View Full Version : Photography around Ship Rock
Bruce M. Herman
I'll be in New Mexico next month to photograph Ship Rock among other things. Th e topographic maps show a number of dirt roads in the vicinity of the peak. I'm particularly interested in the one that goes west around the east-west dike, an d the one that heads roughly north on the east side of the mountain.
What is the condition of these roads - is a 4x4 required or is a normal 2-wheel drive vehicle adequate? I realize that all bets may be off in the event of rain . I'm talking about normal, dry conditions.
This land is part of the Navajo reservation, and the mountain itself is sacred t o the Navajo people. Is it legal and acceptable to the local people to approach the mountain on these roads, or is a Navajo guide required? I don't intend to climb on the mountain.
Is camping allowed in this area along these or other dirt roads?
Thanks for your help.
Is it legal and acceptable to the local people to approach the mountain on these roads..
Bruce-If you want to know what is legal and acceptable to the Navaho, you are asking in the wrong place. I suggest you ask them by calling their offices. The opinions you might get here are certainly not legal,not Navaho, and are likely to run the gamut from people who respect Navaho sovreignty to those who would answer to nobody. My non-legal, non-Navaho opinion is, when one is on Navaho lands one has to abide by Navaho regulations, and the Navaho are the best source for those regulations.
I've car camped along the road that runs N-S on the E side of the prominent N-S dyke without any problems. It's almost a necessity, as there are no motels in Shiprock. You'd have to go to Farmington to find a room.
I've been to Shiprock a number of times.. and everytime I've been amazed that there is nowhere to stay, not even a shappy, cheap motel. Then again, if you've been there you'll probably understand why nobody wants to stay there.
The 'rock' itself is nice though, especially as the first rays of light hit it at sunrise.
Missed the photographer by about a decade....but: You can two-wheel drive car along those roads without much trouble. It's lumpy but solid. If it rains, (which is a great thing!), it will be dry in an hour. I wouldn't car camp at any of the obvious parking/turn-around spots. Folks tend to turn up at odd hours. Do not leave your car unattended, it can be broken into. The tribal police aren't much help to outsiders, even if you had the license plate of the offenders. Snakes, kissing bugs, poltergeists. I never leave my car without binocs and water bottle. Folks drive all over but please stick to the tracks. I'd park out of sight behind the northernmost little volcanic neck at night to sleep. Great spot. Most of the talus slopes are climeable, though they can be tough. You are starting out at about 6700 feet. Climbers climb the West side, about 4000 total have summitted. It's not permitted, if you ask. They don't ask. Farmington too far to stay unless weather is really cold as it is in the winter. Monument Valley just about 150 miles north. Great day trip. Gallon of water per person per day is safe. I've been dropped off and slept on ledges and photoed all over it. Magical place. Don't be spooked, but do be wary!
The Navahos have publicly stated recently that they will build a hotel in the town of Shiprock (plus a casino probably down the road I have heard). If you want to shoot it I would do it sooner rather than later as their intention is to develop the area. More people will encourage them to tighten restrictions on approaching Shiprock itself. They tried it once including no trespassing signs referring to it as a sacred site, but gave up as it was effectively unenforceable because of lack of manpower. see: http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2012/10/17/biz/shiprock-to-get-its-first-hotel.html
Again- don't leave car unattended. I've had people pull up and try my doors even when I was plainly in sight but 200 yards away. And if something really, really, really strange happens...don't get suckered into investigating. Ignore it. Gets pretty Don Juan-ish out there at times.
84592 Northwest Dike, Shiprock.
84593 Rock cairn in cave, Shiprock.
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