Today, we took a field trip to Two Grey Hills and Toadlena. From Window Rock, you can take a scenic drive up Inidan Route 12, turning east on New Mexcio 134 for a breathtaking trip into the Chuska Mountains and Narbona Pass. En route, we stopped to admire the scenery and the summer wildflowers. One of the most impressive flowers that is common right now is called bee plant (waa’ in Navajo). It grows in multiple stalks and is crowned with beautiful purple flowers, as you can see in the picture below. It is also edible and is sometimes called wild spinach.
Our route took us near J.B. Moore’s Crystal Trading Post, one of the important centers in the development of Navajo rugs. We stopped and took pictures of the old building and the brilliant fields of coreopsis and bee plant that surround it right now.
Crossing Narbona Pass, we dropped onto the dry plains near Two Grey Hills and then turned back to the Chuska Mountains to visit the Toadlena Trading Post and Museum. Trader Mark Winter has turned the vault into an exhibit area and the Master Weavers exhibit is absolutely wonderful. We chatted with resident traders Rich and Kathy Stiles about plans for the trading post’s centennial next year and Kathy shared a small rug that she had received just yesterday from Pam Brown. It depicts Kathy’s confusion as a small girl when her teacher sent her to the corner because her left handed writing made ink smears on her papers. The small weaving shows the teacher scolding the pig-tailed and perplexed student, complete with comic bubbles. Is this the dawn of comic strip rugs?
On to Two Grey Hills, where trader Les Wilson graciously let is look at the wonderful rugs in the rug room (the Weaving in Beauty calendar cover rug is still there), and showed us his album of historic pictures. Les also always allows to see his wife Irma’s churro sheep. I got a nice picture of one of Irma’s rams and I’ll close with that. We’ll be visiting with the Gallup traders tomorrow.