. The whoosh of heat when it catches fire is startling. People bang drums and cheer while it burns away. Then they go home.Aztec Fiesta Days also features a carnival, a car show, a community breakfast and a parade for children and pets.  Guide Notes: 
Several of the photos of Old Man Gloom burning were taken by fellow At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf. You can see more of his work at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Read more about the record-setting Zozobra.
Read more about Aztec Fiesta Days 2013.  
* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
BURNING OLD MAN GLOOM - AZTEC, NEW MEXICO 
Each June, people gather to burn an effigy of Old Man Gloom in Aztec, New Mexico. The event is a symbolic way to banish the worries and cares of the previous year, which are written on slips of paper and burned along with the Old Man.
The burning of Old Man Gloom has been part of Aztec Fiesta Days for at least forty years. It was inspired by the burning of Zozobra, also sometimes called Old Man Gloom, an annual event in Santa Fe since 1924. The Zozobra is nearly 50 feet tall with moving arms. (The one that burned in 2007 found a place in the Guinness World Records as the biggest marionette in the world, though it was displaced by a taller Canadian marionette the following year.) Aztec’s Old Man Gloom is smaller and not animated. But it is still an impressive 14 feet tall: a metal frame wrapped with chicken wire and mounted on metal poles for lifting and carrying. Before it is burned each year, it is dressed and decorated by members of the Aztec High School Key Club, with help from faculty advisor Debbie Klein. The Key Club in Aztec participates in all kinds of civic events, particularly fundraisers for charities benefiting kids. Dressing and burning Old Man Gloom is just one more way for the Key Club to give back to the community.Tens of thousands of people attend the annual burning of Zozobra in Santa Fe. Aztec draws more like a hundred people, which means you can put your gloom directly in the figure and stand right in the front row for the lighting. The whoosh of heat when it catches fire is startling. People bang drums and cheer while it burns away. Then they go home.Aztec Fiesta Days also features a carnival, a car show, a community breakfast and a parade for children and pets.  Guide Notes: 
Several of the photos of Old Man Gloom burning were taken by fellow At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf. You can see more of his work at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Read more about the record-setting Zozobra.
Read more about Aztec Fiesta Days 2013.  
* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
BURNING OLD MAN GLOOM - AZTEC, NEW MEXICO 
Each June, people gather to burn an effigy of Old Man Gloom in Aztec, New Mexico. The event is a symbolic way to banish the worries and cares of the previous year, which are written on slips of paper and burned along with the Old Man.
The burning of Old Man Gloom has been part of Aztec Fiesta Days for at least forty years. It was inspired by the burning of Zozobra, also sometimes called Old Man Gloom, an annual event in Santa Fe since 1924. The Zozobra is nearly 50 feet tall with moving arms. (The one that burned in 2007 found a place in the Guinness World Records as the biggest marionette in the world, though it was displaced by a taller Canadian marionette the following year.) Aztec’s Old Man Gloom is smaller and not animated. But it is still an impressive 14 feet tall: a metal frame wrapped with chicken wire and mounted on metal poles for lifting and carrying. Before it is burned each year, it is dressed and decorated by members of the Aztec High School Key Club, with help from faculty advisor Debbie Klein. The Key Club in Aztec participates in all kinds of civic events, particularly fundraisers for charities benefiting kids. Dressing and burning Old Man Gloom is just one more way for the Key Club to give back to the community.Tens of thousands of people attend the annual burning of Zozobra in Santa Fe. Aztec draws more like a hundred people, which means you can put your gloom directly in the figure and stand right in the front row for the lighting. The whoosh of heat when it catches fire is startling. People bang drums and cheer while it burns away. Then they go home.Aztec Fiesta Days also features a carnival, a car show, a community breakfast and a parade for children and pets.  Guide Notes: 
Several of the photos of Old Man Gloom burning were taken by fellow At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf. You can see more of his work at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Read more about the record-setting Zozobra.
Read more about Aztec Fiesta Days 2013.  
* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
BURNING OLD MAN GLOOM - AZTEC, NEW MEXICO 
Each June, people gather to burn an effigy of Old Man Gloom in Aztec, New Mexico. The event is a symbolic way to banish the worries and cares of the previous year, which are written on slips of paper and burned along with the Old Man.
The burning of Old Man Gloom has been part of Aztec Fiesta Days for at least forty years. It was inspired by the burning of Zozobra, also sometimes called Old Man Gloom, an annual event in Santa Fe since 1924. The Zozobra is nearly 50 feet tall with moving arms. (The one that burned in 2007 found a place in the Guinness World Records as the biggest marionette in the world, though it was displaced by a taller Canadian marionette the following year.) Aztec’s Old Man Gloom is smaller and not animated. But it is still an impressive 14 feet tall: a metal frame wrapped with chicken wire and mounted on metal poles for lifting and carrying. Before it is burned each year, it is dressed and decorated by members of the Aztec High School Key Club, with help from faculty advisor Debbie Klein. The Key Club in Aztec participates in all kinds of civic events, particularly fundraisers for charities benefiting kids. Dressing and burning Old Man Gloom is just one more way for the Key Club to give back to the community.Tens of thousands of people attend the annual burning of Zozobra in Santa Fe. Aztec draws more like a hundred people, which means you can put your gloom directly in the figure and stand right in the front row for the lighting. The whoosh of heat when it catches fire is startling. People bang drums and cheer while it burns away. Then they go home.Aztec Fiesta Days also features a carnival, a car show, a community breakfast and a parade for children and pets.  Guide Notes: 
Several of the photos of Old Man Gloom burning were taken by fellow At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf. You can see more of his work at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Read more about the record-setting Zozobra.
Read more about Aztec Fiesta Days 2013.  
* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
BURNING OLD MAN GLOOM - AZTEC, NEW MEXICO 
Each June, people gather to burn an effigy of Old Man Gloom in Aztec, New Mexico. The event is a symbolic way to banish the worries and cares of the previous year, which are written on slips of paper and burned along with the Old Man.
The burning of Old Man Gloom has been part of Aztec Fiesta Days for at least forty years. It was inspired by the burning of Zozobra, also sometimes called Old Man Gloom, an annual event in Santa Fe since 1924. The Zozobra is nearly 50 feet tall with moving arms. (The one that burned in 2007 found a place in the Guinness World Records as the biggest marionette in the world, though it was displaced by a taller Canadian marionette the following year.) Aztec’s Old Man Gloom is smaller and not animated. But it is still an impressive 14 feet tall: a metal frame wrapped with chicken wire and mounted on metal poles for lifting and carrying. Before it is burned each year, it is dressed and decorated by members of the Aztec High School Key Club, with help from faculty advisor Debbie Klein. The Key Club in Aztec participates in all kinds of civic events, particularly fundraisers for charities benefiting kids. Dressing and burning Old Man Gloom is just one more way for the Key Club to give back to the community.Tens of thousands of people attend the annual burning of Zozobra in Santa Fe. Aztec draws more like a hundred people, which means you can put your gloom directly in the figure and stand right in the front row for the lighting. The whoosh of heat when it catches fire is startling. People bang drums and cheer while it burns away. Then they go home.Aztec Fiesta Days also features a carnival, a car show, a community breakfast and a parade for children and pets.  Guide Notes: 
Several of the photos of Old Man Gloom burning were taken by fellow At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf. You can see more of his work at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Read more about the record-setting Zozobra.
Read more about Aztec Fiesta Days 2013.  
* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
BURNING OLD MAN GLOOM - AZTEC, NEW MEXICO 
Each June, people gather to burn an effigy of Old Man Gloom in Aztec, New Mexico. The event is a symbolic way to banish the worries and cares of the previous year, which are written on slips of paper and burned along with the Old Man.
The burning of Old Man Gloom has been part of Aztec Fiesta Days for at least forty years. It was inspired by the burning of Zozobra, also sometimes called Old Man Gloom, an annual event in Santa Fe since 1924. The Zozobra is nearly 50 feet tall with moving arms. (The one that burned in 2007 found a place in the Guinness World Records as the biggest marionette in the world, though it was displaced by a taller Canadian marionette the following year.) Aztec’s Old Man Gloom is smaller and not animated. But it is still an impressive 14 feet tall: a metal frame wrapped with chicken wire and mounted on metal poles for lifting and carrying. Before it is burned each year, it is dressed and decorated by members of the Aztec High School Key Club, with help from faculty advisor Debbie Klein. The Key Club in Aztec participates in all kinds of civic events, particularly fundraisers for charities benefiting kids. Dressing and burning Old Man Gloom is just one more way for the Key Club to give back to the community.Tens of thousands of people attend the annual burning of Zozobra in Santa Fe. Aztec draws more like a hundred people, which means you can put your gloom directly in the figure and stand right in the front row for the lighting. The whoosh of heat when it catches fire is startling. People bang drums and cheer while it burns away. Then they go home.Aztec Fiesta Days also features a carnival, a car show, a community breakfast and a parade for children and pets.  Guide Notes: 
Several of the photos of Old Man Gloom burning were taken by fellow At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf. You can see more of his work at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Read more about the record-setting Zozobra.
Read more about Aztec Fiesta Days 2013.  
* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info

BURNING OLD MAN GLOOM - AZTEC, NEW MEXICO 

Each June, people gather to burn an effigy of Old Man Gloom in Aztec, New Mexico. The event is a symbolic way to banish the worries and cares of the previous year, which are written on slips of paper and burned along with the Old Man.

The burning of Old Man Gloom has been part of Aztec Fiesta Days for at least forty years. It was inspired by the burning of Zozobra, also sometimes called Old Man Gloom, an annual event in Santa Fe since 1924. The Zozobra is nearly 50 feet tall with moving arms. (The one that burned in 2007 found a place in the Guinness World Records as the biggest marionette in the world, though it was displaced by a taller Canadian marionette the following year.)

Aztec’s Old Man Gloom is smaller and not animated. But it is still an impressive 14 feet tall: a metal frame wrapped with chicken wire and mounted on metal poles for lifting and carrying. Before it is burned each year, it is dressed and decorated by members of the Aztec High School Key Club, with help from faculty advisor Debbie Klein.

The Key Club in Aztec participates in all kinds of civic events, particularly fundraisers for charities benefiting kids. Dressing and burning Old Man Gloom is just one more way for the Key Club to give back to the community.

Tens of thousands of people attend the annual burning of Zozobra in Santa Fe. Aztec draws more like a hundred people, which means you can put your gloom directly in the figure and stand right in the front row for the lighting. The whoosh of heat when it catches fire is startling. People bang drums and cheer while it burns away. Then they go home.

Aztec Fiesta Days also features a carnival, a car show, a community breakfast and a parade for children and pets. 

Guide Notes

* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.

NAVAJO DAM - NEW MEXICO
With the three goals of water storage, power and flood control, the Colorado River Storage Project was made into law by Congress in 1956 and ushered in one of the last great Western water projects of the “big dam” age.
Four units were built as part of the project: the massive Glen Canyon and Lake Powell in northern Arizona, Flaming Gorge in northeastern Utah, Aspinall in Colorado and the lesser known Navajo Dam and Reservoir in northwestern New Mexico and southern Colorado.
Built in a high desert area that receives just 10 inches of rain a year, Navajo Dam collects the valuable spring runoff from the mountains of Colorado as it flows down the Pine, Piedra and San Juan rivers. The water is stored for irrigation use—such as the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project—and hydroelectric power for the surrounding communities.
The earthen dam, completed in 1962, is 40 stories high and 3,648 feet long. The reservoir covers a surface area of over 24 square miles with 159 miles of shoreline, making it the state’s second largest lake and a water recreation paradise for New Mexicans now enduring a third year of severe drought.
The San Juan River continues through the dam and eventually travels west through the Navajo Nation and Utah’s canyon country to Lake Powell, where it joins up with the Colorado River for its journey through the Grand Canyon and, if there is any water left, draining into the Sea of Cortez.
Guide Note: 
See a panorama of Navajo Dam
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO DAM - NEW MEXICO
With the three goals of water storage, power and flood control, the Colorado River Storage Project was made into law by Congress in 1956 and ushered in one of the last great Western water projects of the “big dam” age.
Four units were built as part of the project: the massive Glen Canyon and Lake Powell in northern Arizona, Flaming Gorge in northeastern Utah, Aspinall in Colorado and the lesser known Navajo Dam and Reservoir in northwestern New Mexico and southern Colorado.
Built in a high desert area that receives just 10 inches of rain a year, Navajo Dam collects the valuable spring runoff from the mountains of Colorado as it flows down the Pine, Piedra and San Juan rivers. The water is stored for irrigation use—such as the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project—and hydroelectric power for the surrounding communities.
The earthen dam, completed in 1962, is 40 stories high and 3,648 feet long. The reservoir covers a surface area of over 24 square miles with 159 miles of shoreline, making it the state’s second largest lake and a water recreation paradise for New Mexicans now enduring a third year of severe drought.
The San Juan River continues through the dam and eventually travels west through the Navajo Nation and Utah’s canyon country to Lake Powell, where it joins up with the Colorado River for its journey through the Grand Canyon and, if there is any water left, draining into the Sea of Cortez.
Guide Note: 
See a panorama of Navajo Dam
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO DAM - NEW MEXICO
With the three goals of water storage, power and flood control, the Colorado River Storage Project was made into law by Congress in 1956 and ushered in one of the last great Western water projects of the “big dam” age.
Four units were built as part of the project: the massive Glen Canyon and Lake Powell in northern Arizona, Flaming Gorge in northeastern Utah, Aspinall in Colorado and the lesser known Navajo Dam and Reservoir in northwestern New Mexico and southern Colorado.
Built in a high desert area that receives just 10 inches of rain a year, Navajo Dam collects the valuable spring runoff from the mountains of Colorado as it flows down the Pine, Piedra and San Juan rivers. The water is stored for irrigation use—such as the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project—and hydroelectric power for the surrounding communities.
The earthen dam, completed in 1962, is 40 stories high and 3,648 feet long. The reservoir covers a surface area of over 24 square miles with 159 miles of shoreline, making it the state’s second largest lake and a water recreation paradise for New Mexicans now enduring a third year of severe drought.
The San Juan River continues through the dam and eventually travels west through the Navajo Nation and Utah’s canyon country to Lake Powell, where it joins up with the Colorado River for its journey through the Grand Canyon and, if there is any water left, draining into the Sea of Cortez.
Guide Note: 
See a panorama of Navajo Dam
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO DAM - NEW MEXICO
With the three goals of water storage, power and flood control, the Colorado River Storage Project was made into law by Congress in 1956 and ushered in one of the last great Western water projects of the “big dam” age.
Four units were built as part of the project: the massive Glen Canyon and Lake Powell in northern Arizona, Flaming Gorge in northeastern Utah, Aspinall in Colorado and the lesser known Navajo Dam and Reservoir in northwestern New Mexico and southern Colorado.
Built in a high desert area that receives just 10 inches of rain a year, Navajo Dam collects the valuable spring runoff from the mountains of Colorado as it flows down the Pine, Piedra and San Juan rivers. The water is stored for irrigation use—such as the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project—and hydroelectric power for the surrounding communities.
The earthen dam, completed in 1962, is 40 stories high and 3,648 feet long. The reservoir covers a surface area of over 24 square miles with 159 miles of shoreline, making it the state’s second largest lake and a water recreation paradise for New Mexicans now enduring a third year of severe drought.
The San Juan River continues through the dam and eventually travels west through the Navajo Nation and Utah’s canyon country to Lake Powell, where it joins up with the Colorado River for its journey through the Grand Canyon and, if there is any water left, draining into the Sea of Cortez.
Guide Note: 
See a panorama of Navajo Dam
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO DAM - NEW MEXICO
With the three goals of water storage, power and flood control, the Colorado River Storage Project was made into law by Congress in 1956 and ushered in one of the last great Western water projects of the “big dam” age.
Four units were built as part of the project: the massive Glen Canyon and Lake Powell in northern Arizona, Flaming Gorge in northeastern Utah, Aspinall in Colorado and the lesser known Navajo Dam and Reservoir in northwestern New Mexico and southern Colorado.
Built in a high desert area that receives just 10 inches of rain a year, Navajo Dam collects the valuable spring runoff from the mountains of Colorado as it flows down the Pine, Piedra and San Juan rivers. The water is stored for irrigation use—such as the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project—and hydroelectric power for the surrounding communities.
The earthen dam, completed in 1962, is 40 stories high and 3,648 feet long. The reservoir covers a surface area of over 24 square miles with 159 miles of shoreline, making it the state’s second largest lake and a water recreation paradise for New Mexicans now enduring a third year of severe drought.
The San Juan River continues through the dam and eventually travels west through the Navajo Nation and Utah’s canyon country to Lake Powell, where it joins up with the Colorado River for its journey through the Grand Canyon and, if there is any water left, draining into the Sea of Cortez.
Guide Note: 
See a panorama of Navajo Dam
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO DAM - NEW MEXICO
With the three goals of water storage, power and flood control, the Colorado River Storage Project was made into law by Congress in 1956 and ushered in one of the last great Western water projects of the “big dam” age.
Four units were built as part of the project: the massive Glen Canyon and Lake Powell in northern Arizona, Flaming Gorge in northeastern Utah, Aspinall in Colorado and the lesser known Navajo Dam and Reservoir in northwestern New Mexico and southern Colorado.
Built in a high desert area that receives just 10 inches of rain a year, Navajo Dam collects the valuable spring runoff from the mountains of Colorado as it flows down the Pine, Piedra and San Juan rivers. The water is stored for irrigation use—such as the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project—and hydroelectric power for the surrounding communities.
The earthen dam, completed in 1962, is 40 stories high and 3,648 feet long. The reservoir covers a surface area of over 24 square miles with 159 miles of shoreline, making it the state’s second largest lake and a water recreation paradise for New Mexicans now enduring a third year of severe drought.
The San Juan River continues through the dam and eventually travels west through the Navajo Nation and Utah’s canyon country to Lake Powell, where it joins up with the Colorado River for its journey through the Grand Canyon and, if there is any water left, draining into the Sea of Cortez.
Guide Note: 
See a panorama of Navajo Dam
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO DAM - NEW MEXICO
With the three goals of water storage, power and flood control, the Colorado River Storage Project was made into law by Congress in 1956 and ushered in one of the last great Western water projects of the “big dam” age.
Four units were built as part of the project: the massive Glen Canyon and Lake Powell in northern Arizona, Flaming Gorge in northeastern Utah, Aspinall in Colorado and the lesser known Navajo Dam and Reservoir in northwestern New Mexico and southern Colorado.
Built in a high desert area that receives just 10 inches of rain a year, Navajo Dam collects the valuable spring runoff from the mountains of Colorado as it flows down the Pine, Piedra and San Juan rivers. The water is stored for irrigation use—such as the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project—and hydroelectric power for the surrounding communities.
The earthen dam, completed in 1962, is 40 stories high and 3,648 feet long. The reservoir covers a surface area of over 24 square miles with 159 miles of shoreline, making it the state’s second largest lake and a water recreation paradise for New Mexicans now enduring a third year of severe drought.
The San Juan River continues through the dam and eventually travels west through the Navajo Nation and Utah’s canyon country to Lake Powell, where it joins up with the Colorado River for its journey through the Grand Canyon and, if there is any water left, draining into the Sea of Cortez.
Guide Note: 
See a panorama of Navajo Dam
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
NAVAJO DAM - NEW MEXICO
With the three goals of water storage, power and flood control, the Colorado River Storage Project was made into law by Congress in 1956 and ushered in one of the last great Western water projects of the “big dam” age.
Four units were built as part of the project: the massive Glen Canyon and Lake Powell in northern Arizona, Flaming Gorge in northeastern Utah, Aspinall in Colorado and the lesser known Navajo Dam and Reservoir in northwestern New Mexico and southern Colorado.
Built in a high desert area that receives just 10 inches of rain a year, Navajo Dam collects the valuable spring runoff from the mountains of Colorado as it flows down the Pine, Piedra and San Juan rivers. The water is stored for irrigation use—such as the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project—and hydroelectric power for the surrounding communities.
The earthen dam, completed in 1962, is 40 stories high and 3,648 feet long. The reservoir covers a surface area of over 24 square miles with 159 miles of shoreline, making it the state’s second largest lake and a water recreation paradise for New Mexicans now enduring a third year of severe drought.
The San Juan River continues through the dam and eventually travels west through the Navajo Nation and Utah’s canyon country to Lake Powell, where it joins up with the Colorado River for its journey through the Grand Canyon and, if there is any water left, draining into the Sea of Cortez.
Guide Note: 
See a panorama of Navajo Dam
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info

NAVAJO DAM - NEW MEXICO

With the three goals of water storage, power and flood control, the Colorado River Storage Project was made into law by Congress in 1956 and ushered in one of the last great Western water projects of the “big dam” age.

Four units were built as part of the project: the massive Glen Canyon and Lake Powell in northern Arizona, Flaming Gorge in northeastern Utah, Aspinall in Colorado and the lesser known Navajo Dam and Reservoir in northwestern New Mexico and southern Colorado.

Built in a high desert area that receives just 10 inches of rain a year, Navajo Dam collects the valuable spring runoff from the mountains of Colorado as it flows down the Pine, Piedra and San Juan rivers. The water is stored for irrigation use—such as the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project—and hydroelectric power for the surrounding communities.

The earthen dam, completed in 1962, is 40 stories high and 3,648 feet long. The reservoir covers a surface area of over 24 square miles with 159 miles of shoreline, making it the state’s second largest lake and a water recreation paradise for New Mexicans now enduring a third year of severe drought.

The San Juan River continues through the dam and eventually travels west through the Navajo Nation and Utah’s canyon country to Lake Powell, where it joins up with the Colorado River for its journey through the Grand Canyon and, if there is any water left, draining into the Sea of Cortez.

Guide Note

* * *

At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.

SOMEWHERE OVER THE WEST

“I really don’t know one plane from the other. To me they are all just marginal costs with wings.”
-Alfred Kahn, airline economist (1917-2010)

Commercial air travel has changed a lot over the years. Since the US airline industry was deregulated in 1978, fares have dropped and lots more people have been flying. Airlines have merged and morphed and vanished. The rise of hub-and-spoke airline systems means that a major delay at one important airport can ripple across the country for days.
What hasn’t changed is the incredible vastness and variety of the country you see out the window. On a recent round trip from southern Colorado to Portland, Oregon (via Phoenix), I saw the Grand Canyon and the Colorado river valley, tract housing as far as the eye could see, and irrigation circles laid out like giant board games in the desert. I saw dormant volcanoes in Oregon and a bird’s eye view of the oil fields of the San Juan Basin in northwest New Mexico.
Commercial flight is the only way most of us will ever get to see those wide, wide views. Every time I fly, those views remind me of all the thousands of places in the US that I haven’t been to yet. And that takes the sting out of the scores of little annoyances along the way. 
Because wow, America.
Guide Notes:
Read about the history of commercial flight in the US at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s America By Air exhibit. 
Read about Alfred Kahn, who headed up the Civil Aeronautics Board that oversaw airline deregulation, in his obituary from The Economist (January 20, 2011).

* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
SOMEWHERE OVER THE WEST

“I really don’t know one plane from the other. To me they are all just marginal costs with wings.”
-Alfred Kahn, airline economist (1917-2010)

Commercial air travel has changed a lot over the years. Since the US airline industry was deregulated in 1978, fares have dropped and lots more people have been flying. Airlines have merged and morphed and vanished. The rise of hub-and-spoke airline systems means that a major delay at one important airport can ripple across the country for days.
What hasn’t changed is the incredible vastness and variety of the country you see out the window. On a recent round trip from southern Colorado to Portland, Oregon (via Phoenix), I saw the Grand Canyon and the Colorado river valley, tract housing as far as the eye could see, and irrigation circles laid out like giant board games in the desert. I saw dormant volcanoes in Oregon and a bird’s eye view of the oil fields of the San Juan Basin in northwest New Mexico.
Commercial flight is the only way most of us will ever get to see those wide, wide views. Every time I fly, those views remind me of all the thousands of places in the US that I haven’t been to yet. And that takes the sting out of the scores of little annoyances along the way. 
Because wow, America.
Guide Notes:
Read about the history of commercial flight in the US at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s America By Air exhibit. 
Read about Alfred Kahn, who headed up the Civil Aeronautics Board that oversaw airline deregulation, in his obituary from The Economist (January 20, 2011).

* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
SOMEWHERE OVER THE WEST

“I really don’t know one plane from the other. To me they are all just marginal costs with wings.”
-Alfred Kahn, airline economist (1917-2010)

Commercial air travel has changed a lot over the years. Since the US airline industry was deregulated in 1978, fares have dropped and lots more people have been flying. Airlines have merged and morphed and vanished. The rise of hub-and-spoke airline systems means that a major delay at one important airport can ripple across the country for days.
What hasn’t changed is the incredible vastness and variety of the country you see out the window. On a recent round trip from southern Colorado to Portland, Oregon (via Phoenix), I saw the Grand Canyon and the Colorado river valley, tract housing as far as the eye could see, and irrigation circles laid out like giant board games in the desert. I saw dormant volcanoes in Oregon and a bird’s eye view of the oil fields of the San Juan Basin in northwest New Mexico.
Commercial flight is the only way most of us will ever get to see those wide, wide views. Every time I fly, those views remind me of all the thousands of places in the US that I haven’t been to yet. And that takes the sting out of the scores of little annoyances along the way. 
Because wow, America.
Guide Notes:
Read about the history of commercial flight in the US at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s America By Air exhibit. 
Read about Alfred Kahn, who headed up the Civil Aeronautics Board that oversaw airline deregulation, in his obituary from The Economist (January 20, 2011).

* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
SOMEWHERE OVER THE WEST

“I really don’t know one plane from the other. To me they are all just marginal costs with wings.”
-Alfred Kahn, airline economist (1917-2010)

Commercial air travel has changed a lot over the years. Since the US airline industry was deregulated in 1978, fares have dropped and lots more people have been flying. Airlines have merged and morphed and vanished. The rise of hub-and-spoke airline systems means that a major delay at one important airport can ripple across the country for days.
What hasn’t changed is the incredible vastness and variety of the country you see out the window. On a recent round trip from southern Colorado to Portland, Oregon (via Phoenix), I saw the Grand Canyon and the Colorado river valley, tract housing as far as the eye could see, and irrigation circles laid out like giant board games in the desert. I saw dormant volcanoes in Oregon and a bird’s eye view of the oil fields of the San Juan Basin in northwest New Mexico.
Commercial flight is the only way most of us will ever get to see those wide, wide views. Every time I fly, those views remind me of all the thousands of places in the US that I haven’t been to yet. And that takes the sting out of the scores of little annoyances along the way. 
Because wow, America.
Guide Notes:
Read about the history of commercial flight in the US at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s America By Air exhibit. 
Read about Alfred Kahn, who headed up the Civil Aeronautics Board that oversaw airline deregulation, in his obituary from The Economist (January 20, 2011).

* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
SOMEWHERE OVER THE WEST

“I really don’t know one plane from the other. To me they are all just marginal costs with wings.”
-Alfred Kahn, airline economist (1917-2010)

Commercial air travel has changed a lot over the years. Since the US airline industry was deregulated in 1978, fares have dropped and lots more people have been flying. Airlines have merged and morphed and vanished. The rise of hub-and-spoke airline systems means that a major delay at one important airport can ripple across the country for days.
What hasn’t changed is the incredible vastness and variety of the country you see out the window. On a recent round trip from southern Colorado to Portland, Oregon (via Phoenix), I saw the Grand Canyon and the Colorado river valley, tract housing as far as the eye could see, and irrigation circles laid out like giant board games in the desert. I saw dormant volcanoes in Oregon and a bird’s eye view of the oil fields of the San Juan Basin in northwest New Mexico.
Commercial flight is the only way most of us will ever get to see those wide, wide views. Every time I fly, those views remind me of all the thousands of places in the US that I haven’t been to yet. And that takes the sting out of the scores of little annoyances along the way. 
Because wow, America.
Guide Notes:
Read about the history of commercial flight in the US at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s America By Air exhibit. 
Read about Alfred Kahn, who headed up the Civil Aeronautics Board that oversaw airline deregulation, in his obituary from The Economist (January 20, 2011).

* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
SOMEWHERE OVER THE WEST

“I really don’t know one plane from the other. To me they are all just marginal costs with wings.”
-Alfred Kahn, airline economist (1917-2010)

Commercial air travel has changed a lot over the years. Since the US airline industry was deregulated in 1978, fares have dropped and lots more people have been flying. Airlines have merged and morphed and vanished. The rise of hub-and-spoke airline systems means that a major delay at one important airport can ripple across the country for days.
What hasn’t changed is the incredible vastness and variety of the country you see out the window. On a recent round trip from southern Colorado to Portland, Oregon (via Phoenix), I saw the Grand Canyon and the Colorado river valley, tract housing as far as the eye could see, and irrigation circles laid out like giant board games in the desert. I saw dormant volcanoes in Oregon and a bird’s eye view of the oil fields of the San Juan Basin in northwest New Mexico.
Commercial flight is the only way most of us will ever get to see those wide, wide views. Every time I fly, those views remind me of all the thousands of places in the US that I haven’t been to yet. And that takes the sting out of the scores of little annoyances along the way. 
Because wow, America.
Guide Notes:
Read about the history of commercial flight in the US at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s America By Air exhibit. 
Read about Alfred Kahn, who headed up the Civil Aeronautics Board that oversaw airline deregulation, in his obituary from The Economist (January 20, 2011).

* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
SOMEWHERE OVER THE WEST

“I really don’t know one plane from the other. To me they are all just marginal costs with wings.”
-Alfred Kahn, airline economist (1917-2010)

Commercial air travel has changed a lot over the years. Since the US airline industry was deregulated in 1978, fares have dropped and lots more people have been flying. Airlines have merged and morphed and vanished. The rise of hub-and-spoke airline systems means that a major delay at one important airport can ripple across the country for days.
What hasn’t changed is the incredible vastness and variety of the country you see out the window. On a recent round trip from southern Colorado to Portland, Oregon (via Phoenix), I saw the Grand Canyon and the Colorado river valley, tract housing as far as the eye could see, and irrigation circles laid out like giant board games in the desert. I saw dormant volcanoes in Oregon and a bird’s eye view of the oil fields of the San Juan Basin in northwest New Mexico.
Commercial flight is the only way most of us will ever get to see those wide, wide views. Every time I fly, those views remind me of all the thousands of places in the US that I haven’t been to yet. And that takes the sting out of the scores of little annoyances along the way. 
Because wow, America.
Guide Notes:
Read about the history of commercial flight in the US at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s America By Air exhibit. 
Read about Alfred Kahn, who headed up the Civil Aeronautics Board that oversaw airline deregulation, in his obituary from The Economist (January 20, 2011).

* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
SOMEWHERE OVER THE WEST

“I really don’t know one plane from the other. To me they are all just marginal costs with wings.”
-Alfred Kahn, airline economist (1917-2010)

Commercial air travel has changed a lot over the years. Since the US airline industry was deregulated in 1978, fares have dropped and lots more people have been flying. Airlines have merged and morphed and vanished. The rise of hub-and-spoke airline systems means that a major delay at one important airport can ripple across the country for days.
What hasn’t changed is the incredible vastness and variety of the country you see out the window. On a recent round trip from southern Colorado to Portland, Oregon (via Phoenix), I saw the Grand Canyon and the Colorado river valley, tract housing as far as the eye could see, and irrigation circles laid out like giant board games in the desert. I saw dormant volcanoes in Oregon and a bird’s eye view of the oil fields of the San Juan Basin in northwest New Mexico.
Commercial flight is the only way most of us will ever get to see those wide, wide views. Every time I fly, those views remind me of all the thousands of places in the US that I haven’t been to yet. And that takes the sting out of the scores of little annoyances along the way. 
Because wow, America.
Guide Notes:
Read about the history of commercial flight in the US at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s America By Air exhibit. 
Read about Alfred Kahn, who headed up the Civil Aeronautics Board that oversaw airline deregulation, in his obituary from The Economist (January 20, 2011).

* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info

SOMEWHERE OVER THE WEST

“I really don’t know one plane from the other. To me they are all just marginal costs with wings.”

-Alfred Kahn, airline economist (1917-2010)

Commercial air travel has changed a lot over the years. Since the US airline industry was deregulated in 1978, fares have dropped and lots more people have been flying. Airlines have merged and morphed and vanished. The rise of hub-and-spoke airline systems means that a major delay at one important airport can ripple across the country for days.

What hasn’t changed is the incredible vastness and variety of the country you see out the window. On a recent round trip from southern Colorado to Portland, Oregon (via Phoenix), I saw the Grand Canyon and the Colorado river valley, tract housing as far as the eye could see, and irrigation circles laid out like giant board games in the desert. I saw dormant volcanoes in Oregon and a bird’s eye view of the oil fields of the San Juan Basin in northwest New Mexico.

Commercial flight is the only way most of us will ever get to see those wide, wide views. Every time I fly, those views remind me of all the thousands of places in the US that I haven’t been to yet. And that takes the sting out of the scores of little annoyances along the way. 

Because wow, America.

Guide Notes:

Read about the history of commercial flight in the US at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s America By Air exhibit. 

Read about Alfred Kahn, who headed up the Civil Aeronautics Board that oversaw airline deregulation, in his obituary from The Economist (January 20, 2011).

* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.

PROJECT GASBUGGY - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Once upon a time in the west, December 1967 to be exact, some men from the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory and some men from the EL Paso Natural Gas company buried a 29-kiloton nuclear bomb (Hiroshima was around 13-kilotons) in the ground just west of Farmington, New Mexico, in the Carson National Forest.  Then they set it off.
Project Gasbuggy was the first of three industry-government experiments conducted in the Four Corners area under the Operation Plowshare program to turn swords into plowshares.  The grand idea was to find peaceful uses for nuclear weapons, in this case to stimulate energy production by fracking for natural gas on an epic scale.
The bomb used at Gasbuggy was 13 feet long and 17.5 inches in diameter.  It took three days to lower the bomb 4,240 feet underground.  Once there, it was cemented into place in the dense, but natural gas rich Lewis shale formation.
The resulting explosion — and 5.10 magnitude earthquake — left a crater on top and an underground glass lined chimney 335 feet high and 160 feet in diameter.  As predicted, the detonation shattered the shale and dramatically increased the amount of gas that was recoverable.
It also made the gas so radioactive that it couldn’t be used.
Somehow feeling that unleashing that much natural underground radiation with a nuclear explosion might turn out differently, the experiment was tried two more times: first with the 40-kiloton Project Rulison near Parachute, Colorado, and finally with Project Rio Blanco’s three simultaneous 33-kiloton detonations near Rifle, Colorado.
While the public was initially supportive before Gasbuggy, by the time of Rulison in 1969 the tide had changed.  With a new national sense of environmentalism taking root, Operation Plowshare would come to an end after Rio Blanco in 1973.
Then they just had to clean it all up.
To visit the Project Gasbuggy site, look for mile marker 115 on Highway 64.  Turn onto the Jicarilla Apache reservation road J-10, and follow it for 7.25 miles.  At that point you will enter the Carson National Forest, and the road will turn into Forest Service 357.  Go one more mile and you are at ground zero.
Guide Notes: 
Plowshare, the Movie 
Plowshare background, including a list of planned but not executed tests in such places as Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Australia, Canadian tar sands and Buffalo, Wyoming, among others. 
Carson National Forest 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
PROJECT GASBUGGY - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Once upon a time in the west, December 1967 to be exact, some men from the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory and some men from the EL Paso Natural Gas company buried a 29-kiloton nuclear bomb (Hiroshima was around 13-kilotons) in the ground just west of Farmington, New Mexico, in the Carson National Forest.  Then they set it off.
Project Gasbuggy was the first of three industry-government experiments conducted in the Four Corners area under the Operation Plowshare program to turn swords into plowshares.  The grand idea was to find peaceful uses for nuclear weapons, in this case to stimulate energy production by fracking for natural gas on an epic scale.
The bomb used at Gasbuggy was 13 feet long and 17.5 inches in diameter.  It took three days to lower the bomb 4,240 feet underground.  Once there, it was cemented into place in the dense, but natural gas rich Lewis shale formation.
The resulting explosion — and 5.10 magnitude earthquake — left a crater on top and an underground glass lined chimney 335 feet high and 160 feet in diameter.  As predicted, the detonation shattered the shale and dramatically increased the amount of gas that was recoverable.
It also made the gas so radioactive that it couldn’t be used.
Somehow feeling that unleashing that much natural underground radiation with a nuclear explosion might turn out differently, the experiment was tried two more times: first with the 40-kiloton Project Rulison near Parachute, Colorado, and finally with Project Rio Blanco’s three simultaneous 33-kiloton detonations near Rifle, Colorado.
While the public was initially supportive before Gasbuggy, by the time of Rulison in 1969 the tide had changed.  With a new national sense of environmentalism taking root, Operation Plowshare would come to an end after Rio Blanco in 1973.
Then they just had to clean it all up.
To visit the Project Gasbuggy site, look for mile marker 115 on Highway 64.  Turn onto the Jicarilla Apache reservation road J-10, and follow it for 7.25 miles.  At that point you will enter the Carson National Forest, and the road will turn into Forest Service 357.  Go one more mile and you are at ground zero.
Guide Notes: 
Plowshare, the Movie 
Plowshare background, including a list of planned but not executed tests in such places as Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Australia, Canadian tar sands and Buffalo, Wyoming, among others. 
Carson National Forest 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
PROJECT GASBUGGY - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Once upon a time in the west, December 1967 to be exact, some men from the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory and some men from the EL Paso Natural Gas company buried a 29-kiloton nuclear bomb (Hiroshima was around 13-kilotons) in the ground just west of Farmington, New Mexico, in the Carson National Forest.  Then they set it off.
Project Gasbuggy was the first of three industry-government experiments conducted in the Four Corners area under the Operation Plowshare program to turn swords into plowshares.  The grand idea was to find peaceful uses for nuclear weapons, in this case to stimulate energy production by fracking for natural gas on an epic scale.
The bomb used at Gasbuggy was 13 feet long and 17.5 inches in diameter.  It took three days to lower the bomb 4,240 feet underground.  Once there, it was cemented into place in the dense, but natural gas rich Lewis shale formation.
The resulting explosion — and 5.10 magnitude earthquake — left a crater on top and an underground glass lined chimney 335 feet high and 160 feet in diameter.  As predicted, the detonation shattered the shale and dramatically increased the amount of gas that was recoverable.
It also made the gas so radioactive that it couldn’t be used.
Somehow feeling that unleashing that much natural underground radiation with a nuclear explosion might turn out differently, the experiment was tried two more times: first with the 40-kiloton Project Rulison near Parachute, Colorado, and finally with Project Rio Blanco’s three simultaneous 33-kiloton detonations near Rifle, Colorado.
While the public was initially supportive before Gasbuggy, by the time of Rulison in 1969 the tide had changed.  With a new national sense of environmentalism taking root, Operation Plowshare would come to an end after Rio Blanco in 1973.
Then they just had to clean it all up.
To visit the Project Gasbuggy site, look for mile marker 115 on Highway 64.  Turn onto the Jicarilla Apache reservation road J-10, and follow it for 7.25 miles.  At that point you will enter the Carson National Forest, and the road will turn into Forest Service 357.  Go one more mile and you are at ground zero.
Guide Notes: 
Plowshare, the Movie 
Plowshare background, including a list of planned but not executed tests in such places as Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Australia, Canadian tar sands and Buffalo, Wyoming, among others. 
Carson National Forest 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
PROJECT GASBUGGY - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Once upon a time in the west, December 1967 to be exact, some men from the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory and some men from the EL Paso Natural Gas company buried a 29-kiloton nuclear bomb (Hiroshima was around 13-kilotons) in the ground just west of Farmington, New Mexico, in the Carson National Forest.  Then they set it off.
Project Gasbuggy was the first of three industry-government experiments conducted in the Four Corners area under the Operation Plowshare program to turn swords into plowshares.  The grand idea was to find peaceful uses for nuclear weapons, in this case to stimulate energy production by fracking for natural gas on an epic scale.
The bomb used at Gasbuggy was 13 feet long and 17.5 inches in diameter.  It took three days to lower the bomb 4,240 feet underground.  Once there, it was cemented into place in the dense, but natural gas rich Lewis shale formation.
The resulting explosion — and 5.10 magnitude earthquake — left a crater on top and an underground glass lined chimney 335 feet high and 160 feet in diameter.  As predicted, the detonation shattered the shale and dramatically increased the amount of gas that was recoverable.
It also made the gas so radioactive that it couldn’t be used.
Somehow feeling that unleashing that much natural underground radiation with a nuclear explosion might turn out differently, the experiment was tried two more times: first with the 40-kiloton Project Rulison near Parachute, Colorado, and finally with Project Rio Blanco’s three simultaneous 33-kiloton detonations near Rifle, Colorado.
While the public was initially supportive before Gasbuggy, by the time of Rulison in 1969 the tide had changed.  With a new national sense of environmentalism taking root, Operation Plowshare would come to an end after Rio Blanco in 1973.
Then they just had to clean it all up.
To visit the Project Gasbuggy site, look for mile marker 115 on Highway 64.  Turn onto the Jicarilla Apache reservation road J-10, and follow it for 7.25 miles.  At that point you will enter the Carson National Forest, and the road will turn into Forest Service 357.  Go one more mile and you are at ground zero.
Guide Notes: 
Plowshare, the Movie 
Plowshare background, including a list of planned but not executed tests in such places as Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Australia, Canadian tar sands and Buffalo, Wyoming, among others. 
Carson National Forest 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
PROJECT GASBUGGY - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Once upon a time in the west, December 1967 to be exact, some men from the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory and some men from the EL Paso Natural Gas company buried a 29-kiloton nuclear bomb (Hiroshima was around 13-kilotons) in the ground just west of Farmington, New Mexico, in the Carson National Forest.  Then they set it off.
Project Gasbuggy was the first of three industry-government experiments conducted in the Four Corners area under the Operation Plowshare program to turn swords into plowshares.  The grand idea was to find peaceful uses for nuclear weapons, in this case to stimulate energy production by fracking for natural gas on an epic scale.
The bomb used at Gasbuggy was 13 feet long and 17.5 inches in diameter.  It took three days to lower the bomb 4,240 feet underground.  Once there, it was cemented into place in the dense, but natural gas rich Lewis shale formation.
The resulting explosion — and 5.10 magnitude earthquake — left a crater on top and an underground glass lined chimney 335 feet high and 160 feet in diameter.  As predicted, the detonation shattered the shale and dramatically increased the amount of gas that was recoverable.
It also made the gas so radioactive that it couldn’t be used.
Somehow feeling that unleashing that much natural underground radiation with a nuclear explosion might turn out differently, the experiment was tried two more times: first with the 40-kiloton Project Rulison near Parachute, Colorado, and finally with Project Rio Blanco’s three simultaneous 33-kiloton detonations near Rifle, Colorado.
While the public was initially supportive before Gasbuggy, by the time of Rulison in 1969 the tide had changed.  With a new national sense of environmentalism taking root, Operation Plowshare would come to an end after Rio Blanco in 1973.
Then they just had to clean it all up.
To visit the Project Gasbuggy site, look for mile marker 115 on Highway 64.  Turn onto the Jicarilla Apache reservation road J-10, and follow it for 7.25 miles.  At that point you will enter the Carson National Forest, and the road will turn into Forest Service 357.  Go one more mile and you are at ground zero.
Guide Notes: 
Plowshare, the Movie 
Plowshare background, including a list of planned but not executed tests in such places as Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Australia, Canadian tar sands and Buffalo, Wyoming, among others. 
Carson National Forest 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
PROJECT GASBUGGY - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Once upon a time in the west, December 1967 to be exact, some men from the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory and some men from the EL Paso Natural Gas company buried a 29-kiloton nuclear bomb (Hiroshima was around 13-kilotons) in the ground just west of Farmington, New Mexico, in the Carson National Forest.  Then they set it off.
Project Gasbuggy was the first of three industry-government experiments conducted in the Four Corners area under the Operation Plowshare program to turn swords into plowshares.  The grand idea was to find peaceful uses for nuclear weapons, in this case to stimulate energy production by fracking for natural gas on an epic scale.
The bomb used at Gasbuggy was 13 feet long and 17.5 inches in diameter.  It took three days to lower the bomb 4,240 feet underground.  Once there, it was cemented into place in the dense, but natural gas rich Lewis shale formation.
The resulting explosion — and 5.10 magnitude earthquake — left a crater on top and an underground glass lined chimney 335 feet high and 160 feet in diameter.  As predicted, the detonation shattered the shale and dramatically increased the amount of gas that was recoverable.
It also made the gas so radioactive that it couldn’t be used.
Somehow feeling that unleashing that much natural underground radiation with a nuclear explosion might turn out differently, the experiment was tried two more times: first with the 40-kiloton Project Rulison near Parachute, Colorado, and finally with Project Rio Blanco’s three simultaneous 33-kiloton detonations near Rifle, Colorado.
While the public was initially supportive before Gasbuggy, by the time of Rulison in 1969 the tide had changed.  With a new national sense of environmentalism taking root, Operation Plowshare would come to an end after Rio Blanco in 1973.
Then they just had to clean it all up.
To visit the Project Gasbuggy site, look for mile marker 115 on Highway 64.  Turn onto the Jicarilla Apache reservation road J-10, and follow it for 7.25 miles.  At that point you will enter the Carson National Forest, and the road will turn into Forest Service 357.  Go one more mile and you are at ground zero.
Guide Notes: 
Plowshare, the Movie 
Plowshare background, including a list of planned but not executed tests in such places as Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Australia, Canadian tar sands and Buffalo, Wyoming, among others. 
Carson National Forest 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
PROJECT GASBUGGY - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO
Once upon a time in the west, December 1967 to be exact, some men from the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory and some men from the EL Paso Natural Gas company buried a 29-kiloton nuclear bomb (Hiroshima was around 13-kilotons) in the ground just west of Farmington, New Mexico, in the Carson National Forest.  Then they set it off.
Project Gasbuggy was the first of three industry-government experiments conducted in the Four Corners area under the Operation Plowshare program to turn swords into plowshares.  The grand idea was to find peaceful uses for nuclear weapons, in this case to stimulate energy production by fracking for natural gas on an epic scale.
The bomb used at Gasbuggy was 13 feet long and 17.5 inches in diameter.  It took three days to lower the bomb 4,240 feet underground.  Once there, it was cemented into place in the dense, but natural gas rich Lewis shale formation.
The resulting explosion — and 5.10 magnitude earthquake — left a crater on top and an underground glass lined chimney 335 feet high and 160 feet in diameter.  As predicted, the detonation shattered the shale and dramatically increased the amount of gas that was recoverable.
It also made the gas so radioactive that it couldn’t be used.
Somehow feeling that unleashing that much natural underground radiation with a nuclear explosion might turn out differently, the experiment was tried two more times: first with the 40-kiloton Project Rulison near Parachute, Colorado, and finally with Project Rio Blanco’s three simultaneous 33-kiloton detonations near Rifle, Colorado.
While the public was initially supportive before Gasbuggy, by the time of Rulison in 1969 the tide had changed.  With a new national sense of environmentalism taking root, Operation Plowshare would come to an end after Rio Blanco in 1973.
Then they just had to clean it all up.
To visit the Project Gasbuggy site, look for mile marker 115 on Highway 64.  Turn onto the Jicarilla Apache reservation road J-10, and follow it for 7.25 miles.  At that point you will enter the Carson National Forest, and the road will turn into Forest Service 357.  Go one more mile and you are at ground zero.
Guide Notes: 
Plowshare, the Movie 
Plowshare background, including a list of planned but not executed tests in such places as Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Australia, Canadian tar sands and Buffalo, Wyoming, among others. 
Carson National Forest 
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info

PROJECT GASBUGGY - FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO

Once upon a time in the west, December 1967 to be exact, some men from the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory and some men from the EL Paso Natural Gas company buried a 29-kiloton nuclear bomb (Hiroshima was around 13-kilotons) in the ground just west of Farmington, New Mexico, in the Carson National Forest.  Then they set it off.

Project Gasbuggy was the first of three industry-government experiments conducted in the Four Corners area under the Operation Plowshare program to turn swords into plowshares.  The grand idea was to find peaceful uses for nuclear weapons, in this case to stimulate energy production by fracking for natural gas on an epic scale.

The bomb used at Gasbuggy was 13 feet long and 17.5 inches in diameter.  It took three days to lower the bomb 4,240 feet underground.  Once there, it was cemented into place in the dense, but natural gas rich Lewis shale formation.

The resulting explosion — and 5.10 magnitude earthquake — left a crater on top and an underground glass lined chimney 335 feet high and 160 feet in diameter.  As predicted, the detonation shattered the shale and dramatically increased the amount of gas that was recoverable.

It also made the gas so radioactive that it couldn’t be used.

Somehow feeling that unleashing that much natural underground radiation with a nuclear explosion might turn out differently, the experiment was tried two more times: first with the 40-kiloton Project Rulison near Parachute, Colorado, and finally with Project Rio Blanco’s three simultaneous 33-kiloton detonations near Rifle, Colorado.

While the public was initially supportive before Gasbuggy, by the time of Rulison in 1969 the tide had changed.  With a new national sense of environmentalism taking root, Operation Plowshare would come to an end after Rio Blanco in 1973.

Then they just had to clean it all up.

To visit the Project Gasbuggy site, look for mile marker 115 on Highway 64.  Turn onto the Jicarilla Apache reservation road J-10, and follow it for 7.25 miles.  At that point you will enter the Carson National Forest, and the road will turn into Forest Service 357.  Go one more mile and you are at ground zero.

Guide Notes

* * *

At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado. You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.

ANGEL PEAK SCENIC AREA - NEW MEXICO
Angel Peak Scenic Area, south of Bloomfield, NM, is a bit like the Grand Canyon in that it doesn’t look like much until you actually get there.  Angel Peak itself is over 7,000 feet tall, so you can see it from miles away.  But from a distance it just looks like a smallish, rocky mountain. 
When you get close, the plateau falls away and you see the 10,000 acres of spectacular, surreal badlands that make up the scenic area managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  The area has been open to natural gas development for decades.  Drilling and extraction operations are plainly visible, but the landscape is still awe inspiring.  And the energy infrastructure makes the canyon itself very accessible (though driving in calls for GPS, plenty of water, and a high clearance vehicle).
Last summer was the first time I noticed a new kind of development in the area near Angel Peak.  It didn’t stand out much at the time, but it was called a landfarm and seemed to involve lots of bulldozers.  When I visited again in March 2013, I got a much clearer look.
It turns out that a landfarm operation, like this complex managed by Envirotech, is a place where “soil remediation” takes place.  This is where contaminated soil from all over the San Juan Basin oil fields is processed by covering it with other soil.  High Country News described the landfarm like this:
Don’t look for fresh produce: This is where contaminated soils from the energy industry are plowed back into the earth and treated, or, as they say, “farmed.”
The landfarm consists of several hundred fenced acres of bare dirt on the sage plain you cross to get from Highway 550 to Angel Peak on County Road 7175.  There is no going around it.  On a windy day the blowing dust smells strongly of chemicals.
But it is still well worth the trip.
* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
ANGEL PEAK SCENIC AREA - NEW MEXICO
Angel Peak Scenic Area, south of Bloomfield, NM, is a bit like the Grand Canyon in that it doesn’t look like much until you actually get there.  Angel Peak itself is over 7,000 feet tall, so you can see it from miles away.  But from a distance it just looks like a smallish, rocky mountain. 
When you get close, the plateau falls away and you see the 10,000 acres of spectacular, surreal badlands that make up the scenic area managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  The area has been open to natural gas development for decades.  Drilling and extraction operations are plainly visible, but the landscape is still awe inspiring.  And the energy infrastructure makes the canyon itself very accessible (though driving in calls for GPS, plenty of water, and a high clearance vehicle).
Last summer was the first time I noticed a new kind of development in the area near Angel Peak.  It didn’t stand out much at the time, but it was called a landfarm and seemed to involve lots of bulldozers.  When I visited again in March 2013, I got a much clearer look.
It turns out that a landfarm operation, like this complex managed by Envirotech, is a place where “soil remediation” takes place.  This is where contaminated soil from all over the San Juan Basin oil fields is processed by covering it with other soil.  High Country News described the landfarm like this:
Don’t look for fresh produce: This is where contaminated soils from the energy industry are plowed back into the earth and treated, or, as they say, “farmed.”
The landfarm consists of several hundred fenced acres of bare dirt on the sage plain you cross to get from Highway 550 to Angel Peak on County Road 7175.  There is no going around it.  On a windy day the blowing dust smells strongly of chemicals.
But it is still well worth the trip.
* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
ANGEL PEAK SCENIC AREA - NEW MEXICO
Angel Peak Scenic Area, south of Bloomfield, NM, is a bit like the Grand Canyon in that it doesn’t look like much until you actually get there.  Angel Peak itself is over 7,000 feet tall, so you can see it from miles away.  But from a distance it just looks like a smallish, rocky mountain. 
When you get close, the plateau falls away and you see the 10,000 acres of spectacular, surreal badlands that make up the scenic area managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  The area has been open to natural gas development for decades.  Drilling and extraction operations are plainly visible, but the landscape is still awe inspiring.  And the energy infrastructure makes the canyon itself very accessible (though driving in calls for GPS, plenty of water, and a high clearance vehicle).
Last summer was the first time I noticed a new kind of development in the area near Angel Peak.  It didn’t stand out much at the time, but it was called a landfarm and seemed to involve lots of bulldozers.  When I visited again in March 2013, I got a much clearer look.
It turns out that a landfarm operation, like this complex managed by Envirotech, is a place where “soil remediation” takes place.  This is where contaminated soil from all over the San Juan Basin oil fields is processed by covering it with other soil.  High Country News described the landfarm like this:
Don’t look for fresh produce: This is where contaminated soils from the energy industry are plowed back into the earth and treated, or, as they say, “farmed.”
The landfarm consists of several hundred fenced acres of bare dirt on the sage plain you cross to get from Highway 550 to Angel Peak on County Road 7175.  There is no going around it.  On a windy day the blowing dust smells strongly of chemicals.
But it is still well worth the trip.
* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
ANGEL PEAK SCENIC AREA - NEW MEXICO
Angel Peak Scenic Area, south of Bloomfield, NM, is a bit like the Grand Canyon in that it doesn’t look like much until you actually get there.  Angel Peak itself is over 7,000 feet tall, so you can see it from miles away.  But from a distance it just looks like a smallish, rocky mountain. 
When you get close, the plateau falls away and you see the 10,000 acres of spectacular, surreal badlands that make up the scenic area managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  The area has been open to natural gas development for decades.  Drilling and extraction operations are plainly visible, but the landscape is still awe inspiring.  And the energy infrastructure makes the canyon itself very accessible (though driving in calls for GPS, plenty of water, and a high clearance vehicle).
Last summer was the first time I noticed a new kind of development in the area near Angel Peak.  It didn’t stand out much at the time, but it was called a landfarm and seemed to involve lots of bulldozers.  When I visited again in March 2013, I got a much clearer look.
It turns out that a landfarm operation, like this complex managed by Envirotech, is a place where “soil remediation” takes place.  This is where contaminated soil from all over the San Juan Basin oil fields is processed by covering it with other soil.  High Country News described the landfarm like this:
Don’t look for fresh produce: This is where contaminated soils from the energy industry are plowed back into the earth and treated, or, as they say, “farmed.”
The landfarm consists of several hundred fenced acres of bare dirt on the sage plain you cross to get from Highway 550 to Angel Peak on County Road 7175.  There is no going around it.  On a windy day the blowing dust smells strongly of chemicals.
But it is still well worth the trip.
* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
ANGEL PEAK SCENIC AREA - NEW MEXICO
Angel Peak Scenic Area, south of Bloomfield, NM, is a bit like the Grand Canyon in that it doesn’t look like much until you actually get there.  Angel Peak itself is over 7,000 feet tall, so you can see it from miles away.  But from a distance it just looks like a smallish, rocky mountain. 
When you get close, the plateau falls away and you see the 10,000 acres of spectacular, surreal badlands that make up the scenic area managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  The area has been open to natural gas development for decades.  Drilling and extraction operations are plainly visible, but the landscape is still awe inspiring.  And the energy infrastructure makes the canyon itself very accessible (though driving in calls for GPS, plenty of water, and a high clearance vehicle).
Last summer was the first time I noticed a new kind of development in the area near Angel Peak.  It didn’t stand out much at the time, but it was called a landfarm and seemed to involve lots of bulldozers.  When I visited again in March 2013, I got a much clearer look.
It turns out that a landfarm operation, like this complex managed by Envirotech, is a place where “soil remediation” takes place.  This is where contaminated soil from all over the San Juan Basin oil fields is processed by covering it with other soil.  High Country News described the landfarm like this:
Don’t look for fresh produce: This is where contaminated soils from the energy industry are plowed back into the earth and treated, or, as they say, “farmed.”
The landfarm consists of several hundred fenced acres of bare dirt on the sage plain you cross to get from Highway 550 to Angel Peak on County Road 7175.  There is no going around it.  On a windy day the blowing dust smells strongly of chemicals.
But it is still well worth the trip.
* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
ANGEL PEAK SCENIC AREA - NEW MEXICO
Angel Peak Scenic Area, south of Bloomfield, NM, is a bit like the Grand Canyon in that it doesn’t look like much until you actually get there.  Angel Peak itself is over 7,000 feet tall, so you can see it from miles away.  But from a distance it just looks like a smallish, rocky mountain. 
When you get close, the plateau falls away and you see the 10,000 acres of spectacular, surreal badlands that make up the scenic area managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  The area has been open to natural gas development for decades.  Drilling and extraction operations are plainly visible, but the landscape is still awe inspiring.  And the energy infrastructure makes the canyon itself very accessible (though driving in calls for GPS, plenty of water, and a high clearance vehicle).
Last summer was the first time I noticed a new kind of development in the area near Angel Peak.  It didn’t stand out much at the time, but it was called a landfarm and seemed to involve lots of bulldozers.  When I visited again in March 2013, I got a much clearer look.
It turns out that a landfarm operation, like this complex managed by Envirotech, is a place where “soil remediation” takes place.  This is where contaminated soil from all over the San Juan Basin oil fields is processed by covering it with other soil.  High Country News described the landfarm like this:
Don’t look for fresh produce: This is where contaminated soils from the energy industry are plowed back into the earth and treated, or, as they say, “farmed.”
The landfarm consists of several hundred fenced acres of bare dirt on the sage plain you cross to get from Highway 550 to Angel Peak on County Road 7175.  There is no going around it.  On a windy day the blowing dust smells strongly of chemicals.
But it is still well worth the trip.
* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
ANGEL PEAK SCENIC AREA - NEW MEXICO
Angel Peak Scenic Area, south of Bloomfield, NM, is a bit like the Grand Canyon in that it doesn’t look like much until you actually get there.  Angel Peak itself is over 7,000 feet tall, so you can see it from miles away.  But from a distance it just looks like a smallish, rocky mountain. 
When you get close, the plateau falls away and you see the 10,000 acres of spectacular, surreal badlands that make up the scenic area managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  The area has been open to natural gas development for decades.  Drilling and extraction operations are plainly visible, but the landscape is still awe inspiring.  And the energy infrastructure makes the canyon itself very accessible (though driving in calls for GPS, plenty of water, and a high clearance vehicle).
Last summer was the first time I noticed a new kind of development in the area near Angel Peak.  It didn’t stand out much at the time, but it was called a landfarm and seemed to involve lots of bulldozers.  When I visited again in March 2013, I got a much clearer look.
It turns out that a landfarm operation, like this complex managed by Envirotech, is a place where “soil remediation” takes place.  This is where contaminated soil from all over the San Juan Basin oil fields is processed by covering it with other soil.  High Country News described the landfarm like this:
Don’t look for fresh produce: This is where contaminated soils from the energy industry are plowed back into the earth and treated, or, as they say, “farmed.”
The landfarm consists of several hundred fenced acres of bare dirt on the sage plain you cross to get from Highway 550 to Angel Peak on County Road 7175.  There is no going around it.  On a windy day the blowing dust smells strongly of chemicals.
But it is still well worth the trip.
* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
ANGEL PEAK SCENIC AREA - NEW MEXICO
Angel Peak Scenic Area, south of Bloomfield, NM, is a bit like the Grand Canyon in that it doesn’t look like much until you actually get there.  Angel Peak itself is over 7,000 feet tall, so you can see it from miles away.  But from a distance it just looks like a smallish, rocky mountain. 
When you get close, the plateau falls away and you see the 10,000 acres of spectacular, surreal badlands that make up the scenic area managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  The area has been open to natural gas development for decades.  Drilling and extraction operations are plainly visible, but the landscape is still awe inspiring.  And the energy infrastructure makes the canyon itself very accessible (though driving in calls for GPS, plenty of water, and a high clearance vehicle).
Last summer was the first time I noticed a new kind of development in the area near Angel Peak.  It didn’t stand out much at the time, but it was called a landfarm and seemed to involve lots of bulldozers.  When I visited again in March 2013, I got a much clearer look.
It turns out that a landfarm operation, like this complex managed by Envirotech, is a place where “soil remediation” takes place.  This is where contaminated soil from all over the San Juan Basin oil fields is processed by covering it with other soil.  High Country News described the landfarm like this:
Don’t look for fresh produce: This is where contaminated soils from the energy industry are plowed back into the earth and treated, or, as they say, “farmed.”
The landfarm consists of several hundred fenced acres of bare dirt on the sage plain you cross to get from Highway 550 to Angel Peak on County Road 7175.  There is no going around it.  On a windy day the blowing dust smells strongly of chemicals.
But it is still well worth the trip.
* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
ANGEL PEAK SCENIC AREA - NEW MEXICO
Angel Peak Scenic Area, south of Bloomfield, NM, is a bit like the Grand Canyon in that it doesn’t look like much until you actually get there.  Angel Peak itself is over 7,000 feet tall, so you can see it from miles away.  But from a distance it just looks like a smallish, rocky mountain. 
When you get close, the plateau falls away and you see the 10,000 acres of spectacular, surreal badlands that make up the scenic area managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  The area has been open to natural gas development for decades.  Drilling and extraction operations are plainly visible, but the landscape is still awe inspiring.  And the energy infrastructure makes the canyon itself very accessible (though driving in calls for GPS, plenty of water, and a high clearance vehicle).
Last summer was the first time I noticed a new kind of development in the area near Angel Peak.  It didn’t stand out much at the time, but it was called a landfarm and seemed to involve lots of bulldozers.  When I visited again in March 2013, I got a much clearer look.
It turns out that a landfarm operation, like this complex managed by Envirotech, is a place where “soil remediation” takes place.  This is where contaminated soil from all over the San Juan Basin oil fields is processed by covering it with other soil.  High Country News described the landfarm like this:
Don’t look for fresh produce: This is where contaminated soils from the energy industry are plowed back into the earth and treated, or, as they say, “farmed.”
The landfarm consists of several hundred fenced acres of bare dirt on the sage plain you cross to get from Highway 550 to Angel Peak on County Road 7175.  There is no going around it.  On a windy day the blowing dust smells strongly of chemicals.
But it is still well worth the trip.
* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
ANGEL PEAK SCENIC AREA - NEW MEXICO
Angel Peak Scenic Area, south of Bloomfield, NM, is a bit like the Grand Canyon in that it doesn’t look like much until you actually get there.  Angel Peak itself is over 7,000 feet tall, so you can see it from miles away.  But from a distance it just looks like a smallish, rocky mountain. 
When you get close, the plateau falls away and you see the 10,000 acres of spectacular, surreal badlands that make up the scenic area managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  The area has been open to natural gas development for decades.  Drilling and extraction operations are plainly visible, but the landscape is still awe inspiring.  And the energy infrastructure makes the canyon itself very accessible (though driving in calls for GPS, plenty of water, and a high clearance vehicle).
Last summer was the first time I noticed a new kind of development in the area near Angel Peak.  It didn’t stand out much at the time, but it was called a landfarm and seemed to involve lots of bulldozers.  When I visited again in March 2013, I got a much clearer look.
It turns out that a landfarm operation, like this complex managed by Envirotech, is a place where “soil remediation” takes place.  This is where contaminated soil from all over the San Juan Basin oil fields is processed by covering it with other soil.  High Country News described the landfarm like this:
Don’t look for fresh produce: This is where contaminated soils from the energy industry are plowed back into the earth and treated, or, as they say, “farmed.”
The landfarm consists of several hundred fenced acres of bare dirt on the sage plain you cross to get from Highway 550 to Angel Peak on County Road 7175.  There is no going around it.  On a windy day the blowing dust smells strongly of chemicals.
But it is still well worth the trip.
* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info

ANGEL PEAK SCENIC AREA - NEW MEXICO

Angel Peak Scenic Area, south of Bloomfield, NM, is a bit like the Grand Canyon in that it doesn’t look like much until you actually get there.  Angel Peak itself is over 7,000 feet tall, so you can see it from miles away.  But from a distance it just looks like a smallish, rocky mountain. 

When you get close, the plateau falls away and you see the 10,000 acres of spectacular, surreal badlands that make up the scenic area managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  The area has been open to natural gas development for decades.  Drilling and extraction operations are plainly visible, but the landscape is still awe inspiring.  And the energy infrastructure makes the canyon itself very accessible (though driving in calls for GPS, plenty of water, and a high clearance vehicle).

Last summer was the first time I noticed a new kind of development in the area near Angel Peak.  It didn’t stand out much at the time, but it was called a landfarm and seemed to involve lots of bulldozers.  When I visited again in March 2013, I got a much clearer look.

It turns out that a landfarm operation, like this complex managed by Envirotech, is a place where “soil remediation” takes place.  This is where contaminated soil from all over the San Juan Basin oil fields is processed by covering it with other soil.  High Country News described the landfarm like this:

Don’t look for fresh produce: This is where contaminated soils from the energy industry are plowed back into the earth and treated, or, as they say, “farmed.”

The landfarm consists of several hundred fenced acres of bare dirt on the sage plain you cross to get from Highway 550 to Angel Peak on County Road 7175.  There is no going around it.  On a windy day the blowing dust smells strongly of chemicals.

But it is still well worth the trip.

* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.

RÍO GRANDE DEL NORTE NATIONAL MONUMENT, NEW MEXICO













Yucca, cactus, locoweed, vetch, wild gourd vines, purple verbena, bee balm, aster, chamiso and other wild flowers, including mallow and flowering grasses, give beauty to the foreground, while the hills and mountains in the distance make for greater loveliness, with sky and piling clouds over all.
— New Mexico, A Guide To the Colorful State (WPA, 1940)

On March 25, 2013, President Obama signed proclamations establishing five new national monuments, including two administered by the Bureau of Land Management:  the San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington and the Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico.
The Río Grande del Norte National Monument includes ecosystems and vegetation that exhibit significant diversity. A large expanse of the monument encompasses a big-game corridor stretching between the San Juan Mountains in the west and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the east. The Río Grande provides habitat for fish such as the flathead chub and the Río Grande Cutthroat Trout, as well as for waterfowl, including ducks, geese, and coots.
Learn more about one of our newest monuments:  http://blm.gov/c2kd
* * *
MyPublicLands is the official Tumblr of the Bureau of Land Management. Follow the next generation of BLMers as they share their experiences on the public lands. You can find them at mypubliclands.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info

RÍO GRANDE DEL NORTE NATIONAL MONUMENT, NEW MEXICO

Yucca, cactus, locoweed, vetch, wild gourd vines, purple verbena, bee balm, aster, chamiso and other wild flowers, including mallow and flowering grasses, give beauty to the foreground, while the hills and mountains in the distance make for greater loveliness, with sky and piling clouds over all.

New Mexico, A Guide To the Colorful State (WPA, 1940)

On March 25, 2013, President Obama signed proclamations establishing five new national monuments, including two administered by the Bureau of Land Management:  the San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington and the Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico.

The Río Grande del Norte National Monument includes ecosystems and vegetation that exhibit significant diversity. A large expanse of the monument encompasses a big-game corridor stretching between the San Juan Mountains in the west and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the east. The Río Grande provides habitat for fish such as the flathead chub and the Río Grande Cutthroat Trout, as well as for waterfowl, including ducks, geese, and coots.

Learn more about one of our newest monuments:  http://blm.gov/c2kd

* * *

MyPublicLands is the official Tumblr of the Bureau of Land Management. Follow the next generation of BLMers as they share their experiences on the public lands. You can find them at mypubliclands.tumblr.com.

SHIP ROCK (TSE BIT’A’I), THE ROCK WITH WINGS
Thirty miles southeast of Four Corners, on the eastern edge of the Navajo nation, Ship Rock towers more than 1,500 feet above the flat New Mexico desert like a giant clipper ship on a sea of sand and dirt.
The remnant throat of a volcano that erupted around 30 million years ago, Ship Rock was originally nearly a half mile underground.  Millions of years of erosion stripped away the softer sandstone and shale around the formation, exposing the harder igneous volcanic rock.  In addition to the throat, there are six dikes that radiate outward.  The largest of these is five miles long, 150 feet high and just a few feet wide.
Ship Rock is visible for up to 100 miles in some directions.  Whether you see it from the Mesa Verde complex up in Colorado or the area near Chaco Canyon to the south, it is easy to understand how such a distinctive landmark became such a central part of the Diné Bahaneʼ, the Navajo creation story.
The ancient Navajo were said to be praying for deliverance from another tribe in the far north when the ground beneath them transformed into a giant bird that flew for a day and a night before finally delivering them to the place where Ship Rock is now.  Once there, Cliff Monster climbed on top of the bird’s back and began building a nest that trapped him.
The people sent Monster Slayer, one of the warrior/hero twins that rid the world of monsters, to fight the Cliff Monster.  Monster Slayer cut off Cliff Monster’s head and threw it to the east, where it is now called Cabezon peak. 
The bird that delivered the people to the southwest was fatally injured during the battle.  To remind the people of its sacrifice, Monster Slayer turned the bird to stone.  The stone dikes of the monument are said to be the Cliff Monster’s blood that flowed over the bird.
Other stories say that the people lived on Ship Rock after their arrival, descending to farm on the plain below.  One day a storm came and lighting struck, destroying the path down and stranding them on the monument above the sheer cliffs. The ghosts of the dead, known as Chindi, still haunt the monument.
Though climbing, camping and hiking on the actual monument is illegal under Navajo Nation law, access to the monument is easy via the Red Rock Highway/Indian service Route 13 that connects to Highway 491/US 666 about seven miles south of the town of Shiprock, NM.
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado.
You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
SHIP ROCK (TSE BIT’A’I), THE ROCK WITH WINGS
Thirty miles southeast of Four Corners, on the eastern edge of the Navajo nation, Ship Rock towers more than 1,500 feet above the flat New Mexico desert like a giant clipper ship on a sea of sand and dirt.
The remnant throat of a volcano that erupted around 30 million years ago, Ship Rock was originally nearly a half mile underground.  Millions of years of erosion stripped away the softer sandstone and shale around the formation, exposing the harder igneous volcanic rock.  In addition to the throat, there are six dikes that radiate outward.  The largest of these is five miles long, 150 feet high and just a few feet wide.
Ship Rock is visible for up to 100 miles in some directions.  Whether you see it from the Mesa Verde complex up in Colorado or the area near Chaco Canyon to the south, it is easy to understand how such a distinctive landmark became such a central part of the Diné Bahaneʼ, the Navajo creation story.
The ancient Navajo were said to be praying for deliverance from another tribe in the far north when the ground beneath them transformed into a giant bird that flew for a day and a night before finally delivering them to the place where Ship Rock is now.  Once there, Cliff Monster climbed on top of the bird’s back and began building a nest that trapped him.
The people sent Monster Slayer, one of the warrior/hero twins that rid the world of monsters, to fight the Cliff Monster.  Monster Slayer cut off Cliff Monster’s head and threw it to the east, where it is now called Cabezon peak. 
The bird that delivered the people to the southwest was fatally injured during the battle.  To remind the people of its sacrifice, Monster Slayer turned the bird to stone.  The stone dikes of the monument are said to be the Cliff Monster’s blood that flowed over the bird.
Other stories say that the people lived on Ship Rock after their arrival, descending to farm on the plain below.  One day a storm came and lighting struck, destroying the path down and stranding them on the monument above the sheer cliffs. The ghosts of the dead, known as Chindi, still haunt the monument.
Though climbing, camping and hiking on the actual monument is illegal under Navajo Nation law, access to the monument is easy via the Red Rock Highway/Indian service Route 13 that connects to Highway 491/US 666 about seven miles south of the town of Shiprock, NM.
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado.
You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
SHIP ROCK (TSE BIT’A’I), THE ROCK WITH WINGS
Thirty miles southeast of Four Corners, on the eastern edge of the Navajo nation, Ship Rock towers more than 1,500 feet above the flat New Mexico desert like a giant clipper ship on a sea of sand and dirt.
The remnant throat of a volcano that erupted around 30 million years ago, Ship Rock was originally nearly a half mile underground.  Millions of years of erosion stripped away the softer sandstone and shale around the formation, exposing the harder igneous volcanic rock.  In addition to the throat, there are six dikes that radiate outward.  The largest of these is five miles long, 150 feet high and just a few feet wide.
Ship Rock is visible for up to 100 miles in some directions.  Whether you see it from the Mesa Verde complex up in Colorado or the area near Chaco Canyon to the south, it is easy to understand how such a distinctive landmark became such a central part of the Diné Bahaneʼ, the Navajo creation story.
The ancient Navajo were said to be praying for deliverance from another tribe in the far north when the ground beneath them transformed into a giant bird that flew for a day and a night before finally delivering them to the place where Ship Rock is now.  Once there, Cliff Monster climbed on top of the bird’s back and began building a nest that trapped him.
The people sent Monster Slayer, one of the warrior/hero twins that rid the world of monsters, to fight the Cliff Monster.  Monster Slayer cut off Cliff Monster’s head and threw it to the east, where it is now called Cabezon peak. 
The bird that delivered the people to the southwest was fatally injured during the battle.  To remind the people of its sacrifice, Monster Slayer turned the bird to stone.  The stone dikes of the monument are said to be the Cliff Monster’s blood that flowed over the bird.
Other stories say that the people lived on Ship Rock after their arrival, descending to farm on the plain below.  One day a storm came and lighting struck, destroying the path down and stranding them on the monument above the sheer cliffs. The ghosts of the dead, known as Chindi, still haunt the monument.
Though climbing, camping and hiking on the actual monument is illegal under Navajo Nation law, access to the monument is easy via the Red Rock Highway/Indian service Route 13 that connects to Highway 491/US 666 about seven miles south of the town of Shiprock, NM.
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado.
You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
SHIP ROCK (TSE BIT’A’I), THE ROCK WITH WINGS
Thirty miles southeast of Four Corners, on the eastern edge of the Navajo nation, Ship Rock towers more than 1,500 feet above the flat New Mexico desert like a giant clipper ship on a sea of sand and dirt.
The remnant throat of a volcano that erupted around 30 million years ago, Ship Rock was originally nearly a half mile underground.  Millions of years of erosion stripped away the softer sandstone and shale around the formation, exposing the harder igneous volcanic rock.  In addition to the throat, there are six dikes that radiate outward.  The largest of these is five miles long, 150 feet high and just a few feet wide.
Ship Rock is visible for up to 100 miles in some directions.  Whether you see it from the Mesa Verde complex up in Colorado or the area near Chaco Canyon to the south, it is easy to understand how such a distinctive landmark became such a central part of the Diné Bahaneʼ, the Navajo creation story.
The ancient Navajo were said to be praying for deliverance from another tribe in the far north when the ground beneath them transformed into a giant bird that flew for a day and a night before finally delivering them to the place where Ship Rock is now.  Once there, Cliff Monster climbed on top of the bird’s back and began building a nest that trapped him.
The people sent Monster Slayer, one of the warrior/hero twins that rid the world of monsters, to fight the Cliff Monster.  Monster Slayer cut off Cliff Monster’s head and threw it to the east, where it is now called Cabezon peak. 
The bird that delivered the people to the southwest was fatally injured during the battle.  To remind the people of its sacrifice, Monster Slayer turned the bird to stone.  The stone dikes of the monument are said to be the Cliff Monster’s blood that flowed over the bird.
Other stories say that the people lived on Ship Rock after their arrival, descending to farm on the plain below.  One day a storm came and lighting struck, destroying the path down and stranding them on the monument above the sheer cliffs. The ghosts of the dead, known as Chindi, still haunt the monument.
Though climbing, camping and hiking on the actual monument is illegal under Navajo Nation law, access to the monument is easy via the Red Rock Highway/Indian service Route 13 that connects to Highway 491/US 666 about seven miles south of the town of Shiprock, NM.
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado.
You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
SHIP ROCK (TSE BIT’A’I), THE ROCK WITH WINGS
Thirty miles southeast of Four Corners, on the eastern edge of the Navajo nation, Ship Rock towers more than 1,500 feet above the flat New Mexico desert like a giant clipper ship on a sea of sand and dirt.
The remnant throat of a volcano that erupted around 30 million years ago, Ship Rock was originally nearly a half mile underground.  Millions of years of erosion stripped away the softer sandstone and shale around the formation, exposing the harder igneous volcanic rock.  In addition to the throat, there are six dikes that radiate outward.  The largest of these is five miles long, 150 feet high and just a few feet wide.
Ship Rock is visible for up to 100 miles in some directions.  Whether you see it from the Mesa Verde complex up in Colorado or the area near Chaco Canyon to the south, it is easy to understand how such a distinctive landmark became such a central part of the Diné Bahaneʼ, the Navajo creation story.
The ancient Navajo were said to be praying for deliverance from another tribe in the far north when the ground beneath them transformed into a giant bird that flew for a day and a night before finally delivering them to the place where Ship Rock is now.  Once there, Cliff Monster climbed on top of the bird’s back and began building a nest that trapped him.
The people sent Monster Slayer, one of the warrior/hero twins that rid the world of monsters, to fight the Cliff Monster.  Monster Slayer cut off Cliff Monster’s head and threw it to the east, where it is now called Cabezon peak. 
The bird that delivered the people to the southwest was fatally injured during the battle.  To remind the people of its sacrifice, Monster Slayer turned the bird to stone.  The stone dikes of the monument are said to be the Cliff Monster’s blood that flowed over the bird.
Other stories say that the people lived on Ship Rock after their arrival, descending to farm on the plain below.  One day a storm came and lighting struck, destroying the path down and stranding them on the monument above the sheer cliffs. The ghosts of the dead, known as Chindi, still haunt the monument.
Though climbing, camping and hiking on the actual monument is illegal under Navajo Nation law, access to the monument is easy via the Red Rock Highway/Indian service Route 13 that connects to Highway 491/US 666 about seven miles south of the town of Shiprock, NM.
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado.
You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
SHIP ROCK (TSE BIT’A’I), THE ROCK WITH WINGS
Thirty miles southeast of Four Corners, on the eastern edge of the Navajo nation, Ship Rock towers more than 1,500 feet above the flat New Mexico desert like a giant clipper ship on a sea of sand and dirt.
The remnant throat of a volcano that erupted around 30 million years ago, Ship Rock was originally nearly a half mile underground.  Millions of years of erosion stripped away the softer sandstone and shale around the formation, exposing the harder igneous volcanic rock.  In addition to the throat, there are six dikes that radiate outward.  The largest of these is five miles long, 150 feet high and just a few feet wide.
Ship Rock is visible for up to 100 miles in some directions.  Whether you see it from the Mesa Verde complex up in Colorado or the area near Chaco Canyon to the south, it is easy to understand how such a distinctive landmark became such a central part of the Diné Bahaneʼ, the Navajo creation story.
The ancient Navajo were said to be praying for deliverance from another tribe in the far north when the ground beneath them transformed into a giant bird that flew for a day and a night before finally delivering them to the place where Ship Rock is now.  Once there, Cliff Monster climbed on top of the bird’s back and began building a nest that trapped him.
The people sent Monster Slayer, one of the warrior/hero twins that rid the world of monsters, to fight the Cliff Monster.  Monster Slayer cut off Cliff Monster’s head and threw it to the east, where it is now called Cabezon peak. 
The bird that delivered the people to the southwest was fatally injured during the battle.  To remind the people of its sacrifice, Monster Slayer turned the bird to stone.  The stone dikes of the monument are said to be the Cliff Monster’s blood that flowed over the bird.
Other stories say that the people lived on Ship Rock after their arrival, descending to farm on the plain below.  One day a storm came and lighting struck, destroying the path down and stranding them on the monument above the sheer cliffs. The ghosts of the dead, known as Chindi, still haunt the monument.
Though climbing, camping and hiking on the actual monument is illegal under Navajo Nation law, access to the monument is easy via the Red Rock Highway/Indian service Route 13 that connects to Highway 491/US 666 about seven miles south of the town of Shiprock, NM.
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado.
You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
SHIP ROCK (TSE BIT’A’I), THE ROCK WITH WINGS
Thirty miles southeast of Four Corners, on the eastern edge of the Navajo nation, Ship Rock towers more than 1,500 feet above the flat New Mexico desert like a giant clipper ship on a sea of sand and dirt.
The remnant throat of a volcano that erupted around 30 million years ago, Ship Rock was originally nearly a half mile underground.  Millions of years of erosion stripped away the softer sandstone and shale around the formation, exposing the harder igneous volcanic rock.  In addition to the throat, there are six dikes that radiate outward.  The largest of these is five miles long, 150 feet high and just a few feet wide.
Ship Rock is visible for up to 100 miles in some directions.  Whether you see it from the Mesa Verde complex up in Colorado or the area near Chaco Canyon to the south, it is easy to understand how such a distinctive landmark became such a central part of the Diné Bahaneʼ, the Navajo creation story.
The ancient Navajo were said to be praying for deliverance from another tribe in the far north when the ground beneath them transformed into a giant bird that flew for a day and a night before finally delivering them to the place where Ship Rock is now.  Once there, Cliff Monster climbed on top of the bird’s back and began building a nest that trapped him.
The people sent Monster Slayer, one of the warrior/hero twins that rid the world of monsters, to fight the Cliff Monster.  Monster Slayer cut off Cliff Monster’s head and threw it to the east, where it is now called Cabezon peak. 
The bird that delivered the people to the southwest was fatally injured during the battle.  To remind the people of its sacrifice, Monster Slayer turned the bird to stone.  The stone dikes of the monument are said to be the Cliff Monster’s blood that flowed over the bird.
Other stories say that the people lived on Ship Rock after their arrival, descending to farm on the plain below.  One day a storm came and lighting struck, destroying the path down and stranding them on the monument above the sheer cliffs. The ghosts of the dead, known as Chindi, still haunt the monument.
Though climbing, camping and hiking on the actual monument is illegal under Navajo Nation law, access to the monument is easy via the Red Rock Highway/Indian service Route 13 that connects to Highway 491/US 666 about seven miles south of the town of Shiprock, NM.
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado.
You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info
SHIP ROCK (TSE BIT’A’I), THE ROCK WITH WINGS
Thirty miles southeast of Four Corners, on the eastern edge of the Navajo nation, Ship Rock towers more than 1,500 feet above the flat New Mexico desert like a giant clipper ship on a sea of sand and dirt.
The remnant throat of a volcano that erupted around 30 million years ago, Ship Rock was originally nearly a half mile underground.  Millions of years of erosion stripped away the softer sandstone and shale around the formation, exposing the harder igneous volcanic rock.  In addition to the throat, there are six dikes that radiate outward.  The largest of these is five miles long, 150 feet high and just a few feet wide.
Ship Rock is visible for up to 100 miles in some directions.  Whether you see it from the Mesa Verde complex up in Colorado or the area near Chaco Canyon to the south, it is easy to understand how such a distinctive landmark became such a central part of the Diné Bahaneʼ, the Navajo creation story.
The ancient Navajo were said to be praying for deliverance from another tribe in the far north when the ground beneath them transformed into a giant bird that flew for a day and a night before finally delivering them to the place where Ship Rock is now.  Once there, Cliff Monster climbed on top of the bird’s back and began building a nest that trapped him.
The people sent Monster Slayer, one of the warrior/hero twins that rid the world of monsters, to fight the Cliff Monster.  Monster Slayer cut off Cliff Monster’s head and threw it to the east, where it is now called Cabezon peak. 
The bird that delivered the people to the southwest was fatally injured during the battle.  To remind the people of its sacrifice, Monster Slayer turned the bird to stone.  The stone dikes of the monument are said to be the Cliff Monster’s blood that flowed over the bird.
Other stories say that the people lived on Ship Rock after their arrival, descending to farm on the plain below.  One day a storm came and lighting struck, destroying the path down and stranding them on the monument above the sheer cliffs. The ghosts of the dead, known as Chindi, still haunt the monument.
Though climbing, camping and hiking on the actual monument is illegal under Navajo Nation law, access to the monument is easy via the Red Rock Highway/Indian service Route 13 that connects to Highway 491/US 666 about seven miles south of the town of Shiprock, NM.
* * *
At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado.
You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.
Zoom Info

SHIP ROCK (TSE BIT’A’I), THE ROCK WITH WINGS

Thirty miles southeast of Four Corners, on the eastern edge of the Navajo nation, Ship Rock towers more than 1,500 feet above the flat New Mexico desert like a giant clipper ship on a sea of sand and dirt.

The remnant throat of a volcano that erupted around 30 million years ago, Ship Rock was originally nearly a half mile underground.  Millions of years of erosion stripped away the softer sandstone and shale around the formation, exposing the harder igneous volcanic rock.  In addition to the throat, there are six dikes that radiate outward.  The largest of these is five miles long, 150 feet high and just a few feet wide.

Ship Rock is visible for up to 100 miles in some directions.  Whether you see it from the Mesa Verde complex up in Colorado or the area near Chaco Canyon to the south, it is easy to understand how such a distinctive landmark became such a central part of the Diné Bahaneʼ, the Navajo creation story.

The ancient Navajo were said to be praying for deliverance from another tribe in the far north when the ground beneath them transformed into a giant bird that flew for a day and a night before finally delivering them to the place where Ship Rock is now.  Once there, Cliff Monster climbed on top of the bird’s back and began building a nest that trapped him.

The people sent Monster Slayer, one of the warrior/hero twins that rid the world of monsters, to fight the Cliff Monster.  Monster Slayer cut off Cliff Monster’s head and threw it to the east, where it is now called Cabezon peak. 

The bird that delivered the people to the southwest was fatally injured during the battle.  To remind the people of its sacrifice, Monster Slayer turned the bird to stone.  The stone dikes of the monument are said to be the Cliff Monster’s blood that flowed over the bird.

Other stories say that the people lived on Ship Rock after their arrival, descending to farm on the plain below.  One day a storm came and lighting struck, destroying the path down and stranding them on the monument above the sheer cliffs. The ghosts of the dead, known as Chindi, still haunt the monument.

Though climbing, camping and hiking on the actual monument is illegal under Navajo Nation law, access to the monument is easy via the Red Rock Highway/Indian service Route 13 that connects to Highway 491/US 666 about seven miles south of the town of Shiprock, NM.

* * *

At-Large Guide to the West James Orndorf was born in Minnesota, but knew at a very young age that the future lay out west. He is currently photographing and illustrating outside of Durango, Colorado.

You can see what he’s up to at inlandwest.tumblr.com and roughshelter.com.