Eggshell Arch

Eggshell Arch

Eggshell Arch

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I first saw a picture of this arch in a photographer’s guide to the southwest, the book written by Laurent Matres¬†showed a picture but gave no indication of the location because the arch is deep within the Navajo Reservation. I come from England where there’s no such thing as trespassing, so I use this as something of an excuse to explain my decision to trespass on Navajo lands. Finding the arch proved easier than expected, my Garmin handheld GPS has a feature whereby you can ask it to ‘find points of interest’.

In order to reach the arch you have to drive through a small Navajo settlement, undoubtedly there’s a good chance you’ll come across someone who doesn’t appreciate strangers on their land. I decided the best approach was to drive in the dark when people were sleeping. My plan seemed to be going well until my Jeep became bogged down in deep sand. As I rocked the vehicle back and forth in an attempt to free myself I woke up a local Navajo who came out to see what I was doing.

I tried a feeble and pre-planned excuse “I’ve been driving all day and needed to pull in to sleep” I said. The game was up when it was pointed out that I was 4 miles down a dirt track! I expected to be turned around and forced to leave but instead I made a friend. Jeff was about 30, he’d just got out of jail that day – I never asked! – instead of turning me back he invited me into the family hogan. The following morning he took me to the arch on the back of a powerful quad bike, it was obvious that the shot would be best at sunset so we agreed that I could return unhindered, “just say Jeff said it was ok” apparently everyone knew Jeff – again I never asked!

I returned weeks later, unfortunately Jeff was back in jail and I never got to meet him again.

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