On Tuesday of this week, Loren Crank (NRCS) and I toured much of the Utah portion of the Navajo Reservation. It is a beautiful part of the world, but not an area for everyone. The isolation and access, in many areas, is difficult.Roy lives north of Aneth (near 4 Corners), and farms 22 acres of alfalfa, which is irrigated from nearby McElmo Creek. He is 82 and a bundle of energy, constantly in motion. Roy explained the difficulties of irrigating from the river; he either has to maintain a difficult diversion structure or a very long ditch, or pump from the creek. He is looking to expand his acreage and his son wants to develop a garden.
Paula and Gerald live in a large family (clan) compound southwest of Bluff. They garden on land located adjacent to the San Juan River. To get to their garden, they have to navigate a treacherous road for several miles. Their garden is very impressive and has a wonderful collection fruits and vegetables. Paula and Gerald proudly explained their operation to us.
Rosie lives south of Bluff in a home constructed by architecture students from the University of Utah. When we stopped by her house, she proudly came out and explained its unique design to us and gave us a tour of the exterior. Because of the water harvesting portion of the design, the house looks like a giant glider or an alien spacecraft or a pre-fab house with wings. It is made of rebar, corrigated metal, compacted earth, among other things. Rosie told us of her plans to make minor additions to her home.
Ambrose lives in a two-story white home situated near the edge of a cliff which overlooks the San Juan River. His wife makes pottery for the local tourist industry and he works for the county roads department. It is almost impossible to get to their home unless you know the way. But once you are there, you are treated to a beautiful view of the San Juan River, surrounding red cliffs, and the accompanying desert. I just hope Ambrose doesn’t develop a sleepwalking problem.