Travel Tips for the Navajo Reservation

Post by Vera Marie

Are you planning your summer vacation travel? Maybe Quincy can give you some ideas for travel in his own Navajo Land.

While he was still in school, he went to Chinle, near Canyon de Chelly one year, and spent some summers in California.

Canyon de Chelly

Canyon de Chelly, Photograph by Charnell Havens

We know that Quincy Tahoma did not stay in one place for very long.  He had a trader friend in Scottsdale who took him on a couple of long trips. One time Quincy wrote about going to several states with the trader. Jon Bonnell of Scottsdale told us that the pair once drove all the way to the mid-west.

We know that the Navajo artist rode along with photographer T. Harmon Parkhurst as Parkhurst photographed people and they went together to see some buffalo at a ranch near the Grand Canyon.

We know that Quincy Tahoma also traveled with photographer Elliott Porter. They went hunting, and Porter photographed nature while Quincy stored up ideas for paintings of places like Monument Valley.

Rider in Monument Valley, Photo by Sam Lowe, Arizona

Rider in Monument Valley, Photo by Sam Lowe, Arizona

We know from Harrison Begay that the two of them once took two women on a “vacation” all the way to the Grand Canyon from Santa Fe. And we know that Tahoma went to Flagstaff in Arizona and to Tuba City, on the opposite side of the reservation from his usual home in Santa Fe.

So it was only natural that we also traveled a lot of those roads as we did research for the book.  And recently I’ve been writing about trips on the Navajo Reservation, encouraging people to follow in Tahoma’s footsteps.

Navajo code talker and family, Photo by Sam Lowe, Arizona

Navajo code talker and family, Photo by Sam Lowe, Arizona

You can read about a family trip to the Navajo Reservation at Mother of All Trips. Dinosaurs! Secret Codes! Making Movies!

For adults looking for some not too drastically extreme adventure travel, there are many things to do besides just gaze at the beautiful scenery. I gave five suggestions at My Itchy Travel Feet: where to go hiking, horseback riding, fishing, driving and camping on the rez.

watching her sheep

Woman watching her sheep at Canyon de Chelly, Photo by Charnell Havens

When I did an interview with a travel writer in New Zealand, I was reminded that some people are not even sure what an Indian reservation is and whether they are welcome to travel there, so I wrote Ten Tips for Travel on the Navajo Reservation for the web site, BootsnAll. When do you need a permit? Where can you get a drink? What should you expect to eat? Where can you sleep?

If YOU are planning a vacation in Navajo land this summer, I hope one of these articles will help you. And if you are not personally going to northern Arizona and New Mexico this summer, maybe you can pass the information on to a friend.

Thanks to Charnell Havens and to my friend Sam Lowe for the photographs used here and in the articles about travel on the Navajo Reservation.

What is your favorite place to go on the Navajo Reservation?


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4 Responses to Travel Tips for the Navajo Reservation

  1. It’s been years since I spent time in that region–and I’m feeling pulled back for another look. Thanks for the reminder. BTW, the turquoise jewelry on the code-talker couple above is fabulous! You seldom see anything like that these days. And the woman’s face–how I’d love to paint or draw her.

  2. pen4hire says:

    I know! That necklace is totally jawdropping. Reminds me of when Charnell asked to take a picture of Katy Huskon, the “little sister” in the family that adopted Tahoma. Katy went back in the house and got all dressed up with her jewelry. When we admired it, she said (through a translator) “I had to wait a long time to get it. My mother lived until she was almost 100.” A good reminder that silver and turquoise is more than just jewelry–it is the family wealth.

  3. Chris says:

    Thanks for submitting that article to BootsnAll! It was definitely informative for me. Feel free to link directly to it now that it’s live:

  4. pen4hire says:

    Chris: Sorry I was a bit slow to get your comment approved, and we are very happy to have the Navajo reservation and Quincy Tahoma represented on BootsnAll. Thanks.

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