Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the tag “Navajo National Monument”

Sandal Trail

Dinosaur tracks, which mean I’m not the first being to walk around in this area.

Yesterday was a bit of an off-day physically, so it was just as well I had decided to stay put an extra day. Didn’t stop me from walking the mile-long Sandal Trail to view the Anasazi ruins in the Betatakin Canyon. Three trails begin behind the Visitor Center, and Sandal Trail is the only one that’s paved and offers such a view.

This is a Navajo hogan. It has a hole at the top to allow a small fire inside when needed. I would think the insulative properties work year-’round.

I rode the e-bike there from camp and, neglecting to bring a lock, decided to walk it beside me. That turned out to be a fortuitous decision, because the trail descends several hundred feet as it wanders along. That posed no problem on the stroll to the viewpoint, but the bike proved invaluable on the return lurch back. After some distance, I lowered the seat and let it carry me along, and the degree of uphill slope in a couple of places was all it could handle in its lowest gear! I still got my exercise aplenty, since I dismounted and walked it each time I encountered others on the trail. That wasn’t only from courtesy, but was for the sake of self-preservation. It’s a narrow trail to ride, with steep drop-offs, and that astonishing sense of balance that I once had on a bike has long since gone the way of all things. Especially when crawling along in low gear. In a situation like this, it’s a bad idea to impose upon anyone, or there might one day be a new sign added in the future about bikes being prohibited. By nature, it’s a walking track, not a cycling trail. By the time I reached the visitor center again, I’d had a pretty good workout.

A sign labeled this a sweat house, and it’s tiny. The people carried in heated rocks, and you can figure out the rest. According to a sign, they used it as an alternative to bathing when water was scarce, which it usually was. Here, a small child visiting from China has taken up residence. Don’t let your kids/grandkids see this photo, or they may develop plans for the backyard. “That? Oh, that’s just a Navajo sweatlodge the kids made themselves, but they just use it to camp in and stay cool.”

I then mounted up and headed for Canyon View Campground, the other free camping area here. That road descends a bit too, but it is smoothly paved as well. Once in camp, it changes to Read more…

Bad Start, Great Finish

A viewpoint along the road to Sunset View and Canyon View Campgrounds.

Bad start? I was going to drop off the old batteries and get the heck out of Dodge (Flagstaff), but while I was preparing to pack up, my Samlex inverter, a “special” model tolerant of high charge voltages, gave out an audible alarm. Looking at the digital voltage readout showed that system voltage was at 16.7 and climbing. it shouldn’t normally be exceeding 14.4V at full bluster. Not good. I immediately turned off the power to devices, popped the main camper harness switch to protect the fridge and such, and pulled the solar panel fuses to stop charging power. The battery meter slowly dropped to normal.

That was odd. Both solar charge controllers had thrown a red LED to indicate they weren’t happy. Since the ground panels were deployed, I began troubleshooting by Read more…

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