Following Monster Slayer

We headed to Utah this morning driving up through Flagstaff.  Despite horrible weather in recent weeks the weather today was perfect, crisp and clear.  Nowhere did we see the Navajo Twins spinning columns of dust in the wind.

North of Cameron we planned to turn northwest, cut through Marble Canyon and head up to Jacob’s Lake.  Instead, when we reached the Gap we stopped at the trading post, chatted with the young man behind the counter and then turned east.

We were following Mo Black and Nicky Thomas on their drive up to Kaibito.  In Monster Slayer’s Son Mo finally invites Nicky up to the Reservation to meet his family.  We decided to tag along.  Taking the cut through the sharp, red rock cliffs brought us up onto a high plateau.

At the windmill, following the friendly clerk’s directions we turn off the pavement onto a dirt road.  The hills are dotted with sage, pinion, and juniper.  Outcroppings of red, gray and creamy white stone break the sky line.  The drive is breathtakingly beautiful.  Bouncing along we come up over a rise and se Navajo Mountain standing high above us in the distance, a dark sentinel in the north.  To the east White Mesa stands out in sharp contrast, a horizontal white line of rocky blocks setting off Navajo Mountain’s dark, vertical mass.

We come closer and closer to the blocky white cliffs, and there settled in nearly under the shadow of the mesa sits Kaibito and the Spirit gas station where Ernestine met Helaman meet for their commute into Page.  It is the same station where Ernestine spies Louis Tsosie and realizes he has been released from prison, but no one has bothered to notify his victims. It almost gives me chills to think about what happened here.

From Kaibito we drive over to Shonto and take a look at Billy Gray Eyes’ house, under the trees, away from the main town, the big old cottonwoods cold and bare in the winter weather.  The old Shonto trading post is still traditional.  We look at jewelry, rugs, skeins of wool, beads, white moccasins waiting to be beaded by an enterprising artist, Pendleton blankets and bags, and of course, groceries.  The girl behind the counter is friendly and helpful, disappointed when we thank her and leave without buying anything.  Maybe another day.

But not tomorrow.  Tomorrow we’re crossing the Glen Canyon Dam and heading to Utah.  Today we visited some of our favorite places and we saw a lot of windmills!

We ended up in Page forty miles north of the Gap.  But it will be a short visit. If only we had seen Monster Slayer. Now that would be a trip!

You too can follow Mo and Nicky.  Find them on Amazon.


About Karen Hopkins

Karen Hopkins (1949-) was born in Los Angeles and raised in Martinez, California. At seventeen she moved to Talcahuano, Chile. After completing her university degree she worked in London, England for Pan American Airlines and traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East, and India. For twenty-six years Karen taught Spanish and English as a Second Language in a variety of settings including a private school in Panama, the "most remote school in the United States" in Ticaboo, Utah, the Navajo Reservation, and a teacher exchange in Hermosillo, Mexico. Karen and her husband traveled extensively throughout Mexico and Central America, spending many summers in the highlands of Chiapas and Guatemala . Karen currently lives in Southern Arizona, near the Mexican border.
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