Third in a series on a road trip west
Parts I & II
By Ken DeLaat
“He knew the road would get more interesting, especially ahead, always ahead.”- Jack Kerouac, On The Road
Denver is a big city with the requisite traffic snarls and such so when the mountains finally appeared and we reached the outskirts of the Mile High City we decided to ramble on into the heart of the Rockies and came to rest in the town of Silt.
A potential hike was aborted when dark clouds rolled in and the skies began to spew some significant moisture so we cruised the area and took in some local eats at an intriguing (and popular) spot called Miner’s Claim.
As for shoes I spotted a cowboyish boot near Grand Junction and wondered aloud if those who believe in conspiracy theories might set aside the QAnon nonsense and focus on the mystery surrounding this phenomena.
My road trip companion gave no response other than a far too familiar sigh and a return to her knitting.
Moving on, the next day we headed for Arches Park and on a whim decided to take the first real hike of the trip. With merely a long ago hotel breakfast as sustenance we challenged the lengthy trek to Delicate Arch.
We set out on a trail that proved to be steeply uphill and after ascending to the top of a rocky tor we ran out of gas and were only saved by a downhill return that, while a challenge in itself, was infinitely easier than the ascent. My thoughts immediately went to the planned journey into the canyon that awaited us and the knowledge that the upcoming hike would involve an uphill second half.
And those thoughts were not pleasant ones.
We pushed on and ended up staying at a hotel in Kayenta smack dab in the middle of the Navajo Nation. Should the opportunity arise for you I would advise a stay at the Hampton Inn in Kayenta if only to dine at their restaurant and avail yourself of some of the most delicious fry bread imaginable. It was also the strictest mask enforcement place I’d ever experienced.
Their nation was hit hard by the virus and so the leaders came together and responded with masking and distance protocols as well as getting their people vaccinated at a far faster rate than other parts of the country.
While waiting to check in the gentleman in front of me came to check in maskless.
The desk clerk responded that he needed to have one on.
“It broke,” he said, showing her a disabled mask.
“Then you will have to fix it or find another,” she replied politely but firmly.
She handed him some tape to fix the mask in place and when he was finished, and only when he was finished, she waited on him.
It was simple. There was no argument to be had. We were in the Navajo Nation and they were going to protect their people.
So no, you didn’t need to wear a mask.
But you weren’t going to stay there if you chose not to.
That was crystal clear.
And it was a long road to the next hotel.
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