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RPippin
19-Jul-2016, 17:02
Driving my girlfriend out to Utah first week of August. She is staying for a month, and I'm taking three weeks to get back to Virginia. Will be traveling mostly through the Four Corners region, then through Texas and the Southern route back. I'm taking about 100 sheets of 4X5 sheet film, black and white, and some medium format film and camera. Any thoughts for tent camping, film shooting, large and medium format photo ops? Places to camp and folks to visit also would be helpful. Thanks

Leszek Vogt
19-Jul-2016, 17:38
All I can say is so many things to do/see and so little time - more film required :>). Being in the middle of a vacation season, you may have a problem securing campgrounds or lodging....so that should be your initial concern along with relatively high temps. I like SW a lot, but I wouldn't go there unless it's mid Sept or later.

I could stay a week or so around Flag alone (but that's me). There is many many more to choose from....

- Shiprock
- Taos
- Acoma Pueblo (it costs to get in)
- Chaco Culture
- Canyon de Chelly
- White Sands
- Big Bend Natl PK (fantastic for night shooting - milkyway)
- Bosque del Apache (waterfowl, but more info needed what you'll see in the Summer)

It's not going to be easy to decide, IMO.

Les

David Lobato
19-Jul-2016, 19:17
You're better off than a kid in a candy store. Leszek offered a great start with his list. Also Bandelier N.M., Canyonlands N.P., Arches N.P., Mesa Verde N.P., Bisti Wilderness, Davis Mountains in Texas, Guadalupe Mountains N.P. in Texas. The road loop from Durango to Silverton to Dallas Divide to Telluride to Cortez in Colorado has excellent mountain scenery. Yankee Boy Basin near Ouray is famous for wild flowers in summer. Alta Lakes near Telluride has an old mine and high altitude scenery worth checking out.

Denny
19-Jul-2016, 19:59
Sounds like you've never been to the Southwest, you may find yourself wishing you'd brought a lot more film and lots of color film too, not just B&W.

Kevin Crisp
19-Jul-2016, 20:07
White Sands and Canyon de Chelly are great.

diversey
19-Jul-2016, 20:17
Buy an annual NP pass and a book below, which helped me a lot in my 10 day southwest trip.
153050

joselsgil
19-Jul-2016, 20:43
August in the Southwest, equals HOT weather. Be sure to dress accordingly and drink plenty of liquids (non alcoholic of course).

Consider the heat and film storage too.

Although I have traveled thru the Southwest during August, I did not have large format cameras or equipment to deal with. It can get real toasty under that focusing cloth :).

Have fun and best wishes on your travels,

Jose

Jmarmck
19-Jul-2016, 21:24
Leszek's list is good but I would add the Great Sand Dunes National Park in south central Colorado. Mesa Verde, South San Juan Mountains. But that may be too far north.

But to be honest, I would spend at least three days in Monument Valley-Oljato area taking advantage of the sunrise and sunsets. Goosenecks State park is just east near Mexican Hat, a relatively short drive with camping. Take UT Hwy 261 north of Mexican Hat. If you have a 4WD try Johns Canyon Road (Road 244 in Google Maps). From Goosenecks stay on 261 up to the Moke Dugway (a real treat at sunset and sunrise) to Cedar Mesa. Camping on the mesa and dramatic vistas. Well worth the time. Take 261 on north to Bridges Nat'l Monument then go west on Hwy 95 to Hwy 276 and Halls Crossing Road to the ferry across Lake Powell (cost money and not daily check before taking 276). From there you can go North to Capitol Reef and loop back through Moab and back to Mexican Hat or Durango. I have not done this loop.

Or, from Halls Crossing go south to Staircase-Escalante, Kodachrome Basin SP (Camping) Brice Canyon, Zion. Between Bryce Canyon and Zion there is very nice place I have only seen in snow but it seems wonderful it is called Duck Creek between 9,000 and 10,000 ft., and about an hour west of the route between Bryce and Zion. Then on to Page and back to Kayenta AZ. You will pass Antelop Canyon (and the location of the 6.5 million dollar photo) just outside of Page at the power plant. From Kayenta it is a few hours drive to Shiprock and Farmington, NM with some interesting spots to shoot along the way where streams cross the road, mainly near Kayenta. From Farmington you can go south to Santa Fe, or east to Taos, or north to Durango.

If it were me I would spent at least a week in southern Utah and see all these places. If you do this, you better get more film. Take and extra camera if you have one and an extra tripod. Call ahead for reservations during this time of year. Not my favorite thing because it basically locks you into being at a certain place at a certain time.

The ride back:
Once you hit the plains it is pretty much blah unless you like some of the interesting terrain in western OK. coolies and sage grass. I normally blast through OK though via I-40. The only route I know through TX was fairly miserable. That was from Amarillo to Dallas then Dallas to Shreveport. A real snoozer of a trip except for the mess in Dallas. Rush hour is not advised. If you take this route you could pick up Hwy 71 north at Shreveport leading into Arkansas. Far better than going north through eastern AR or MS.

If driving north of I-40 interstate coming back east take Hwy 16 From Fayetteville, AR across Northern Arkansas. Goes through the Ozark Mountains and Nat'l Forest. Nice vistas little in the way of services. Fill up before leaving Fayetteville or the interstate. You could take US 412 from Springdale (or Tulsa) and spend a day or two in the Buffalo Nat'l River. Camping is available.

South of I-40 in Arkansas there is US Hwy 270 through the Ouachita Mountains. Camping along the way. Hwy 270 comes off Hwy 71 at Y City and goes to Hot Springs. Take Hwy 7 North from Hot springs to Russellville. You can go on up to Hwy 16 and on to US Hwy 412 then east to the Mississippi River at Dyersburg and Reel Foot Lake. Interesting place. That puts you on the Tennessee-Kentucky border. Your choice from there.

Remember it will be HOT in all these places. Not so much in the higher elevations of Taos.

John Kasaian
19-Jul-2016, 23:26
A few weeks ago I fell asleep at the wheel. No one was hurt, and while I'm well used to insanely long drives in the West, I learned my lesson the hard way.
So my advice to you not to try bagging everything in one trip. Focus on a few places that you think might be good hunting. There is no end to photo ops in the West as others have posted, but the West is a big place and you can easily spend more time driving from location to location than photographing. My 2-cents anyway.

Willie
20-Jul-2016, 05:50
Coming back you might try to hit Turkey, Texas and a lot of the small towns along the way. Turkey is the home of Bob Wills of country music fame. That is not why you stop. You stop because it is picturesque with the old buildings, window treatments and general ambiance of rural Texas. Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo might be of interest and Palo Duro State Park is nearby. http://www.americansouthwest.net/texas/palo-duro-canyon/state-park.html

Not sure how you are driving but smaller roads rather than freeways will get you to places more interesting as you go through rather than whizzing by at 70mph. Better food at Mom & Pop Cafe's rather than the chain fast food places as well. The big advantage is that you can often pull off the road to photograph as you travel - something that will earn you tickets on the Interstate Highways.

Whichever way you go, enjoy the trip. Take good notes and if possible have a small point and shoot digital along to document the places of interest so you can remember them for when you come back some day. If possible take a photo of the town or location sign as well as the document photo so you don't forget. Getting home and looking at all the photos later - so easy to forget just where it was as the fine experience starts running together.

Jmarmck
20-Jul-2016, 07:38
Before my wandering out west I bought a Gen 3 device that uses satellite communication rather that cellular. While its purpose is as an emergency notification tool (which I thankfully did not need), I also used it to send and store coordinates of each spot where I setup the LF gear. I also used it to send daily message to family and friends of where I would be for the day. I guess one could use the cellular phone in most places. But, there area spots where coverage does not exist. This is where the satellite devices come in handy.

goamules
20-Jul-2016, 16:51
You can get from el Paso, TX to VA in about three days. I'd spend three full weeks in the SW, then book home. Plan two full days at least area spot. Don't every day.

goamules
21-Jul-2016, 00:52
OK, I cannot type on a phone! Excuse the grammar.

Drew Wiley
21-Jul-2016, 08:31
Heat, yeah. But the Four Corners area also contains numerous "islands" of cool high altitude mountains, such as the Abajos and especially the San Juan Mtns of
SW Colorado, which includes roads actually paved over high passes! The distance between desert and aspen forest is often only a couple hours of driving.

John Jarosz
21-Jul-2016, 08:50
Big Bend NP is so hot in August that they close the remote ranger stations/park entrances since no one goes there. It is obscenely hot and barren and far, far from everything else. Feb or March is much better for Big Bend. I went for the clear night skies and got 4 days/nights of clouds.

Drew Wiley
21-Jul-2016, 08:54
Anywhere in the Southwest carry lots of extra food and water, and never depend on a cell phone. Coverage is nonexistent in numerous areas. And despite the
realistic warnings about heat, it can get distinctly cold at night in numerous places due to altitude. So don't forget a jacket and blanket or preferably a sleeping bag.
It can even snow in summer up around the passes.

Jim Andrada
21-Jul-2016, 09:15
Carry water! Lots of water. You'll need it. I don't even drive around Tucson without a couple of quarts of water in the car and if I'm going any distance a couple of gallons would be better. You can easily go through more than a gallon a day per person if you're doing anything strenuous outdoors (or actually it will go through you)

Heat related problems are insidious. You can lose a lot of fluid without even noticing it since you don't feel like you're sweating the way you do "back East" because perspiration evaporates so quickly that you never feel damp. It was over 115 (and 5% humidity) around Tucson a few weeks back and several people who were taking casual hikes died from it. There's a good rule to remember when you're walking somewhere in the SW - as soon as you get close to drinking half your water, turn around and go back. Stay hydrated. I remember driving from Phoenix to Tucson a few years back on I-10 and seeing a lot of Police and Border Patrol vehicles stopped at the side of the road. A group of illegal immigrants had died within sight of the highway because they ran out of water. Take it seriously.

Having said all that, it's a marvelous area and you'll have a great time.

Randy Moe
21-Jul-2016, 10:48
Hope your vehicle is painted white, dark paint gets hot.
More car batteries fail in heat than cold.

Always have handkerchief or rag to open very hot car door handles.

Wear hat and sunglasses.

My first trip West in 1969 from Chicago, we had a ratty TR4 without top. We drove at night and slept under bridges by day, then learned about getting stuck in sand.

Loved every moment in the desert. It is so different than deep forest.

John Jarosz
21-Jul-2016, 10:58
WOW! I had a TR4 from 1970 to 74. Small world

Randy Moe
21-Jul-2016, 11:03
WOW! I had a TR4 from 1970 to 74. Small world

The AH 100-4 didn't get out of the garage...

David Lobato
21-Jul-2016, 11:44
Since it will be August for the drive home, pick up Interstate 70 north of Moab at either Crescent Junction or Cisco (great drive to there from Moab), or where Hwy 24 meets it, and head East. Then it's mostly a high country mountain drive to Denver, much cooler and more scenic. There is Colorado National Monument outside Grand Junction, and waterfalls near Glenwood Canyon, then numerous mountain towns. You will cross a few mountain passes on I-70 (or many other highways) in Colorado. You can work your way to Virginia on Interstate 64 from St. Louis.

RPippin
25-Jul-2016, 16:10
Thanks everyone who responded! Just got back online to check my posting and have lots of good advice. My plan has changed somewhat. Still going, but planning on spending more time in one place rather than trying to get it all on film. It looks like the four corners region is where I'll be focusing on, and also bringing my Bronica and some rolls of color film as well. I do have a bit more than 100 sheets of 4X5, so will be bringing all I've got, which is closer to 150 sheets. I'm also traveling a bit lighter, leaving the big canvas tent at home and checking on Airbnb's along the way. I also have an in with someone who taught on the reservations till she retired and hope to get some shots there as well. With permission, of course. If anyone has any thoughts about shooting film off the beaten track on reservation land, please respond. I have no allusions about becoming the next Remington, just want to see what's possible as portrait work is a big part of what I hope to shoot. Thanks again everyone who responded.

Jmarmck
26-Jul-2016, 07:24
I may not need to say this but early morning late evening pre and post sunrise/sunset are best. Midday light is pretty harsh even in the winter. I spent the midday scouting for the evening and morning. Do take a drive up Hwy 261 to the top of Cedar Mesa. Moke Dugway is a real treat. If you do go down Johns Canyon Road (244 on google maps) make sure you have a vehicle with ground clearance........and support gear including water. If you get to the gate at the base of Cedar Mesa and the drop off into the San Juan River, you can keep going, just close the gate. I turned around thinking the gate meant no trespassing but it simply says close gate. BTW you cannot turn around at the gate. Too narrow. Backing away from the gate is difficult as the road is narrow, steep, with rocks. Go through the gate then turn around. Don't go to the gate if you do not plan to go through it.

Goosenecks State park (camping available but no shade) is a natural wonder but extremely difficult to shoot as colors are similar making it difficult to bring out detail with color film. Great learning experience. Have the balls to walk out on one of ridges but be very careful particularly if you carry LF gear. I wanted to approach from the south but never looked very hard for a road. Perhaps you can find one.

Around Oljato and Mexican Hat your eyes will play tricks on you as the soil and rock are red. Your brain will adjust to the point where the sage brush will appear blue. People will look slightly dead. It is a weird experience. So don't try to take photos of the blue sagebrush because it will not come out that way. Voice of experience. :o Just stick to what you know filter and color wise because this place will make you question your knowledge.

One of the most solitary moments of my life occurred in Monument Valley. I took the road through the valley looking at all the monoliths, stopping to shoot at various places along the way. When I first hit the valley floor with the sun in the middle of the golden hour. I stopped to shoot and was thunderstruck by the silence. Being winter there were not that any people, none when I first stopped. There was no people noise, no critter noise, no birds, no wind, only the warm sun and the view. That was one unplanned gift from that trip. Simple yet astounding.

Take a wide angle lens. You will need it. A panoramic camera is a plus, something like a Nobeix. Keep it level.

Have a great trip. I want to get back there.

Drew Wiley
26-Jul-2016, 08:52
Aaah blue sage, sage hues in general. How I miss good ole Ektachrome 64! With its red-contaminated green dye curve, it was miserable for saturated "spring" greens, but sensitive to complex hues like sage, and of course famous for overreaction to blue itself. Now I'm bagging those kinds of complex hues fairly well with Ektar 100, properly color temp balanced via filtration, then very carefully printed in my own darkroom. Sandstone hues in direct mid-day sun are indeed, as Marty
also noted, rather deceptive. Again, I'm having superb results with complex warm tones with Ektar, but it is a beast itself a bit difficult to tame without some
patience and experience. A very different animal than typical color neg films.

goamules
26-Jul-2016, 11:34
Drew, can we see a sample?

Drew Wiley
26-Jul-2016, 11:53
I don't own a digital camera, Garrett, and even if I did, the web itself is a vehicle utterly utterly incapable of showing these kinds of hue nuances. But I happen to love the kinds of subtle greige, gray-green, nuanced rusts, and various gold colors we get in California. When I still had a place up in the hills I'd match the paintto blend into the blue oaks, along with the gorgeous purple-browns of the massive diorite boulders. And it always amazes me how stunningly a highly experienced watercolorist can pick up those kinds of hues, but how color films have utter hell with them. Never mind all the atrocities that the Fauxtoshop mentality does to nuanced hues with its fad of supersaturation. Effective color is about relationship, nuance and modulation, not sheer noise. But Ektar appears to be pliable in its neutrality in a sense no color neg film has been before - certainly not perfect - but it can be tamed. It took me a lot of expense and work to figure this out, however, and one needs immaculate colorhead and process control in terms of RA4 output. I learned how to do it on Cibachrome a long time ago, but the relevant films like E64, pre-E6 Agfachrome, and Kodachrome all soon disappeared, and were all in fact very restrictive in other parts of the color wheel. I do plan to set up a copy station again, but realistically, I'll never again devalue the appearance of my color prints by attempting to post them on the
web.

goamules
26-Jul-2016, 13:36
Well, I guess we miss out then. I don't let perfect be the enemy of good. I like hand written letters, yet here I am writing this electronically.

Drew Wiley
26-Jul-2016, 13:57
Even when I had a site I had to select from only about 2% of my color prints because anything which wasn't conspicuously saturated was impossible to present
intelligently. Most websurfers have no idea what a well done print looks like anyway. Other than the fact that web speeds are much faster now, so greater detail
is realistic, the color formula is still the same. It like trying to play scrabble with only a fourth the alphabet, and no vowels.

Jim Michael
26-Jul-2016, 18:56
Re Bosque del Apache, the grand landscape is punctuated with traffic on the nearby interstate, as well as power lines. The near landscape has a lot of interesting textures and color layers in the fall with layers of grasses and other flora. In late Nov, early Dec is a good time to go to see thousands of snow geese and sandhill cranes.

goamules
27-Jul-2016, 06:00
Thanks everyone who responded! Just got back online to check my posting and have lots of good advice. My plan has changed somewhat. Still going, but planning on spending more time in one place rather than trying to get it all on film. It looks like the four corners region is where I'll be focusing on, and also bringing my Bronica and some rolls of color film as well. I do have a bit more than 100 sheets of 4X5, so will be bringing all I've got, which is closer to 150 sheets. I'm also traveling a bit lighter, leaving the big canvas tent at home and checking on Airbnb's along the way. I also have an in with someone who taught on the reservations till she retired and hope to get some shots there as well. With permission, of course. If anyone has any thoughts about shooting film off the beaten track on reservation land, please respond. I have no allusions about becoming the next Remington, just want to see what's possible as portrait work is a big part of what I hope to shoot. Thanks again everyone who responded.

The Navajo and Hopi are generally very friendly and understand visitors. As far as photographing them formally, I don't know the best way to set that up. I'd research it, and maybe make some connections beforehand, with your plan. I would think just trying to approach strangers in the Navajo nation to sit for a LF portrait would be somewhat difficult. I'd also say if you pay people for their work in sitting for you, it may work better. In the past, the Hopi had some bans on photographing in villages, and generally you better find out what their rules are. Landscapes for private use are fine, but portraits gets into their culture more.

I've lived in NM and AZ for 26 years, and have been to the 4 corners a lot. My wife works with Native American school children. She said the Navajo, Hopi, Yavapai and other tribes all have different cultural beliefs. Some of them require a lot to do photography, at least with their children. I'd say get smart on the cultures first, then you know how to ask the question. If you are thinking of publishing, you may need a Commercial permit, in Navajo nation.

Jmarmck
27-Jul-2016, 06:39
Actually, it should be very easy to contact them. There are a smattering of jewelry spots across the area. There is one spot with several tables just as road drops down into Monument Valley. I was there very early just as they started setting up. I talked them for a while. Very easy going people who were talkative. I imagine starting a conversation with them might lead to what you want. Just ask. Also, there are some who will approach you. I had one fellow offer to take me to places where only Navajo can to. He would take me to these places, for a fee. By then I already had a plan so I declined. Besides it was winter and very cold. Nighttime work did not fit into my grand scheme.

Something odd happened with this fellow. There is a newspaper named the Navajo Time. I took this as the proper name for the people. Besides, it is all over the place. When I made a reference to the Navajo this man got his feathers slightly ruffled insisting that the people be called Native American. I felt like a fool and was regretful that I had unintentionally insulted him. I still wonder. But just like anyone you cannot put a whole people in a single box. We all think differently.

The people that live there know upon which side the bread is butted. They understand tourists. Just ask and I think you will find them very friendly.

Drew Wiley
27-Jul-2016, 08:59
The Navajo can be rather insular and don't necessarily appreciate pesky photographers that tend to make curiosities out of them, at least compared to other
Western tribes. It can take time or special sensitivity to win their confidence if you're thinking about portraiture rather than just landscape photography. Of course, those individuals who make their living escorting tourists to local sights are going to think more like businessmen and help break the ice. They also have a rather unfriendly relation to neighboring tribes as well as the Hopi, so don't start lumping all these Indians together. They don't think that way. It's not like those John Wayne movies with Sioux chieftains and Apaches in Iriquois headdresses running around Monument Valley. But that is one place where they solicit attention. For selection and good prices on jewelry, esp Zuni, I'd highly recommend the shops on Route 66 in Gallup, NM. That's where all the dealers go to get it themselves.

goamules
27-Jul-2016, 09:39
The Navajo Nation's territory fully surrounds the Hopi Indian Reservation, which causes some historic friction to continue. Otherwise, I've always found both tribes to be very friendly and talkative, not "insular" at all. You go to a dance or ceremony, no, they're not going to embrace a bunch of white gawkers. But just talking to them in their normal lives, they're great....very friendly. Like a lot of ancient cultures, being very extroverted, constantly grinning and talking loud and joking around is not appreciated. Calm, friendly discussion is.

With a guide (in the first pic), you can go to some amazing places, like our mule/horse trip into Canyon de Chelly. We spent about 5 days in the canyon, camping, riding, checking out the pictographs and cliff dwellings. And I took some portraits too.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/48/130580586_e101abf108_o.jpg

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/48/130580580_ef26b6d643_o.jpg

RPippin
27-Jul-2016, 12:52
Thanks again to all who have posted. From the sounds of this, I might well view this as more of a recognizance trip to lay the ground work for future trips. I will be shooting film and be as mindful as possible when doing so. This is all good stuff, so I'll probably have to print it out and read over it when I get in the area. Thanks again for all the help!

Drew Wiley
27-Jul-2016, 13:26
There's incredible infighting among the Navajo themselves over corruption, development, etc., and they don't get along with the Apaches either. Remember, they're still regarded as the invaders from the north, with anglo restructuring of all these lands essentially throwing gasoline on old wounds. So a guide doing what he is paid to do, and accustomed to do, is a helluva lot different thing than walking into a local bar or hanging around someone's residence for a cutesy stereotyped picture. There have been plenty of ugly stories. I'm not saying this as any kind of put-down. I grew up with Indians; they were my best friends. But the Navajo are different, VERY different from the Paiute-derived folks further West, and I've learned respect their traditional value of privacy, and by treading very lightly, have even been invited to interesting sights on private land that tourists don't normally get to. They want to be respected as equal people, not ethnic specimens - they get enough of that from photographers already. And the reservation does have rules about who can go where. When in doubt, simply inquire at the nearest tribal office.

goamules
27-Jul-2016, 17:54
Huh....I guess your impression is different from mine. But again, I live here and my wife works with Navajo. I guess you must rub them wrong if you have all that trouble.

Randy Moe
27-Jul-2016, 18:08
Really like these images with people in them. Color of the landscape also looks great on this iPod.

Thanks for posting the pics Garrett



The Navajo Nation's territory fully surrounds the Hopi Indian Reservation, which causes some historic friction to continue. Otherwise, I've always found both tribes to be very friendly and talkative, not "insular" at all. You go to a dance or ceremony, no, they're not going to embrace a bunch of white gawkers. But just talking to them in their normal lives, they're great....very friendly. Like a lot of ancient cultures, being very extroverted, constantly grinning and talking loud and joking around is not appreciated. Calm, friendly discussion is.

With a guide (in the first pic), you can go to some amazing places, like our mule/horse trip into Canyon de Chelly. We spent about 5 days in the canyon, camping, riding, checking out the pictographs and cliff dwellings. And I took some portraits too.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/48/130580586_e101abf108_o.jpg

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/48/130580580_ef26b6d643_o.jpg

Jmarmck
27-Jul-2016, 22:29
I have several shots of the region on m flickr site. No people in them though mostly rocks and sky.

Leszek Vogt
28-Jul-2016, 00:21
Garrett is correct....it's much easier to communicate with people when you don't presume/assume things.....and displaying sensitivity to the culture/s tends to help with connections, if not a foot in the door. I get addicted to the red rock and some people can see that on my face = approachable. Not sure if you'll have enough time, but I thoroughly enjoyed the Navajo Ruins (Betatikin and Keet Seel) when I lived in Flagstaff for about 4 months in '81....among hundreds other places. Indeed, if it hasn't been mentioned, this whole area requires about 1/2 lifetime to explore.


Les

Drew Wiley
28-Jul-2016, 08:52
I fully disagree with that half lifetime comment. I think it would take hundreds of lifetimes just to scratch the surface of that marvelous landscape. It's BIG.

Jmarmck
28-Jul-2016, 12:46
Yes, but one must have something like a burro to do it properly.....I do know a guy near Santa Fe........................

Drew Wiley
28-Jul-2016, 13:42
I gave up on burros. Or maybe mine was just spoiled and didn't like to work. But neither did my horse. Once a pet, always a pet, and they figure that out pretty
fast.

David Lobato
28-Jul-2016, 17:31
Everett Ruess did very well with a burro. Well, up to a point in time, after that nobody knows what happened to him.

I've had close personal ties to the Native Americans, Indians as they call themselves, in the 4-Corners region. Since I was born I've been around them. My grandfather is not one, but he spoke Navajo better than English. He had friends from past decades who'd come to visit us on the ranch. I've worked elbow to elbow with them on summer jobs on their lands. Some first cousins are registered in a local tribe.

Be very respectful and always honor their dignity. Plan on getting many more refusals for portraits than consents with the local people. It depends on the individual's preferences and experiences. As on any travel endeavor, learn a few of their social phrases. Respond simple words and phrases, Please, Thank You, etc. in Navajo. Study before you go, its a difficult language to pronounce.

goamules
30-Jul-2016, 07:07
A mule is much better than a purebred donkey. When you cross a horse and a donkey, you get hybrid vigor, and all the best features of both species. The reason they use mules for taking tourists down into the Grand Canyon, and the Army used mules for pack trains, is that they are three times as strong as a horse, and twice as agile. A mule can leap over a 5 foot fence, from standing right in front of it. They are calm, and don't do stupid horse tricks like panicking and running off of cliffs and such. You ride a mule, you'll be safer and go further than on a horse. Burros are cute too, but too small unless you get a Mammoth.

Mule jumping used to be a big event in the South:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6O6u8P3QA0

Back to Indian Country, you'll do fine. Like any travel, the differences are what's the attraction and what creates the memories. Like mules!

Drew Wiley
2-Aug-2016, 08:40
Tell me about horse tricks! Some lady darn near got head head bashed into a live oak when her city horse panicked at the sight of my tripod and darkcloth this
past Saturday. An experience rider would have stopped and let the horse figure things out first, and let me gently talk to it. But these types just want to charge ahead and cuss at the photographer instead. But talk about small burros - our pet burro was given to us by a rodeo star, a famous clown as well as bronc rider,
who would pull little burros out of his huge baggy clown pants in the arena. When they got too big they were given away. We were close friends. Burros were routinely used by pack trains in the mountains along with specially trained horses. Mules were rare, more a desert custom, I guess. Llamas seem more common
in the Rockies than in the Sierra.

John Kasaian
2-Aug-2016, 16:23
Drew, there's lots of long ears in the Sierra. I packed a mixed string and it's harder to keep a sawbuck from shifting on a horse---darned near wore out a saddle getting off and taking the slack up on the boxes on a very green pack horse once on the Granite Staircase above 77 Corral (but darned, after his first trip, he was sure mountain broke!) The town of Bishop even has a holiday for mules!

I never saw donkeys packing in the Sierra but at an auction in Turlock about a decade ago, I came across of huge lot of old pack saddles built for donkeys and they were all marked "PG&E" I'll bet they could tell a tale or two.

Drew Wiley
2-Aug-2016, 16:29
Lots of mules around Bishop, and they were used up in the Emigrant and by formal trail crews at one time; but all the packers I knew (or briefly worked for) used
burros, donkeys, horses. I'd personally be more difficult to classify, since I appear to have carried just as big a load, but obviously with less intelligence than those
critters.

Jmarmck
2-Aug-2016, 17:42
Yes, "Mule Days" or was that in June Lake?

I often get mistaken for a horses ass. Jackass too.

Drew Wiley
3-Aug-2016, 08:19
I just don't encounter stock much at all anymore in the High Sierra, except day outings near resort areas. Of course, numerous packers are still in business, but
there are formal restrictions which basins or sections each can utilize, in order to minimize the kind of damage that occurred to high meadows and fragile passes
is the past. Or maybe it's just because I tend to avoid dusty horse trails and other heavily trafficked trails. Backpacking has really become dominant in the Sierra. But not terribly long ago I was in Wyoming trying to beat a heavy hailstorm into the Cirque of the Towers. There was bits of horse poop along even tougher sections of the trail, so I thought to myself that these Wyoming wranglers must be pretty determined, getting a horse on this section of the path. Then as we got to a particularly steep slippery section, I said to my friend that something really stinks. Then I look over the edge, and there was the dead bloated horse at the bottom of the cliff.

Alan Klein
3-Aug-2016, 15:22
My wife are planning to drive in the SW from mid-Oct for about two weeks starting and ending in Las Vegas. The other option would be to fly in to Vegas and drive to Santa Fe and fly home from there. Photography will be a side element of the vacation so we're not interested in staying any one place long. Any hints which way to go and stops? What about the weather conditions that time of the year? Thanks.

Drew Wiley
3-Aug-2016, 16:15
Wonderful time of the year! Vegas might still be a bit too warm; but Zion NP is only a couple hours drive. Depending on snow conditions, you can go to Bryce and
then drop down Hwy 12 into the Escalante, then up over Torrey Pass (wonderful aspen) and down to Capitol Reef for the apple orchard harvest. Accomodations can be very spotty in Oct once you leave Springdale at the entrance of Zion. But at least one motel will be open in Torrey is you aren't prepared to camp. Not many people think of Capitol Reef; but in my opinion it's one of the nicest parks in the whole system - uncrowded and stunningly lovely. Just remember to always have extra food, water, and warm sleeping bags in the car. It gets cold at night, and getting stuck somewhere waiting out a snow flurry is a distinct possibilty. Also be cautious around deer hunting camps up in the aspen. Those dudes are generally outright drunken and pretty irresponsible with guns. What I do, when I see a nice roadside shot, is to drive a bit further, make sure there are no hunters nearby, then swing back to the photo location. Mid-route there is
also a pretty decently long paved side road into Escalante territory. Gas up good whenever you can. Towns are far apart. Then from Torrey you can make a loop
back either via Salt Lake City over the Wasatch/Park City area (more lovely aspen), or east and downhill through Hanksville, across the Colorado and a long
loop trip back to Vegas, but realistic in your given two weeks. Doubtless many more options could be cited. But this is one of my personal favorites.

lenser
3-Aug-2016, 16:32
The Ozark Mountains are at their finest and western Arkansas with some really great state parks like Mount Nebo and Devils Dan great vistas wonderful waterfalls and swimming holes fairly easy hikes and yes lots of great stuff in general and great facilities like excellent campgrounds.

Alan Klein
3-Aug-2016, 19:49
Before my wandering out west I bought a Gen 3 device that uses satellite communication rather that cellular. While its purpose is as an emergency notification tool (which I thankfully did not need), I also used it to send and store coordinates of each spot where I setup the LF gear. I also used it to send daily message to family and friends of where I would be for the day. I guess one could use the cellular phone in most places. But, there area spots where coverage does not exist. This is where the satellite devices come in handy.

GPS coordinates come from satellites so their signals are available everywhere. You don't need Wi-Fi or the cellular data signal except for the maps. The GPS in the cell phone (if yours has one) will provide the coordinates and there are apps to record those "waypoints". You can also save maps of the area in the cell phone before you leave so they're available even if cellular data signal are not received. Try out the arrangement before you leave though, shutting down you phone's data receiver.

Drew Wiley
4-Aug-2016, 08:55
The problem with those GPS emergency monitors is that they've become popular in certain areas. In other words, hikers are calling for rescue due to cramps or
stomach aches and diverting limited rescue services from true emergencies. And given the vagaries of mountain weather, helicopters can't just fly in any time they wish, and must often land at a distance anyway due to steep or rough terrain. I've had numerous conversation with backcountry rangers over this problem; and during one instance, two hikers weren't reached in time. That's the other problem - inexperienced people wandering off, naively depending on technology to keep them safe rather than proper footwear or raingear, or a decent jacket. Some of those GPS devices will lead you right over a cliff, just like they'll take you right into a gang war zone in the city if you don't know better. But owning a rescue beacon is something I might do myself in old age, if I go into remote territory alone. I'm just realistic enough not to depend on them, and know of outright failures in that technology too.