San Diego, CA
Dine' Tah ' Among The People ' Scenic Road
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© Christine Till
Because the Dine' Tah "Among the People" Scenic Road crosses the border into New Mexico, it is broken into two segments in Arizona: from Chinle running northeast around Canyon de Chelly National Monument and then east to the New Mexico border, and a second piece from Lupton (on Interstate 40) running north through Window Rock to the New Mexico border. This is a scenic and historic 100-mile route through part of the Navajo Nation, leading past Ancestral Puebloan structures, cliffside dwellings and many sites of rock art. The countryside itself is spectacular rugged desert outback punctuated by mountain chains capped with verdant pine forests and cut by deeply eroded canyons.
All the materials that make up the sandstones were laid down more than 100 million years ago, at times when this area was under water and during one long period when this was an absolutely barren desert covered with wind-blown sand dunes up to 1,000' feet thick. Over the millenia this area was covered over again and again with other materials, compressing that sand, silt and mud from long ago. Then about 65 million years ago, the whole area was suddenly pushed up as the Colorado Plateau and all that newer, softer material eroded away, leaving what we see now.
Diné Tah "Among the People" Scenic Road (Indian Route 12) meanders through the Navajo Indian Reservation and its red rock vistas. As travelers head north, they become immediately aware of the change in their surroundings. Gone are the infrastructure and busy activity of cities, and instead open land stretches out, accented with striking rock formations.
August 14th, 2013
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