Monday, August 30, 2010

The Land Is Beautiful

by John Aldrich

The food runs to Oljato and Navajo Mountain are recently completed. Normally this blog would focus on the events of the journey, but for now I would like to reflect on the beauty of the Land we passed through. Oljato and Navajo Mountain are in some of the most beautiful parts of the reservation. Although each has a distinctly different character, there's no denying that these two areas have a corner on beauty. The Navajo people revere the Land, and on this food run it was very easy to see why.

Summer rains are common throughout Arizona and Utah. Monsoonal moisture wells up from the south producing sometimes prodigious thunderstorms, the male rain of Navajo lore. In the weeks prior to the recent food runs there had been considerable precipitation which laid the groundwork for the proliferation of plants and flowers that we witnessed. We actually had fair and sunny weather during our time on the Land, but the seeds were there and had been stimulated in the days preceding our arrival.

The first two photos were not taken on the Land but rather between Moab and Monticello, a route that most volunteers traveling from northern Utah would utilize. The yellow sunflowers seen here were evident everywhere during our travels.

At this time of the year the range would most often be turning brown from the relentless summer sun.

Later along the road to Navajo Mountain there was a profusion of other wildflowers.

This view looks north towards the mountain. To the right of the highway a scar is evident. This is the new water pipeline which should be completed in a year and will bring a reliable supply to a community which has been at the mercy of a very unreliable water source.

The disturbed areas along the sides of the highway were fertile ground for an astounding display of flowers.

Here are paintbrush of intense red set against a mass of white primrose.

And here are gaillardia against a background of yellow. Although we have this plant in our garden, it was the first I had seen it in the wild.

These weren't isolated patches of flowers. The display went on continuously for miles and included other plants not pictured.

Our time with the Elders was the primary reward of this journey, but these roadside displays certainly added greatly to the overall experience.


  1. Beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing!

  2. Gorgeous wind storms here! See you in Winslow!

  3. Stunning scenery and flora. Wonderful photos John. It was spectacular driving through the area, so green and lush after the rains. I was told it is a rare occurence to see it that way, so I'm grateful I got to experience it at its best!