The first time I heard about Shiprock, the 27 million-year-old erosional core of an extinct volcano that the Navajo called Tse' Bit'a'i' or "winged rock," was in "Only You" by Elizabeth Lowell. Actually, upon rereading the book, she didn't specifically mention Shiprock, but rather that they traveled through an area with rock formations, one of which resembled a ship.
And the stone ship was important because the cynical hero says he hasn't met a woman who loves him more than she loves her own comfort.
Then he added sardonically, "And while I'm at it, I'll find a ship made of stone, a dry rain, and a light that casts no shadow." (page 66)
That was the closest I could zoom in with my camera.
The Navajo called the 7,177-foot formation "rock with wings" to refer to the legend of the great bird that brought them from the north to their present lands. The name "shiprock" came into use in the 1870s and refers to the peak's resemblance to a 19th-century clipper ship.
When I discovered that Shiprock was the name of an actual rock formation, I assumed that the characters in the book literally stumbled upon this.
The images the book conjured of a land so dry that "In the summer it's so hot and thirsty that rain from a small storm like that never reaches the ground. The drops just dry up in midair and vanish." (page 290)
Shiprock, a dry rain, and a light that casts no shadow. It's a romance novel, surely you can guess what's the "light that casts no shadow"?
Even from a distance by the side of the freeway, it was pretty thrilling to see something that I'd been curious about for a long time.
We didn't pass Shiprock until the sun was setting, and by the time we made it to Four Corners Monument, it was well after closing.
My attempt to be in four places at once was thwarted. :(
We snapped pictures of the "Welcome to New Mexico" sign and continued on to our motel in southwest Colorado.
The Enchanted Mesa Motel had the basic amenities and Wi-Fi, was located close to Mesa Verde National Park, and even extended Gourmet Pigs' AAA discount to me.
But the best parts were the super nice owners who recommended two excellent places for us to grab breakfast -- Ted's Taco for Navajo fry bread and Absolute Bakery & Cafe. Gotta love people who know their town.
Posts in this series:
Sadie's of New Mexico - Albuquerque - New Mexico
Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum - Albuquerque - New Mexico
Shiprock - New Mexico
Ted's Taco - Mancos - Colorado
Balcony House - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
House of Many Windows - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Hemenway House - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Cliff Palace - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Spruce Tree Terrace Cafe - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Spruce Tree House - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Petroglyph Point Trail - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Cortez Cultural Center - Cortez - Colorado
Main Street Brewery & Restaurant - Cortez - Colorado
Absolute Bakery & Cafe - Mancos - Colorado
Four Corners Monument - Shiprock - New Mexico
Pine Country Restaurant - Williams - Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim) - Arizona
Four Corners Monument
Navajo Parks and Recreation
New Mexico Highway 597
Shiprock, NM 87420
7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Admission: $3, Ages 6 and under free.
Enchanted Mesa Motel
862 West Grand Avenue
Mancos, CO 81328
1 year ago today, How to Make a Loofah Sponge.
2 years ago today, thanh long (Vietnamese dragon fruit) in my youngest uncle's garden.