The Location

 Topographical map of Blue Moon Bench area on the Navajo Reservation

About the Navajo Reservation:

The Navajo Nation extends into the states of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, covering over 27,000 square miles of unparalleled beauty. The Navajo Reservation is home to more than a dozen national monuments, tribal parks and historical sites, and is peppered with a dozen  lakes and ponds – Lake Powell alone has 186 miles of Navajoland shoreline.

About Blue Moon Bench

“Blue Moon Bench” is an area located on the Navajo Reservation in northern Arizona that runs along the rim of the Grand Canyon just where the Little Colorado River intersects. These two great rivers coming together form what’s called “The Confluence” and is considered by some to be the most beautiful scenery in this remote part of the U.S.

Little Colorado River at the confluence with the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

The water in the Little Colorado River just where it meets the Colorado River has a high limestone and travertine content in the water which gives it a stunning light turquoise color. This is home to rare wildlife live such as the Humpback chub, which is now famous in conservation circles after being federally protected as an endangered species.

Blue Moon Bench is a ridge of land that runs along the Little Colorado River just where it meets the Grand Canyon, and hosts remote hogans, or homes of Navajo families, which even today do not have electricity. This is not because they can’t afford electricity, but because they have chosen to keep the reservation in line with the ancestor’s beliefs and lifestyles. As the elders of the tribes die off, this might possibly change, but today it is still true that they live with no running water, no electricity and no way to heat except wood. Some have generators for special occasions, but most don’t even bother with that. Many Navajo’s live on the reservation, (or rez) during the week while working, and then go out to the family home on the reservation for weekends or special celebration days.

Northern Arizona

This area is an unofficial, colloquially-defined region of the U.S. state of Arizona and is visited by thousands of visitors from around the world each year because of it’s stunning natural beauty and pristine environment. It is dominated by the Colorado Plateau, the southern border of which in Arizona is called the Mogollon Rim. In the West lies the Grand Canyon, which was cut by the flow of the Colorado River while the land slowly rose around it. In the central portion lies the Painted Desert, consisting of sedimentary rock eroded by water and wind, exposing thick, brightly colored layers. In the East are the Hopi and Navajo reservations, parts of which overlap, leading to occasional territorial disputes. In this area travelers may tune their radios to hear native-language broadcasts and visit trading post still in the business today of selling hand woven rugs and pottery made by local native artists.

A snowy road in Flagstaff with the sun shinning
A typical Flagstaff winter storm with the sun coming out the next day.

Flagstaff is the largest city in this region and it sits at a 7,000 foot elevation which stays cool in the summer and can drop to minus temperatures with two feet of snow in the winter. Flagstaff is also home to Northern Arizona University, the Lowell Observatory and the largest standing grove of Ponderosa pines in the world. Much of the territory is parkland, reservations, or other Bureau of Land Management-administered lands leaving many remote areas ready for exploring. Major attractions in addition to the Grand Canyon include the cliff dwellings of Canyon de chelly, and Meteor Crater, Sedona red rocks, Oak Creek Canyon, and many national parks that protect and share ruins and other cultural evidence left by the Anasazi (or Native American elders).



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