Is this the Moon?
You think all along that you think you know what Arizona looks like. You've seen the Saguaro, the lizards, the blazing sun. You've seen the Grand Canyon, the San Francisco Peaks, the Mogollon Rim. All very different in their own ways, all with their own geological significance. So that's everything in Arizona right? Of course not. It's Arizona, the ever new, ever vast state of "Where the heck are we?" Like Utah, New Mexico and Colorado. This entire area is so diverse we are luckier than we know.
3D Google Earth Course Overview and Link to Map Info
Map of the Park, complicated by Private Lands within it...
Sandstone rock faces, gullys, and open range
Those that have driven through Navajo Nation on the way to Moab or Colorado have a sense of the northeaster region of Arizona. Sandstone rock, high plateau desert, desolate Indian Reservation. Sections of the area are so barren, vast and empty you have to wonder what is really out there. Is it just a flat desert? Are there rivers? Where do the animals find water? What's that shadow over there? Is that a drop off?
Canyon de Chelly
If you've visited Canyon de Chelly National Monument on the reservation you know that there are hidden canyons out there in that seemingly open desert. It looks flat and then all of a sudden it drops a few thousand feet STRAIGHT down and into a lush green river valley below. Out of nowhere. It's that unknown that draws me and makes me want to experience what is out there, even if it's wide open and free of any real peaks. So in my quest to run from the Petrified National Park north to Monument Valley, off trail, I'm going to run first a 50K loop around the Petrified National Park and Painted Desert. There are no organized trails in the park so it will be 100% off trail, route finding and orienteering. The badlands out there produce very uneven terrain and sketchy sections of getting up and over mesa's and ridge lines. Very different running than mountain running or traditional single track running anywhere. Sections of high mesa flat running that overlook the Painted Desert and Petrified wood. Petroglyphys are everywhere, fossils are still being found. Just a spectacular area.
As there are no trails and this being a very remote and desolate high desert there is little to no water supply along the trail. ALL water and supplies will have to be carried for the length of the run. So along with route finding along the course, no trail, there is also no water sources and it will be fully self-supported. Which is my kind of run.
October 15th is the goal weekend. Ready for another adventure.