April 10, 2009

Leaving Arizona, heading north into Utah

but first... the Grand Canyon.

It is grand, but again it's the 'big' picture. I must say that it got to be a bit of the same after a while, so when we ran into Mary Colter's buildings on the south rim, I finally found something to get excited about.

Among others, she was commissioned to design the Hopi House as a centre to sell native arts and crafts.

And the Watchtower as a multi-sided viewpoint, but the paintings (decorations) on the inner walls of the four levels - finally I found something I could get my fix of detail on!!

"This tower was built in 1932 by Fred Harvey and the Santa Fe railroad. It is not a restoration or copy of any particular Indian ruin. Many months of research and three years of construction were needed to combine the finest examples of Indian designs and masonry found in the southwest."

Details of the outer wall where she is said to have hand picked each stone.

And detail of the inner walls...
"Devoted to replica of petroglyphs and pictographs of Mimbres pottery, sunshield and animals decorating rocks and walls in the Painted Desert Betatakin and Keet Seel cliff dwellings of Arizona, and many other important Indian ruins in the southwest."

"It is a masterpiece of atmosphere and ethno-history."

Hopi decorative symbols on inside walls.

I loved this place!!

As we headed north towards Moab, we drove through Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, just as the sun was setting in the west and the full moon was rising in the east. This was an unexpected treasure for us as we had no idea what was ahead. And as we started to drive through the area I was saying "OK, we have about 15 minutes left of light before the sun goes down below the horizon."

There are over 40 red and orange monolithic sandstone buttes and rock skyscrapers jutting hundreds of feet. This last photo was taken pretty late and it was dark - I am amazed at how well the full moon lit up the sky.

Now an absolutely eerie coincidence occurred when we checked into our hotel room that night and while flipping through the TV channels came across PBS playing the Philip Glass biography that I had seen last fall at the Calgary film festival (see my post September 24, 2008). At that precise moment the scene of him driving through Monument Valley was playing on TV showing the same scene we had just been through ourselves - shivers....

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