Exploring the Badlands on the Hopi Nation


I had the great fortune of camping out in the Hopi Nation a few months back during one of my solo photographic expeditions last year.  Soaking in the surreal sights and sounds of the painted desert. During the cooler months when you can trek without melting and most of the rattlesnakes are dreaming of summer. Lol.. This scene is the last light of day on rock formations (in the wastelands) with clouds overhead. What a fantastic eerie place to explore. Highly recommended. Watched the stars from a nearby mesa that night and listened to coyotes bay… just what I was hoping for.

The variety of hues in the sandstone and mudstone layers is the result of the varying mineral content in the sediments and the rate at which the sediments were laid down. When sediments are deposited slowly, oxides of iron and (hematite) aluminum become concentrated in the soil. These concentrations create the red, orange, and pink coloration. During a rapid sediment buildup such as a flooding event, oxygen is removed from the soil forming the blue, gray, and lavender layers.

The Hopi Nation (Hopituskwa) is a 1.5 million acre reservation located in northeast Arizona. The Hopi people have the longest authenticated history of occupation of a single area by any Native American tribe in the United States. Thought to have migrated north out of Mexico around 500 B.C. they speak a Uto-Aztecan language. The Hopi are believed to have descended from Ancient Pueblo Peoples (Hopi: Hisatsinom or Navajo: Anasazi) who constructed the large complexes in northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado. They lived along the Mogollon Rim which forms the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau, from the 12th–14th century.


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